me and the food around me. i like to eat, so listen up.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
why i sometimes like downtown provo a lot.
so last sunday i woke up around 11:00 or so and wanted to get out of the house. i couldn't decide if i wanted to eat, but i was getting stir crazy and needed to get out. i also wanted a little bit of a wake up. so i took a shower and wandered over to juice and java. on the way i saw big dane outside ABG's opening shop so i walked over to say hi, we chatted for a bit, dane's always good for a chat, and since i knew i wouldn't be at juice and java too long i offered to grab him a cup of coffee. when i got to juice and java there was a small group of folks outside and no one inside. i felt like reading and it was kinda breezy so i stayed inside. got me a lil cup and sat down to read an old slug mag. not my fav mag. they try to hard to be tough. after i finished off my cup, i grabbed anotherone for dane and walked back over to ABG's and dane was still hanging out in the shade. he thanked me for the coffee and we chatted a bit more. i decided i was hungry so i walked down to el salvadoran, which is always open sundays (i got my fingers crossed that pete will come through and start opening on sundays), to grab my usual 2 loroco pupusas and chicken tamale. when i walked in the door there were 2 customers. most of the crew were on break, but when i walked in, i got some big smiles, and a "hey amigo!". i had to chuckle. i don't know if they really were excited to see me or just bored with a slow day and excited to see anyone. either way, i got my food in record time and chatted withthe big guy who works there. the food was good as always and in the course of my meal a few more folks walked in and got about the same reception, but they weren't white folks. they were regular salvadorans. here's my point. that little diner is such a great model for how a marginal group can exist in a very entitlement oriented place like provo. i hesitate calling it a hub for salvadorans, but it does serve as a place for salvadorans to exist as salvadorans, on their terms, without any sort of pressure from outsiders to "be" salvadoran. since i'm always there, usually by myself, the staff recognize me and i get the kinds of hellos not usually reserved for white people. don't think i haven't noticed how they treat larger groups of white kids. and don't think i haven't noticed how larger groups of white kids treat them. the thing going on at the salvadoran is indicitave of the successes and the failures of downtown provo. when i can go in and (on a very tiny level) be seen by the staff as something other than a paying customer it opens an entirely new level for the possiblity of erasing some kind of boundary. those boundaries are the failures of downtown provo. and they are everywhere. simply taking interest in buying food isn't enough. the successes that happen downtown usually aren't based in economics, they are a result of people finding ways to disrupt and re-orient the things that are ideologically given. when i'm in the salvadoran on a sunday, i'm usually the only white guy, i'm the outsider, i'm marginal in that space. but not for long. people recognize people. when people recognize you they talk to you. when people talk, boundaries are blurred. when boundaries blur the world gets a tiny bit better for somebody. this may be getting more touchy feely for me, but i really love alot of the people i run into downtown. victor from rice king, usually has a wave and a hi, pete will usually stop and chat about business or the weather or whatever, dane will always stop and chat. there needs to be more of this thing going on. it bugs me how much of a huge disparity the city has created by trying to bring in big corporations downtown. those people don't communicate with the "locals". downtown doesn't need that. put that stuff somewhere else. it kills what little vibe downtown has. and you can put your money on provo choosing a big corporation over the little shops and diners that make provo charming. i'd bet my free speech provo would rather tear down all those buldings and put in a slew of chain resturants and shops. fuck that. its soulless. but its nearly inevitable with the way things have been going lately. and if/when it does happen, it will be the biggest failure of all. if anyone from provo city sees this, take note: someone is paying attention.