Let me just begin with a disclaimer: I know. I know I’m a big, fat sissy.
This past weekend, Eileen and I got to know Portland a little better. On Saturday, we drove to the West side (which means west of the Willamette River). We explored the Multnomah and Hillsdale neighborhoods, and we got a couple of cinnamon rolls (on a recommendation) from a greasy spoon diner called Fat City Cafe in Multnomah Village, a quaint, homey town with a Door County feel but without all the tourists.
Good start to the day.
Then we went to Sauvie Island, which is ten miles outside of Portland to the northwest. It’s a huge island with some little lakes in the middle, and it’s all pretty undeveloped. There are a few little stores and some farms and some private residences. It’s known for its u-pick berry farms, which was right up our alley, and since we didn’t bring swimsuits to hang out on the beaches, we decided to berry-pick instead.
Tember helped. She wouldn’t eat the fallen ones, but she would eat them right off the bush with a little assisstance.
We came home with four pounds of blueberries and two pounds of raspberries. Total cost? $8!
That night, we went out for sushi at this place called Saburo. We got there at 5:00, thinking we’d beat the rush, but we still ended up waiting about 50 minutes. We ordered about $30 of sushi, which is usually enough to fill us up. When it came, we were staring at the biggest sushi rolls we’d ever seen. I don’t know if you could have fit one of them inside a coffee mug. So we left with Sunday night’s dinner, too.
That was Saturday. Good day.
On Sunday, we toyed with the a few different options, but ultimately, we decided we’d eat breakfast at Fat City Cafe (cuz the hash browns looked really good) and then go to Body Worlds 3 at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry).
It’s a good thing we ate first.
We walked in and beheld Skin Man, seen here holding up all his skin.
I’m sure everyone knows, but just a reminder: Body Worlds uses real cadavers that are preserved through plastination and arranged in active poses with various layers peeled away and exposed to “aid learning.” There are displays on the walls full of well-written, subtle justifications of the whole exhibit. They talk about things like how some cultures in the past were much more comfortable with death and with dead bodies, etc.
So you can get lulled into thinking that it’s not weird that these bodies were all once living and breathing. Plus, they willingly donated their bodies to science — specifically to plastination — so okay.
Next hurdle you might have to get over is the fact that some living people (in the mold of Hannibal Lector and Ed Gehn and other such famous killers — fictional and non-fictional) took pleasure in arranging these human bodies aesthetically and taking off their skin, etc. Of course, you don’t have to think about those people any more than you think about the engineers who designed your car.
But if you’re me, the reaction you’re having is not at all rational. Your wrists suddenly get hypersensitive and you feel that having them exposed is really iffy. So you curl your hands like a palsy (I’m not going for laughs with that statement), or you fold your arms. And what you really want to do is get into the fetal position on the floor.
I’m not sure how to describe what comes over me. It’s the feeling that I’m looking at my own insides and that the only thing that separates me from them is a sharp knife which could suddenly appear at any moment. It’s all just too literal for me.
Honestly, it was the closest I’ve ever come to having a nervous breakdown.
I could handle the camel, the fetuses, and to a certain extent, the arterial exhibits, which were just skeletons plus all the arteries and veins in the body — no muscles, no tendons, no ligaments.
Needless to say, I was relieved to get out of the exhibit. I’m still happy I went, but it wasn’t comfortable.
And then to top it all off, I read the last 30 pages of “The Time Traveler’s Wife” when we got home and I spent about a half an hour weeping.
Luckily, we hadn’t seen the Tour de France earlier in the day so, we watched the re-aring of it while we ate our leftover sushi.
So there you have it. I can run with the bulls, skydive, and do an Ironman triathlon, but a trip to the museum and a love story about a time traveler leave me completely drained.