Boda - Portland, ME

As Philip, my brother, spoke I sipped a beer. I’d agreed to meet him for a drink over lunch.

            “You think about your body,” he was saying. “It’s like this huge cruise ship. And every organ is like a different mate on the ship, each with their own specific purpose, or role.”

            I nodded at him and slugged back the rest of my Singha. I was really getting into it. It felt solid.

            “And in those jobs your organs are, like, perfect little sailors.” He shuffled his short arms forward and back in a pantomime of swabbing a deck. I nodded.

            The beer had that affect on me; made me more amenable to agreement. Plus, nodding was fun. Not like I’m normally too strong-willed, but these beers had me bobbing like one of those dashboard turtles.

            “Each job is really difficult and specific, like the fact that my intestines break down food sequentially and completely and how your liver over there diligently filters beer through complex, automatic processes so that you can just sit there and nod at me.”

            I nodded.

            “So you imagine all these myriad singing, swabbing, synched up, HMS Pinafore-style organs just keeping this cruise ship running in immaculate shape, but at the helm is the brain: you.”

            I put two fingers up at the server to just bring two more out. She had straight, white bangs and gave me a look that said I will do this but this seems to be rapidly going south and I hope I don’t soon regret complying with your abnormal drinking pace.

            Philip’s mouth became a thin line while I ordered. “Go on,” I said. The beers had started to sink into my muscles, creep into my brain. Philip had put on a nice shirt to meet me, an off-white short-sleeved button down with faint paisley relief. He’d gained a little more weight though. Poor guy.

            “You think of the crazy shit this captain makes this perfect machine do. This insanely priceless ship, the almost uncountable number of mates, organs, even microbes and bacteria(!) all doing their job but this nutty-ass captain in control of it all: your brain!”

            The waitress brought my drinks over and raised an eyebrow at Philip as she did. I handed her my empty couple of bottles and flashed a winning smile, which made me drool a little bit on myself. I don’t know if she noticed.

            “So, like, you and your brain choose to do some wild-ass thing like, for example, like eat two bags of All-Dressed Humpy Dumpty chips. Your mind is like “Let’s do it boys!” and all the organ mates — all those hundreds of perfect sailors just trying to do their jobs — are like “Not again! This goddamn crazy-ass captain!”

            I nodded at him. I wasn’t so much agreeing any more than just watching his mouth form words. The Zohydro I’d dropped before I got here was kicking in majorly. The wooden seat felt like it was heated and pretty much form fit to my back and ass. Super comfortable. I just kept nodding and Philip kept going.

            “Like, every time you or I walk into a bar, the captain in your head is like ‘Woo hoo! Let the good times roll!’ But inside your body the entire crew is just like ‘Noooooooo! Turn around Captain! Turn around!’”

            The beers were gone again and we hadn’t even gotten our entrees. Philip was the one paying so it was all good about the beer prices. And it was my day off so I was allowed a little fun. Plus I’d chosen to drink Singha, which is the cheapest on the menu at least. I’m not that much of a jerk.

            “But in so many more ways than one is your brain just messing with the rest of you. Your muscles want to work but your brain is like, eh this couch is pretty sweet. Your body wants to feel good and get a variety of food, like greens and things, and your brain is like, ‘It’s BBQ time!’ Just some sociopathic captain up there making the most destructive decisions.”

            I was becoming rapidly messed up and could only muster the occasional head bob. I just hoped my eyes weren’t drooping too far down but then again kinda just thinking “fuck it” if they were. This was where I’d wanted to be all day, just riding out the moment in a giant, warm pillow of messed-up-ness.

            Even through my haze I could see Philip didn’t want to meet me just to talk about captains and organs. “But the reason I wanted to grab food,” Philip said, getting around to it. “The reason I kinda came out here was to talk about what me and Mom and Dad are really seeing as a problem. We’re worried about…” Philip tapped the side of his forehead with the knuckle of his forefinger. I was really starting to zone in on the details. The way he knocked right there, just two little raps so that I could hear the bones of his finger and skull make a muffled clock clock despite the cushion of both the skin and muscle covering his little, crooked piggy of a finger and ovular, red-speckled forehead. So weird that that noise is literally him knocking his bones against each other. And clapping? Hitting our skin against our skin to make a slapping noise of approval? What a messed up concept.

            Philip gets on his phone and diddles around. I’m just floating on an umbilical cloud, feeling my body heavy and still and weightless around me. The waitress put our food down and I just kinda stared at it.

But then, out comes my Mom from the doorway. And Dad. And even my wife, Caroline, comes in holding our little baby Brandon, who is asleep in his turquoise bassinet. They all pull up chairs around the table. I want to just be like “peace out” and get up, but my body is so heavy that I just tectonically rove my eyes without even moving my neck.

I try to get the waitress’ attention with my eyes to order a couple more beers but that’s not really going to happen since my whole family is blocking my eye-line to her. They all wear the same mask of pleading concern.

I try to pre-empt all their bullshit and say I’m fine, but end up kind of awping my mouth open like a fish and making an inaudible vowel.  At about that point the Quaaludes — I’d gotten them from some angular guy who called them Mandrakes — I’d taken when I was in the bathroom earlier were kicking in and soldering my ass to the chair. It sucks when drugs kick in right as your parents show up. So, in the end I tried to listen to my dad as he talked and my family looked from him to me, and me to him and him to me etc.

The part that was too bad about it all was that they thought this might work. That this mutual love and familial caring could have any bit of an effect on what my body wanted to do. They thought they could stop me? I couldn’t stop me.

As they talked and choked up I tried to listen but ended up zoning back to what Philip had been saying about my crazy captain brain. At this point I don’t think my captain brain was actually in control. I think the ship was in full mutiny — had been for a while now — every one of my organs now actively driving me to do what I was doing. Like they were tired of this whole ill-fated pleasure cruise and had decided that they would become the agents of its swiftest destruction. My stomach saying, “more beer please.” My lungs saying “more smoke please.” My appendix, a stranger, chiming in, “Hey, how about another ‘lude?” My brain a captive to the visceral command of my organs, trying hard to wrestle back control without success, like running in a dream.

When I zoned back in Philip and my Dad were talking to each other and my Mom was holding Caroline’s head in her lap and Caroline’s auburn hair had fallen down over my Mom’s knees in a silken, shimmering waterfall that made we want to just about die.





Certainly the classiest Thai food available in Portland. Intriguing preparations and some killer dishes — pad thai swaddled in an omelette, addictive house-fried peanuts, and multiple tapas options. It’s tasty for certain.



It can get a little expensive a little quickly. Think, in the $30 range for one person with app, entrée and a drank. HOWEVER, if you hit up their late night menu, which is short but very well-curated, the value skyrockets (late night menu starts at 10:00 and goes to 12:45)


Maybe Thai?

With lots of varnished wood and a fun bar to sit at, it’s nice in Boda. I couldn’t really tell you what they were going for beyond, um, a “dark, woody cove.” It works.



The outward-facing service staff is always nice, but — for whatever reason — the food can take a little bit. Your water may go unfilled from time to time, but overall it’s good stuff.



If you've got a mean Thai-hanker, get over there. If you want a good late night Pad Thai, there is no better. But if you’re just looking for a little night out dinner, nothing fancy, it’ll end up costing slightly more than some other options that will most likely lend you a significant modicum more satisfaction.