This afternoon I was standing in Suburban Station, waiting for a train that would take me back out to Germantown and my mechanic’s garage, when a man approached me. He was dressed in ragged clothes and one of his front teeth looked as if it was rotting away in his mouth.
He said to me, “Excuse me sister, but I was wondering if you could help me.”
Before his sentence was totally finished and before I listened to what he needed help with, I said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t help you.” Now, normally I listen to people. I let them talk to me before I make eye contact and try to honestly and sincerely turn them down. For whatever reason today, I didn’t feel like going through the charade and so I said no without any preamble and without listening to his request.
And he got incensed. He started ranting. How did I know what he was going to ask me for, that he was just going to ask me for directions, not money, about how I just assumed something about him because he was black.
There were a bunch of people standing around watching as this man screamed at me, while I stood there against a column. At one point I tried to clarify that I wasn’t turning him down and that it was more that I just didn’t want to be drawn into conversation, but he cut me off and said, “No, no, I don’t want to talk to you now. I’ll ask somebody else.”
Chances are that he was going to ask me for money and this was his indignant act to trot out when someone didn’t let him work through his pitch. It certainly felt like a solicitation for money. And there was something imbalanced about him that he would scream at a stranger in a train station when she said she couldn’t help him. But even knowing all that, it made me feel like a shitty, terrible, racist, elitist person for the next hour or so, until I was able to shake it off.
This morning I peeled myself out of bed, stumbled into the shower and headed off to take my car to my mechanic before noon. I tried to explain the problems I’ve been having, including the strange chugging and won’t turn off issue I ran into last week. He listened carefully, wrote my phone number down on the back of a used envelope and said, “I’ll find the problem, don’t worry.”
Leaving my car behind, I started walking down Germantown Ave. towards the Wayne Junction train station. As those of you from Philly may know, this is not the most savory section of town. However, I love it. I love the old brick buildings that are still covered in painted on advertising and that you can still see traces of how the neighborhood used to be when it was still young and safe and fresh. It was beautiful out this morning, sort of crisp but with warm shafts of sun breaking up the cool air. I scuffed down the street, enjoying the sound of the leaves crunching under my feet and the strips of cobble stones that still line the edges of the road.
While I walked those two blocks to the train station I had the feeling that time is porous and that there are places where little bits of the past leak through and join with the present. It seems to happen in Philadelphia a lot. Just one more reason to love this crazy city.
I spent Thursday evening and all of Friday writing, holed up in a little cabin out in Aston, PA, at a retreat center run by an order of Franciscan nuns. I wrote recipes and stories and managed to chug out nearly thirty pages of text, which brings me within 9 pages of the necessary 75. A year ago, when I was still just remembering what it was to be a student and before I felt comfortable calling myself a writer, I thought a five page essay was a monumental piece of work. Now I hit five and keep on going, flabbergasted at the idea that I could contain everything I wanted to say in those few pages. I know that growth and change is to be expected after a year of grad school in which I have studied writing, but when it happens with a pleasure-filled sense of expansion, I have a hard time quieting the voice inside me that questions whether I deserve it.
I spent a little time reflecting on the experience of going away with the intention of writing while I was there and there’s a piece of that after the jump.
The community of food bloggers around Philly just keeps growing and getting better. There’s enough of us around these days that we’ve decided to have a meetup/potluck (how could we get together and not share some food?) on Friday, November 2nd (and I’m hosting!). If you consider yourself to be a food blogger/vlogger/podcaster/writer and you live in the area, we happily invite you to join us. If you want to attend, please give Taylor a shout at taylorhigh24 (at) hotmail (dot) com.
The latest episode of Fork You is live. We filmed the first half of this one way back in August, but the crazy, unseasonably warm weather that we’re having these days makes it seem like we filmed it just yesterday. We did film cooking of the swiss chard back then at Thad and Angie’s (the northern branch of Fork You studios), but for some reason the audio got all screwed up and so we had to toss it and start over.
If this doesn’t sate your cravings for seeing Scott and me make fools of ourselves on video, you are in luck, as we also posted the first of two Slashfood in the Kitchen episodes yesterday. We’re making two of these little videos for Weblogs, Inc. and it’s our first-ever experience at getting paid for making content. Pretty darn cool.
I’m about to head out of town and while I can’t seem to get Viddler to cooperate and give me the embeddable code for the latest Fork You video (I’m sure this is a result of my own ineptitude) I still want to post about it before I leave. So go check out this video, in which Scott and I take a Super Taster Test and I discover that I am a non-taster. Scott labels me as a loser (literally) and I pretend to cry. And a good time is had by all.
Also, if you are curious about what I did last Saturday besides drive down to Washington, DC, go check out my post about the Great Expectations community forum I attended as a observant blogger/citizen journalist. It’s up at the Metblog and at the Great Expectations blog.
And now, I’m off to New York, sans computer. Good weekend wishes to you all!
Lately, my blogging around these parts has been nothing more than the digital equivalent of a lick and a promise. I dash in, quickly write a brief summary of what I’ve been up to lately, offer pictures instead of prose and run out again. I imagine the blog feels a little like my mother did when I was in high school and essentially only came home to sleep, eat and shower.
I’ve been spending a little time looking at my life lately and realized that despite the inner turmoil I’m dealing with on a daily basis about what happens when I graduate in December, things are looking pretty good. And most of it has stemmed from this blog in some way. I originally started the blog as a place to write about my search for work that made me happy. In the process of writing about my pursuit of a path, I discovered that the pursuit was turning into the path. Then I started to write about food and it all started to click.
Somanyof thefriendsI havethese days first entered my life through blogger events (meetups and BlogPhilly, mostly). Without blogging, I wouldn’t have become friends with Scott and never would have starting making Fork You (I like to think that we’re making the world a better place for eaters, one recipe at a time). I even found love through blogging, short-lived thought it was.
All of this is to say that I appreciate my blog (and it’s steadfast readers. Hi mom!) and all of the wonderful experiences I’ve had because of it. I appreciate my life. And despite the uncertainty I feel about what happens next in life, I’m happy to have walked this path and to be here now.
Check out this episode of Fork You, in which we make the meatloaf of my childhood in honor of National Meatloaf Appreciation Day on October 18th (and Scott denies the possibility that anything with that much vegetal content could be called meatloaf). Also in this entertaining ten minutes is a brief appearance by my sister and John Elliott, performing a rousing rendition of Meatloaf’s classic power ballad, “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).”
This last weekend, I drove down to Washington, DC to visit Cindy. I hadn’t been to see her since she relocated down that way in July. I didn’t get down there until sometime after 7 pm on Saturday night. Traffic was stop and go for the last 40 minutes, during which time my car started making a funny noise and the 20 ounce coffee I had consumed began to demand to be released. It was not the most comfy I had been in recent days.
We met up for dinner Saturday night with another friend who also recently relocated to DC. We sat in an Indian restaurant in Cleveland Park, talking, laughing and emptying a bottle of wine until they started cleaning the restaurant around us.
Sunday morning I took a shower while Cindy took apart her bed frame so we could return it JC Penny’s. My car magically repaired itself overnight (I think it just needed a rest) and getting them to take the frame back was amazingly easy (she had called before hand and had gotten it logged into their system). Then we did what we often did when she still lived in Philly. We spent the rest of the day visiting thriftstores.
I haven’t been spending much time at thriftstores recently as I was trying to pare down my possessions (anyone who has been in my apartment recently will probably be looking quizzically at their computer, because Apt. 2024 looks as full as ever. However, I swear there’s less stuff around here than there used to be). So it was time for a hit of the sweet, sweet crack that is rooting around in a vast warehouse of used goods. I got two new (to me) pairs of jeans, shiny red pants perfect for holiday parties (someone needs to have a holiday party now), multiple black sweaters, a tower of books and some assorted kitchen items (just what I need). It was really fun.
Back in Philly, I woke up this morning with potential beginnings of a cold. I took a bunch of vitamin C today and tried to work. Focus was hard to come by and I ended up taking a two hour nap instead, only waking up at 5 pm because my roommate came home and caught me asleep on the couch. I’m hoping that the day of rest will leave me productive and with a functional brain for tomorrow.
I’ve been immersed in the thesis quite a bit again lately, but sent off the latest essay earlier today, just in time to hang out with some of my favorite Indy Hall folks at National Mechanics. I had a terrific veggie burger for dinner and even had the opportunity to taste vodka that had been infused with bacon (there will be more on that over at Slashfood very soon). I also, just by chance, got to meet E from Foodaphilia who happened to be there eating dinner with some friends. She recognized me from Fork You and came over to say hi. It’s fun to be a celebrity. (Read that last sentence with a strong dose of sarcasm).
Today was actually quite a strange day in the life of this blog. About a month ago, I put up a post over at Slashfood about the No-Knead Bread that was all the rage in foodie blog circles. In that post I referenced my own post about that bread that I had written last January. For some crazy reason, both Lifehacker and MSNBC’s Clicked blog linked to my old No-Knead Bread post today. This meant that instead of my normal 60-70 hits a day, I got more than 2,500 today. All for a ten-month-old post. The internet gods are strange and mercurial beings.