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Another Portland Blog

Monday, January 21, 2008


Awkward conversations with strangers # 2

Most Friday nights I head out to a movie or hit the bars. Last Friday I found myself in Sherwood with my sister, her sick cat, a group of Ron Paul supporters and two fratboy baristas.

Ok, let me clarify.

My sister's cat has a fairly severe medical condition that requires (thankfully rare) trips to a vet hospital in Sherwood. On Friday night she had to rush the poor thing down there after work and I decided to go along to provide emotional support. Plus, we had previously-arranged plans to go out for dinner and later meet up with people for tiki drinks.

As if an abrupt trip to a vet hospital wasn't strange enough, we discovered a group of Ron Paul supporters standing on a patch of grass alongside the off-ramp to Sherwood. It was a surreal sight. There was around six of them madly shaking American flags, tooting on horns and waving at traffic on Interstate 5 beside large "RON PAUL '08" signs. I guess that's one way to promote a lost cause. Frankly, if I was hellbent on promoting a doomed-to-fail political campaign I'd do it someplace warmer. Like the Internet.

Once we arrived at the hospital I was assigned the task of heading across the street to a Dutch Bros to pick up coffee. I guess it's mandated protocol for baristas at the chain to ask every customer what their plans are for the evening. Every time I go to a Dutch Bros I'm inevitably asked the question, "So, what are you up to?" I decided to answer the question honestly for a change:

"Uh, I came down from Portland with my sister. Her cat needs a blood transfusion at the vet hospital across the street. She sent me over here to pick up a mocha while she fills out paperwork."

FRATBOY BARISTA # 1: (not expecting this) "Woah, really?"

Upon hearing the word "cat" and "blood transfusion," a second skeptical fratboy barista walked over to inquire further.

FRATOBY BARISTA # 2: "Wait, a blood transfusion? For a cat? Where do they get the blood?"

ME: "I guess they have donor cats that live at pet hospitals like this" (as far as I know, this is true).

FRATBOY BARISTA # 1: So the donor cats live at the hospital and every once in a while the nurses tap their veins and steal their blood?"

ME: "Something like that, I guess. I'm not sure how it all works."

FRATBOY BARISTA # 2: "Poor kitties."

ME: "Yeah, there's a lot I'm learning about the feline health care industry tonight. Take care."

I felt like I ruined their night with this bleak tale of feline inequality. Before I came along they had no idea that cats across the street from their workplace were being kept for the express purpose of having their bodily fluids hijacked by the owners of more fortunate cats. As I headed back across the street I looked over my shoulder. One of the baristas had wandered out the back door and was watching me, possibly verifying that I was indeed returning to the hospital and hadn't made up this bizarre anecdote on the spot for the express purpose of screwing with them.

Thankfully, my sister's cat is going to be fine the rest of the evening wasn't nearly as awkward as that trip to Dutch Bros. It did, however, involve the consumption of Middle Eastern-style pizza at Arabian Breeze. Three days later I can still taste it every time I burp.

As for the hard-working cats that bravely donate their blood to keep the feline health care industry a-rollin', I salute them and their efforts. If you have a cat you would like to volunteer as a blood donor to help take the burden off donor cats across the country, here's a helpful link. As for this blog post, I think it may be the weirdest one I've ever written. Hooray!


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