Mom was staring at my plate in shock. It was covered with a messy pile of bacon, cheese and chicken.

“What is *that*?”

I was stunned myself. “It’s…it’s a…salad.”

Ah, the danger and the mystery that is the American roadside restaurant. You never know quite what you’ll get served. Somewhere, underneath all that protein, a few wilted green leaves could be found, or so I suspected.

But I was a wimp compared to my fellow eaters. Other families seated in the Kozy Kitchen dining room placidly awaited their deliveries of greasy eggs and meat, with two and three dishes per person, while here I was, a rank amateur, unable to handle a simple “salad”.

“There’s no way you can finish that.”

“Maybe I can, but I’ll need a stent right after.”

Let’s face it, on our trip through the towns of Southern Oregon, we must’ve acted like the most obnoxious of tourists. “Do you have anything with kale in it?” “Why doesn’t this store have an organic veggie section?” And things got even worse when it came to the alcohol department. “What do you mean you only serve Bud, Coors and Corona? This is a joke…right?” At least I dissuaded Mom from her idea of bringing her own personal lime into restaurants with her, so that she could “fix” the Caesar salad dressing. I figured the natives wouldn’t take too kindly to that.

Leaving my little hipster nest to travel the rest of the state has made me realize just how Portland I’ve really become, and has made me appreciate living here much more.

And my bacon and cheese salad? Well, I managed to eat about half of it, and was sick for the rest of the day. Like I said, I’m a total wimp. My review of the Kozy Kitchen–it’s only for the strong.

You talk about science fiction, but you sneak novels with titles like “The Sheik’s Mistress” into your purse.

You listen to public radio in the morning, but you love your reality TV at night.

You say you like jazz and indie rock, but you sing Lady Gaga songs in the shower.

You support the Democrats, but you vote against higher property taxes.

You always eat your kale salad with a side of potato chips.

You’d kiss a girl for fun, but you dream of a man marrying you.

You still like to wear your old pair of Uggs around the house.

You’re not as cool as you think you are.  And admit it–when nobody’s watching, you’re okay with that.

A coalition of food, farming and health groups has delivered a letter to President Obama asking him to stand by his pledge and support a law to require GMO labeling on foods.  I’m not sure why this is such a big deal.  Other countries have GMO labeling on food products and their food industries haven’t collapsed.

Actually, I do know why this is such a big deal.  In the world of sanity, this would be a simple requirement.  But in the world of right-wing paranoia, this is only the first step to the government taking over food production, and it brings us closer to that tragic day when you will walk into your local McDonald’s and the only thing on the menu (by order of Michelle Obama) will be an organic kale salad with low-fat vinaigrette dressing.  The day liberty dies.  I’m sure our highly profitable fast food companies are shaking in their boots.

And this is why we can’t have a normal conversation about anything anymore.