Friday, August 22, 2008

Tossing the pigskin

My patio has become an oasis to me. Every day, when I get home from work, I grab a snack, whatever book I'm working on (I recently finished both Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, the Dominion of Wyley McFadden by Scott Gardiner and an anthology of stories written by Peace Corps volunteers), my journal and if I have one on hand, a drink. This is my routine. I sit in the same chair, prop my feet up on another chair and bask in the sunshine until it sets behind the church across the street. Occasionally I chat with my cute neighbour, who I've been harbouring a minor crush on. He sometimes eats dinner on his balcony, asking me for advice about his tomatoes and apologizing for their random garden.

Today I came home to discover that my cute neighbour had put up white paper seperating our two balconies and blocking out the sun. I cursed him, but figured the fresh air was worth it to stay outside. (Not that Toronto air is fresh, but that's beyond the point.)

I was comfortable, writing about the day when the wind picked up, blowing the paper away, and revealing what was happening on the balcony next door--laying on a table covered in white paper was a small pig, and my neighbour and a friend were cutting away at it.

"What the fuck?!" Profanity was the only viable choice in the situation--it's not often you see people butchering a pig on their balcony in downtown Toronto. And what were they going to do with it? Roast it on a spit in the back alley?

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry," cute neighbour's friend said. "We tried to cover it up. I guess we should explain." I knew where it was going, before he even started. Mentally, I begged him to tell me that they were going to a barbeque. "It's an art project. We're trying to skin the pig whole to create a pig leather."

I couldn't help but laugh. "It's a good thing I've travelled to some strange places," I told them.

"If it helps at all, you can come over for pork tonight," they offered.

"It's too bad I'm vegetarian."

"Oh shit," they moaned, trailing off. I kept laughing.

As I type this, all that seperates me from a group of guys skinning a pig for the sake of art is butcher's paper and a few feet. I would go inside, but this is my oasis. And besides, the conversation I'm eavesdropping on is priceless.

And my minor crush on the neighbour? Needless to say, it brings the phrase "thoughts of the flesh" to an entirely different light.


  1. Wait, just so we're clear, the pig was already dead, right?

  2. where do you even get a whole pig? I will be there in a week umm, that makes it sound like I want to get myself a pig when i get there. I don't. I just want to hang out on your patio...

  3. Lol. Done. With or without whole pig. I will be here. We can play cribbage. I look forward to this.

  4. Anonymous6:01 PM

    That must have been some art supply store they went to.

  5. The important question here is -- "What did you think of Cat's Cradle?!?"

  6. I thought Cat's Cradle was a great book reading directly prior to my vacation to Nova Scotia--apparently a lot of Cape Bretoners are going "off-grid."

  7. Ya know, for the longest time, I wanted to go "off the grid". But I realized that doing so would contradict thousands of years of human intuition. It was, after all, cooperative agrarian communities that gave rise to civilization as we know it. I no longer want to be "off the grid" -- I want to BE "the grid"! And I [pointing randomly at the crowd] want YOU to the the grid and YOU to be the grid and YOU and YOU and YOU TOO! Distributed energy is where it's at -- plants figured that shit out eons ago!

    Glad you dug on some Vonnegut. He is one of the few people to make me proud to be a stubborn, corn-fed American! And, quite honestly, Bokononism makes much more sense to me as any of the other mythology.

    If you're at all interested in reading another, I recommend "Sirens of Titan" next. It's an excellent commentary on dogma-meets-post-war-technology via "The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent.