There are some people out there who have a blog for legitimate reasons, but I’m not one of those. No, my blog exists because there are still some parts of me unfit for consumption by any of the people who employ me to do exceedingly important and difficult things. Why, for example, has no one come up with a 650b product called the “Jan”? As in Jan Brady, the middle one. I would so call a tire that. One of many reasons I am not, in fact, a licensed and practicing bicycle component manufacturer.
Speaking of being unfit for consumption, a funny thing happened to me over the weekend. Actually, more than one funny thing happened to me, but this one comes first.
I spent Saturday–and I mean from 9:00am Saturday morning until 7:00pm Saturday night–looking at houses all around Portland. If you’ve not done the house search thing, wherein you look at well over a dozen homes in one day, for multiple days, I can tell you that it’s a bit like speed-dating, if each potential date was holding a completely different power tool and felt compelled to use it on whatever parts of you were still generally intact from the last table’s visit. While telling you why they love cats.
For organization’s sake, I divided the homes I saw into two categories, beautiful but won’t work, and horrible and won’t work. I’m not looking for velvet paintings of Liberace in the family room or anything–just really good schools, but by that I mean really good elementary, middle, and high school. All three. Some sort of method of arriving at work without having spent two hours sitting in traffic is also preferred, if not the genuine ability to ride my bike to work every day (which I’m still secretly hoping to find).
Anyway, after a day of home visits that included surprising a house filled with sleeping seventeen-year-old boys, none of whom apparently realized his home was for sale, despite the lockbox and sign outside, and setting off the whole house alarm at another home, I decided to make my first trip into Washington State.
Washington is actually closer to my work than a lot of places in Oregon, and I’ve heard rumors of an ability to actually ride a bicycle across the I-205 bridge that spans the Columbia River between Portland and Vancouver (update: confirmed, more later).
Besides, in Washington, I could fill my car up with gas myself, a habit I’m finding weirdly hard to shake.
In my mentally, physically, and spiritually depleted state and with the sun setting, then, I set out for some places I want to see in Washington.
Fifteen minutes later I’m parked in a strip mall, thinking. By “thinking” I mean, of course, typing shit into my phone. I hadn’t eaten all day, as it turns out, and was realizing now that I was possibly so run down as to be unable to operate my motor vehicle properly (or as properly as I ever do). Trip Advisor, which I still blame for causing me to drive an extra hundred miles after having already pulled twelve hours on the road, finally fell on its own sword and failed to even open without shitting the bed completely and needed force closed, arguably the most thoughtful thing that app has done for me since Illinois. Yelp, on the other hand, had a lot to show me about the locations near me–mostly that they were all pretty expensive. As appealing as a $20 pizza or some sushi sounded, I have a home to purchase, so I’m on a strict diet when it comes to lavish dinners.
What was right near by was a little pizza place–very “greasy take out”-looking. It wasn’t reviewed well, but it was close, which was a heavily weighted factor in its favor. The place was called Papa Murphy’s.
West Coast friends no doubt already see this one coming, but please don’t spoil it for anyone else.
My conversation on the phone went like this:
Mrs. Papa Murphy: “Thank you for calling Papa Murphy’s Something-Whateverville. Would you like to hear our specials?”
Mrs. Papa Murphy: “We have a large squirrel and passion fruit or whatever for only like fourteen bucks or something.”
Dumbass: “Sounds good. I’ll have that.”
Mrs. Papa Murphy: “OK! When would you like to pick it up?”
Dumbass: “I’m already in the neighborhood, so any time.”
Mrs. Papa Murphy: “Well just give me a few minutes to make it.”
In literature terms, the phrase “a few minutes” up there is what we call “foreshadowing.” So five minutes later I walk into the pizza place, give my name, and tell the guy behind the counter that I think it might not be ready yet. “Oh, it’s ready,” he says, proceeding to remove from a baking tray a neatly cellophaned unbaked pizza.
I have not only never seen such a thing in my life before, but I’ve never even heard of it before. Granted, I live a sheltered life and it was many years before I had even escaped from the monks who’d taught me to be an assassin for God, let alone experienced life, but who the hell sells unbaked freakin’ pizzas? For like fourteen bucks?
Here, then, is a rough approximation of everything that occurred.
Dumbass: “Oh, wow. So you don’t bake them, eh?”
Strappin’ Papa Murphy Dude: “Uh, no. That’s always been how we do it.”
Dumbass: “I’m sure, yeah. It’s just not something I was expecting.”
Strappin’ Papa Murphy Dude: “Well, it’s how we’ve always done it.”
Dumbass: “Yeah, I see. I hadn’t realized that because I’d been living three thousand miles away, and hadn’t encountered this sort of–” here, I regard the uncooked pizza warily–”thing. Before.”
Strappin’ Papa Murphy Dude: “Do you have like an oven where you’re staying.”
To my credit, here I did not try to explain that the whole point to ordering a pizza at 8:00pm alone on a Saturday night is clearly to drive around looking at homes for sale while eating it. My mind was busy doing quick calculations about how long uncooked pizza dough and what appeared to be meat and other things would last before “turning” or whatever the hell it is that uncooked dough does. Here are what those calculations looked like in my mind:
“Yeah,” I said finally, “I’m sure I can come up with something.”
There was a young Korean kid in the store at the time, too, and he was wearing a trucker hat carefully sideways, some sort of enormous glasses–like the kind you see in novelty stores or on celebrities–and he had the tongues of his sneakers unlaced and sticking way up outside his pant legs. He was looking at me like: dumbass. I have no idea if his outfit is still hip or has come back or something, but it’s forever inseparably intertwined with my shame at being an outsider and not realizing how pizzas are sold in the Pacific Northwest, so I stood there for a second, realizing that I will forever associate exposed sneaker tongues with knowledge I do not possess.
How we roll up in here.
Anyway, I drove around the southern parts of Washington, starving, eating toppings off an uncooked pizza, which might be the best way to search for a new home anyway. Something about the added desperation of needing to get to an oven makes every home look pretty nice.