I tried to put the blood from last night behind me and hit the streets with Amanda.

I’ve heard that Portland is serious about two liquids….beer and coffee.  Actually, serious isn’t a strong enough word….fanatical about coffee would do better.  I can see why, the steaming concoction from Stumptown will make your head spin.

I wanted to find out what made the people around here so damned nice (and talkative) so we wandered up to a small independent coffee shop which was holding a coffee tasting.  Don’t even THINK about carrying around a Starbucks in this town, best case scenario the locals would probably throw insults and/or rocks at you.  The big chains don’t have a chance here, and I like that take-care-of-the-little-people mentality.

This was my first coffee tasting so I had no idea what to do.  There were 8 cups of coffee sitting on a counter and behind each sat a tray of beans and a sign telling the story behind this particular batch.  All of it was exotic, fair trade, etc, etc.

I was given a spoon and got in line.  We each dipped our spoon into the communal cups of coffee and sucked the contents down quickly…you have to get air to differentiate the various qualities and body of each coffee.  The guy in front of me looked like he could have had an active lip fungus so I made sure to stick my spoon in the scalding water between stations which supposedly kills the germs.

All the coffees were quite strong, but the last on the counter was from Sumatra and rang every bell in my head.  It was completely different than the others and was strong enough to dissolve the spoon.  It was pure nectar from Indonesia and I immediately ordered up a cup.

The expert barista behind the counter, which did a great job of keeping his heavily caffeinated hands from shaking, carefully selected the beans and placed them into a white filter.  I watched as he meticulously turned over each bean for my brew and tossed a couple back into the jar – this man was an artist and caffeine was his medium.

I paid the $2.00 and knew right away that this was probably the best cup of coffee in my humble life.  I drank it outside in the chill on a Portland sidewalk and before I was even half way done, my head was swimming. Birds were singing, time slowed down, and I could see each individual photon of the sun’s rays shining down on the sidewalk. I felt as one with the universe and suddenly realized…….

I could see the Matrix code.

I have never been felt so energized, so enthusiastic about a legal substance.  I could have unraveled mysteries, written a best seller, painted a masterpiece, and played the best game of chess in my life – probably all within one afternoon.

Amanda only grinned as I brain vomited nonsense out of my mouth…..my brain was firing faster than my jaw could keep up.  For the first time since my 3 Monster day in Acapulco I was high as a kite on caffeine.  I found myself on the third plateau of existence and had I looked long enough, could have probably found Jim Morrison and Elvis there somewhere.  Life was good.

I hoped my newfound vice lasted until the Bootsnall party tonight, but like a tease it left me to contend with reality on my own.  Still,  this has to have something to do with the buzz in the air here.  My first Portland mystery unraveled.  If you find yourself on the West coast, you know what to do. Drink it.