Sunday, January 22, 2006

Vic and I were Watching NewsNet this morning and there was a story about a Hep A outbreak at a local restaurant known as the Foundation. This place is just down the street from the office. Wow, on the national news no less. Later I checked e-mails and got the first of what will probably be many urgent notices from friends of friends all starting chain letters and phone trees and what have you to get out the word about Hep A shots.

I was going to forget about it but I can't resist bringing it up for a bit here. This news doesn't surprise me in the slightest bit. Ian and I tried the restaurant last spring since we had heard from so many people how frickin' wonderful it was, an all vegan restaurant that wasn't the Nam (and the Nam's prices). The windows were constantly fogged up from the throngs of hipsters packing the joint night after night so why not, they must be on to something. A little change from Reno's right?

At first glance it's a big, open space littered with old style kitchen tables, like the ones your grandma had with the sparkly surfaces (usually chipped somewhere), lit by candles (even the kitchen was dark), the walls adorned with tacked-on posters of local artists' work (artists just poor enough to not frame them). And of course those hipsters. Everywhere, looking dour and just self involved enough to not look like they were trying too hard to be noticed for their introspection and depth. Ugh. Whatever, onto the food.

The menus were one of those conceptual nightmares that can't just come right out and say "spinach salad" they have to use cool mispellings combined with images of Che Guevarra and hip hop. How street. And oh yeah, since they were "non corporate" you couldn't just get a coke you had to order some revolutionary, economically friendly variant thereof. And not a very good one either.

After taking forever to figure out just what the fuck they served (vegetables, really) we had to wait an additional period of interminable limbo for one of the waitresses, very dour and self involved enough to not look... you get what I mean, disinterested in being there, to actually come over and take the order. She then shambled off to yet another hipster behind the dark counter (some guy with lots of facial jewelry). And holy shit it took forever to get the food, nearly an hour. We were steaming as much as the veggie soup.

And y'know, the food was pretty plain. Vegetables. A small scattering of nuts. Some water chestnut tasting chunks that robbed the meal of its overall flavour. And it wasn't filling at all. The thing about Vegan is, you have to make up for those protein gaps to be worth while. A big hunk of spinach just won't keep you from being hungry an hour later. Totally unimpressive.

A few months later we decided to give them another chance, just in case that one time was a total fluke. It wasn't. And this time there were giant posters taped to the walls with the same tired, old run of philosophical and political quotes (you know the drill, Ghandi, Santayana, Che again) drawn by hand in old Typewriter font. Oh please. That same Margaret Mead treatise on the power of the individual is on the side of a maternity wear shop over on Cambie! For Christ's sake!

And you know why these Hep A outbreaks tend to happen at the trendy, organic, global minded co-op type businesses (Capers anyone?), it's because the people working there are working so hard to look fucking hip and concerned that they forget the actual important things like washing their fucking hands!

God people! Good intentions don't keep your workplace sanitary. Yeah, hairnets are declasse but not as much as Hep A shots. Nor do good intentions change the world. Going out and doing something for others does. Not sitting around looking like you care because you're drinking a non corporate soda. Not wearing hemp cargo pants and putting your hair up in cornbraids (I'm looking at you Bobby white boy, pale as a ghost because you grew up on the rainy side of Port Coquitlam!), or you the deep poetess in your Main Street boutique gear and nose ring!

How does a glass of non coke change the world exactly? How many cases of that non coke do you think it'll take to change the village that produces it? Really change it for the better? Certainly not enough purchased by the bloody Foundation that's for sure.

I mean geez, you don't have to go out and run Enron or anything but there are so many ways you can contribute to the world that doesn't involve opting out of the mainstream and into the realm of the boring and ineffectual just to appear original because trust me, right now there are a million more out there just like you.

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