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April 07, 2005
It tasted like chicken... since i did not really want to go to korea town for lunch, and because the weather was just really quite nice, i walked down broadway, past stores filled with little beads and panties and other items somehow related to items nobody wants to admit to wearing. I think it was on 31st street that i realized that there was no turning back. I would need to find food here, I had venture too far from the service oriented city though still not far enough to be able to smell the flowers. And this was exactly the place where I saw the street vendor. Well, actually, I smelled the vendor first. Okay, maybe not the vendor... the deliciously fragrant food. It was one of the larger hot plate cars with two middle eastern operators. The smell was just this perfectly sour, spicy, fatty cloud, one that can just pull anyone by their nostrils and guide them straight to the simmering source. The meat preparation man was explaining the difference between lamb, beef and chicken to a bystander who might have been interested about all this stuff three minutes prior. I was not sure what my next steps would be but then I surprisingly saw my hungry self order some chicken and rice and a salad and... that was it. The money guy asked for five dollars and opened a hatch in the cart, the hatch to the wet and cold part of the food making machine. "Is it five dollars, or is it five dollars for me?" I was not sure if I was being charged a first timer european tourist look special price. "Here:" the man pointed to the waters and sodas. "It is free." Okay, that was fair. I got a free plastic fork (a $500 value at this location) as well, and some napkins (paper, light duty). No bag. Bags are for bridge and tunnel... (wait, I am bridge?... nah...) I took the tray all the way to Madison Square, where I devoured my super meal right across the street from the Pentagram office. The weather was perfect, my bench let me see some odd, yet not threatening people. And with each bite of the chicken and rice, I thought to myself how wonderful this meal tasted and how I would have to to do exactly this each and every day of the summer. The food was just so delicious... so perfectly spiced, so well cooked, so deliciously mouth watering... Maybe ten minutes later, and hours and hours after that... my opinion turned to the opposite... I felt like a chicken, plucked alive, hanging upside down, on a conveyor belt. Then sliced by a guy who has no access to a bathroom, and yet access to a very heavy bottle of fat and possibly monosodium glutamate. I wanted to do something to cleanse my system of the chemistry experiment. It had to be something that went far beyond the water I drank. It could have been some special ritual at this point. Something that would also shield me from that urge to fall asleep to just let go, to pass on into a different set of dimensions. Oh boy... I am not made for any kind of drugs. Apparently not even the ones that taste like chicken.