People you meet on Facebook
I meet people who have me as friends on Facebook. They read my stuff, they like what I say, they laugh; they friend me on Facebook. We live in the same town: dinner invitation soon follows. So, I know dinner. And the people I meet through Facebook serve good dinner. I eat well; I sample the best wines; and I enjoy good conversation. But there are other species that run through the thickets of the plain that is Facebook: blood relations, their sex partners, and their spawn. One thing about the friends I meet through Facebook: our politics agree. Not so with family. With friends there is no debate about abortion. Instead, the debate is between crucifixion (slow), beheading (fast), or public burning (intense) as a means of dealing with abortion providers. With family, I have to be silent about politics, religion, and money. Sometimes, and lately, all the time, there is only food to talk about with these relatives I meet on Facebook.
I was thinking to myself how much I did not want to be where I was, doing what I was doing, listening to what I was hearing. This was what it was like to be a teenager: too young to escape, but old enough to want to. I was sitting at a dinner spread. Everything about the experience shouted alarm. Where to start? It started with Facebook…
… I got a message from someone who was a distant relative. One of their spawn was going off to college this coming September, so they were throwing a feast. I was invited. The girlfriend was invited. A free meal, a drive into the cultural desert that is Durham Region, and the prospect of guzzling whiskey. The girlfriend could drive home. I could rest my stuffed and drunken self in the passenger seat and digest like a snake. It seemed like a good plan.
Things began to go wrong upon arrival. From casual conversation, it appeared that my girlfriend and I were visiting a nest of Bolsheviks. The spawn was after a career in tax spending. His parents were in the employ of some green faction. Pa, father of spawn, was taking tax payers money to research the dining habits of the black bear. The Tax Payers of Ontario are crazed with worry over the delicate digestion of the bear, apparently. I smiled and said nothing. After some drinks of flavored sugar water served with floating bits of bark shed from the trees overlooking the back yard, we were shown a rickety picnic table. It sagged.
No rum was available. Instead, in honor of the locavore movement, a neighbors vintage of sour, murky red wine; opaque, crude, and tending to a bouquet of turpentine. The host, a Doctor of Biology with tenure at the nearby Che Guevara University, discoursed upon the dietary habits of the Ontario Black Bear, which is re establishing itself across the province thanks to the suppression of firearms amongst the tax paying rural population. After some hundreds of thousands of dollars of state funding, he had dashed off an eight page paper, concluding that the Ontario Black Bear had a sense of taste. Similar to humans, but different. I nodded.
Would a bear eat what was on my plate? It was organic, of terrestrial origin. I did not want to eat it. You can visualize it as something you do not like to eat: parsnips, or turnips, or liver, or lima beans. A mush of stuff, in a pie. It smelt of fish; it was not a dessert pie, which is what a pie should be. Pies should be filled with fruit. Not this pie: it looked like oatmeal mushed up with fish. There were black specks the same size a fly dung. There was a pine aroma coming from the steaming body which evoked the idea of a dash of toilet cleaner used for spicing.
Everybody else was eating the mush pie. The host, Pa, was talking about the electrodes he had installed into a bears brain. He was measuring the brain impulses emitted during feeding. I looked at my mush pie. I looked away from my mush pie. Where was the ketchup? What impulses was my brain emitting, I wondered. Pa shared with us as the picnic table creaked under its load of primates, dinner crockery, and a diversity of serving bowls of mush. Pa shared the latest research: apparently, the human brain reacts to eating a croissant with jam in the same way a bear does to eating a hornet nest. With hornets. Really?
The texture of a croissant does compare to hornet nest, if you think about it, suggested Pa. He nodded, and his brood nodded. I nodded, but did not spend as much time thinking about it as the others did. Bears that eat hornet nests for snack cannot quite be compared to my own self. I did not want to walk in a bear’s shoes, for even a mile, to snack upon hornet nest croissants or nibble upon hornets proper, which, Pa assured us, were as tasty as shrimp. To a bear.
It was night when we ate.The host, Pa, was fetching another jug of powdered Lime flavored water. I used my skills of childhood to pitch the mush pie into the bushes. Maybe a bear would eat it; maybe a raccoon, or a skunk. The mosquitoes soon drove us inside, where powdered milk and ice creme drinks were available. I must say, the ice creme drink I was presented with, a personal concoction of my statist tit slurping relative, was a mild yellow color evocative of some ammonia solution. It was mostly ice creme, cold, and had enough roughage in the mix to plug the drinking straw. Maybe it was the reforming polymers from the synthetic milk, using the plastic of the straw as a catalyst. If I was a schizophrenic, a pipe band would have begun to play in my head.
The musical part of the evening featured CBC radio, interspersed with selections from the personal collection of Pa, scientific researcher into the dining habits of the Ontario Black Bear. My mind had wandered, and without a whiskey fog, had managed to get lost in a forest of thoughts centered upon the charms of my girl friend. There were no bears there. I thanked my host, my relative, who had sought me out on Facebook. I gathered my coat, my girlfriend, and left. I put some suitable driving music on the radio * and hurtled out into the gridlocked chaos that is the Ontario motorway system.
I meet people on Facebook.
I, Fenris Badwulf, wrote this. I care.