Thursday, 2 April 2009

Friends Apart

During the weekend we’ve had friends coming over for a visit. Hooray!
The official excuse was us getting a new barbecue and therefore us being required to system test it. We actually got the BBQ a few months ago and already had several friends invited to help us with the testing, only that up until this weekend we had to cancel out because of various reasons (mostly to do with Dylan being sick).
In preparation for the festivities we went to a high spec butcher and decided to stray from the usual line of just getting steaks in favor of something more creative. We’ve ended up with various types of marinated chicken breast bits on a stick (professionally known as chicken shishlick), minced lamb on a stick (kebab shishlick), marinated lamb steaks, and a few different types of sausages. As a backup we got a rump steak.
I feel it is important to note that I don’t like lamb meat; I disapprove of its aftertaste. However, after reading lately about the effects cooked (especially charred) beef meat can have on us humans, I wanted to try greener pastures; you see, I don’t particularly fancy a cancer (one of the several negative aspects that are more beef exclusive). So yes: as a wise cow once said, eat more chicken! It’s also ten times better environment wise, as in methane emissions, the destruction of vegetation to support the cows, and the consumption of energy and water required to generate beef meat over other types of meat. I would go further and urge you to all become vegetarians, only that I know my life will not be the same without some meat in it.
I ended up surprised with our barbecue: the lamb meat we ate had virtually none of the lamb aftertaste I distaste so much. Apparently, that taste is directly related to the lamb's age, which means our high spec butcher uses really young lambs (how nice it must be for the lamb). Lambs are not the only area where the butcher seems to have an edge: even their home made sausages were tasty, which is quite an achievement considering sausages are made of high fat shit. Their sweet chilly sausage, for example, felt the way chilly chocolate does, starting off sweet up until the hotness of it decided to kick in.
As another anecdote, I have to add that in order to support all the meat we also bought a pack of 24 beer bottles from Aldi. This Santiago beer, made in San Salvador, is obviously a copy of Corona; only that it's a good copy and that at a bit more than $30 for the lot it's quite cheap. Thing is, we don't drink much alcohol; my calculations indicate that if we drink a bottle with every second film we watch at home this purchase should last us some six months. But we won't, so we need to have more friends over to help us before the beer goes out of date.

It would probably sound weird for me to state, at this stage, that the main point I’m trying to convey with this post has nothing to do with meat. The main point is that friends have paid us a visit. And they were nice and we enjoyed their visit: they're the same age as us, and between sharing similar professions, living close to one another, sharing an affection to video games and an inclination to science fiction, we have a lot in common. Who knows where this will lead to?
We don’t have many friends in Australia. To be honest, I was never the type to have many friends in the first place; so when someone does come over it is a good enough reason to party. The trick is to get the few friends we have to come over!
While this sounds simple it is definitely not the case. Not anymore, at least: both us and virtually all of our friends seem to be maintaining a calendar that is mostly full of obligations and leaves very little opportunities for seeing one another. The question I would like to ask is, why have we reached such a situation when the most pleasurable and rewarding activity we people can do – interacting with our friends – has become an endangered species?
I don’t think I can offer a reliable answer to that question. What I can say, though, is that things weren’t always this way. As a child I clearly remember just roaming around the street or my school, perhaps equipped with a ball, bumping into friends, and gradually getting some sort of an activity out of it. As a bachelor I remember going to visit my friends while providing no advanced warning and just playing computer games together or something; reciprocal visits took place regularly, too. Generally speaking, yesteryears were marked with me having more time than things to do with, a lot of it because I lacked the means to fill my time up.
Today it’s different. Today I have way too many things I would like to do but only enough time to do a portion of them. Today people think it is perfectly fine to resort to a lifestyle where seeing your best friends is a matter to be decided by the time slots available in one's diary.
I suspect we got this far because of our increasingly demanding lifestyles. We have to work longer in order to keep up with the Joneses (they just bought a new car and redid their backyard) and afford a private school for the kids. And if in doing so we work ourselves to death and lead a frustrating life because we lack the intimate experience of being and doing stuff with our friends, then so be it.
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Uri said...

Sounds good (the kebab part).
You can invite me for some in 9'10 (a mere 17 months away).

No beer for me.

Moshe Reuveni said...

I wonder where we would be on September 2010 as far as our extension plans are concerned. To date we are still messing about with the builder's totally useless architect on the plans. As in, we ask a question, and they mess about in order to avoid giving us an answer.