I can use my iPhone to tether! I don’t know exactly what tethering means, but I do know that it provides me with an internet connection for my MacBook.
So here goes.
It’s dark out. And cold. A train just went by. We just ate dinner. We had sausages and grilled zucchini, red peppers and sweet potatoes. I’ve drunk too much wine. I took a sip and there goes another a train. Or maybe it’s the same train. It’s got to be the same train.
I suppose live-blogging isn’t that great, unless you’re watching the Oscars or some sort of election. I’m just sitting here at a candle-lit table.
Maybe I better start at the beginning of our summer holiday. It all started Tuesday morning when I decided that I would run the 2.36 miles to the Enterprise Car Rental with my credit card and driver’s license secured into my sports bra. I arrived sweaty, and tried clandestinely to remove my identification, which was stuck to my body. When I got home, I found the Beast busy packing and eager to get on the road to the cottage, where we’d spend the next five days. I carefully laid out my clothing selection on the bed.
Foodie: What are you doing there? What did you just do?
Foodie: Why are you hiding your clothes into my clothes piles?
Beast: Because I don’t have room in my bag!
Foodie: Well how do I know I’m going to have room in my bag?
Foodie: Is your bag filled with books and CDs? Because if it is, I’m not packing your jogging suit in my bag.
Beast: No, I swear. It’s just that Andre Leon Talley said you have to bring at least four to five outfit changes at day when you holiday with Karl Lagerfeld.
Foodie: You’re holidaying with me and we never change our clothes when we go to the cottage.
Beast: Can’t you just please make room for the jogging suit?
Foodie: (sighing) Okay! But I’m dumping your joggers if I don’t have room.
I did have room though. We filled up the Ford Focus, which looks like it was designed by a 14 -year-old obsessed with the movie Transformers, and exactly two hours later we arrived at the Beast’s family’s cottage ready to start our summer vacation. The rain even let up for three hours starting at about 5:00pm. We immediately ran to the dock in our bathing suits with our books.
Beast: What are you reading?
Foodie: The Great Gatsby. I read it in high school and don’t remember one word.
Beast: That opening is just perfect isn’t it? “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.'”
Foodie: You’ve got to be fucking joking me. (Checking the Beast’s recitation). How in the hell do you know that? That’s messed up man.
Beast: (Pointing to his brain.)
After reading and enjoying cocktails on the dock, we made our way indoors.
Beast: What are you doing there?
Foodie: I’m tweeting.
Beast: What? Give me that! (Grabbing my phone.) Since when do you have a twitter account? 24 tweets already? When did you start this? You’ve changed! I don’t even know you!
Foodie: Relax man! Everybody in “media” tweets. Steve Maich tweets. And so do I.
Beast: What in the hell do you tweet about?
Foodie: Well, that’s the problem: I’m not that strong of a tweeter. It’s so difficult! I mostly just do it to find out what celebrities are doing.
Beast: What celebrities? (Reviewing who I’m following.) Sarah Silverman, Russell Brand, Frank Bruni, Tina Fey. Who’s Shinan Govani?
Foodie: The gossip columnist from the National Post.
Beast: Who’s following you? (Reviewing who’s following me.) Tom, Stephen, Laura…who’s Claire Tansey?
Foodie: Ah, only the Food Editor of Chatelaine! Now do you understand the pressure? I don’t know how to fucking tweet man! I was going to tweet about how chipmunk pooh is the same size as mouse pooh but I didn’t want people to assume I was only knowledgeable about the size of mouse pooh because we live in squalor. I’m so confused. Do I want to connect this blogging persona with my twitter account? Do I want to brand F & B this way? Do I want to have it be just about me? Am I becoming too self-aware?
Beast: You know who’s becoming too self-aware? My parents: they’ve taken their moose obsession to a new level.
The Beast held up a sink stopper with a moose on it.
It goes with the other moose paraphernalia around the cottage.
The Beast continued washing up our dinner dishes. Last night I made pork chops and baked potatoes. I burned the shit out of those chops (I’d like to think it was on account of a new barbecue up here) and the baking potatoes weren’t cooked all the way through. I don’t think there’s anything worse, gastronomically speaking, than a potato that isn’t cooked through and through. The Beast, who took his turn at the barbecue tonight, had equal amounts of trouble with the sweet potatoes. I guess we’re just not having too much luck with our starches this vacation.
Communication-wise, we are also suffering. It’s been a series of non-sequiters since we arrived.
Foodie: If I take the flank steak out of the freezer tonight, we can have it for dinner tomorrow night and then have steak sandwiches the next day for lunch.
Beast: These are Hayden’s string quartets playing, which influenced both Mozart and Beethoven.
Foodie: And that’ll be perfect because we can use up the arugola with the flank steak tomorrow night before it goes off.
Beast: I’m going to put more wood on the fire. Is it Wednesday or Thursday?
Foodie: I think that pie is just about ready.
I made a concord grape pie from a recipe my Uncle Ron gave me a few years ago. It’s such a perfect pie, only I didn’t have a sieve to separate the grape seeds out and there was no flour to roll out my pie crust or to make my crumble topping. So I just left the seeds in, and substituted corn starch for the flour. There were no complaints from either of us.
It’s been smooth sailing 48 hours into our summer vacation. I finished the Great Gatsby, and we’ve watched a few episodes of a British documentary series called The Up Series: It follows nine Britons–from varying backgrounds–from the age of seven until seventy. They check in with them every seven years. Last night we watched the 35-year mark. That’s how old I am. Most of the women had at least one child and were married and had no careers to speak of. Many were divorced too. It’s a fascinating bit of business really. You want to see these strangers succeed; you want their dreams to be realized and their marriages to last. It’s not always the case, of course. Inevitably, you compare your own circumstances to theirs. I wondered what the Beast felt as he watched. I felt, and this is only an assumption, that somehow I was more familiar–and more hardened–than he was to some of the life experiences that we’ve been watching unfold in the documentary: I’ve had long-term relationships fail; I’ve had my family fall apart at the seams; and I’ve had my family come to know each other in ways that would have been unimaginable prior to that falling apart.
Beast: Do you think I know you better than anybody else?
Foodie: Well, I don’t know. I’d like to think you know me. But in the end, how well do we know anybody?
It wasn’t the answer he was looking for. But it was honest. Here I was, unbeknownst to the Beast, with a Twitter account. And here he was reading five plays by Chekhov. Since when was he interested in that? I don’t know.
But I do know that some of the things we learn about each other along the way–like the music he’s been playing since we arrived that he actually made by himself–is wonderfully surprising. I’ve asked him four or five times now, “Did you make this one?” The answer is always yes. I don’t know where I was while he made it.
Maybe I wasn’t listening.
I hear something right now: the sound of wind blowing through all those trees that surround this perfect place. And the sound of a baritone euphonium sounding in the other room.
Foodie: (for the pie) **1/2
Beast: (also for the pie) ***1/2