In case you were worried that (and understandably so) all my friends were super sweet and treat me like too much of a princess, wining me, dining me, showering me with gifts, treating me to spa packages, catering to my every need, inflating my already oversized ego, and what-have you…
This weekend one of my “friends” had the *brilliant idea of going for a leisurely Sunday drive (it may have been Saturday I’m not sure, it was so traumatic, it’s a wonder I haven’t blocked it out entirely) to the country to pick up farm fresh eggs and handmade artisan inspired condiments and baked goods and so on.
Good for the soul these sorts of things.
Or at least they’re supposed to be.
Not that I eat eggs, because I don’t.
1. I’m vegan
2. I find that eggs taste like snot. Snot that comes out of a Chicken’s bum. Seriously. I’m not just saying that to passive aggressively impose my values on you or anything. I’m not one of those vegans. You can go ahead and eat all the chicken bum snot you want.
I did think the drive and the chickens and the Jam sounded like a romantic way to spend an afternoon and also I was secretly hoping there might be goats.
So I went.
When we arrived and saw the first coop, I felt waves of nostalgia. We used to raise chickens at Brent’s house. My siblings were avid 4H-ers too. My sister had a few Silkies, which are basically poodles. Only they’re birds.
I had an araucana rooster named Hamish for a while, but it wasn’t long before my parents deemed him useless and served him for supper.
This was when I first stopped eating chicken. Not because of Hamish’s untimely death (although I did refuse to eat him on principle), and not because they are sweet and affectionate pets, which they are, but more because they are disgusting creatures who carry lice, hump inanimate objects and eat their own poop.
The second coop seemed to be full of roosters, none of which (whom?) were fighting, which I found odd. It later occurred to me that they were probably all drugged but it’s hard to tell with chickens you know. Particularly the males. Most of them look confused and kind of insane in a “shit was that PCP I just took? Who are you? Hey that’s a sexy fence post. Oh my god, this is seriously the best poop I’ve every eaten in my life” kind of a way, so…
The third coop housed the chickens ready to be sold for consumption. Apparently high in demand and, much to my friend’s dismay, already all spoken for.
The chickens had almost enough space to walk around in but none of them were.
Walking that is.
At first I thought it funny that one was laying seductively on it’s side, with one leg
buckled folded underneath her, the other outstretched to the side. But then I noticed that she wasn’t the only one who was seemingly immobile. Several others were laying on their sides and even face down in the hay. Napping I presume. Although I’ve never seen a bird sleep spread-eagle like that but they were technically breathing and they looked comatose relaxed enough.
After my friend had ranted and raved about how loved and well cared for the birds at this particular farm were, I tried hard to give her the benefit of the doubt. And I suppose it’s possible they’d all just had their morning massages…
My friend, who won’t be named because I suspect her sadistic nature stems from some sort of childhood trauma and/or involuntary behavioural disorder and shouldn’t be held against her – bought some pickled vegetables from the adorable fat farmer’s wife, along with some Jams, fresh eggs and a Chicken *insert visual of me woefully signing the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit* Pot Pie.
cackled maniacally chatted about rhubarb, waiting lists and slaughter dates, I lay waiting (for it all to be over) on the dirt floor, the farm cat cradled in my arms, my face pressed against the crack under the door of Coop #3, softly singing Ofra Haza’s Trains of No Return and rocking myself gently back and forth to still my aching heart.
My friend feigned remorse and attempted to buy her redemption and my forgiveness with a jar of preserved beets but clearly only to lull me into a false sense of trust long enough to lure me into trap #2.
A short (although it felt pretty long) drive (although it felt more like a roller coaster ride) away lives Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. Not an actual saint, but an adorable little town, or city, or whatever it is. We walked along what appeared to be the Main street, where little restaurants, cafés and boutiques line the walkway.
We strolled leisurely so as to take in the charm (and also because I was a little weak with trauma and motion sickness to walk any faster) of the town. There were many quaint places to choose from but we were suddenly accosted by the unexplainably convincing owners of what I later came to understand was a Jewish owned Italian style family restaurant.
“Come! Come in! We have cake! Come sit on our heated terrace, overlooking the water front!”
My friend followed.
What with it being my first time in Sainte-Anne I didn’t feel it my place to argue, and what with the jar of beets, I trusted that my friend cared enough about me not lead me astray… again.
They had cake. They had monster size cakes. But they didn’t let us sit on the terrace because they didn’t actually feel like turning on the heaters. To be fair, we could technically see the water, through the weatherproofing plastic sheets that hung over the windows.
There were decorative antique installations nestled in the fake stone walls. I guessed they were going for a a hunting lodge, or medieval tavern theme.
Or a dollarama…
I don’t even know what this is…
No. Seriously. Seriously? The fake stone, the trapper tools on the wall, the amateur (like a 6 year old did it with one of those kits they sell at ToyS R Us or Zellers or something) stained glass in a nautical mermaid theme and vases on the tables filled with aquarium rocks and tea lights? What?
An antique wrench, a gun and an eggbeater all displayed on the same wall of one room.
But did we run? No. Any sane person (and certainly Gordon Ramsey) would have known by the decor that it was IMPOSSIBLE that the food would live up to any food safety standards but we just sat there like idiots, perusing the menu.
We declined beverages, which was our 3rd mistake (after 1. entering and 2. not fleeing) because honestly the alcohol might have killed some of the bacteria/parasites/botulism we were about to ingest.
I couldn’t find a vegetarian salad on the menu so I opted for the salad bar (mistake number 4) without having a look at it first.
The salad bar consisted of a pan full of rusted lettuces and wilted cabbage, a pot of sliced green olives, a pot of beets, a pot of pickled cauliflower, and 4 pots of “dressing”.
I covered my plate with greens. I love beets but their water looked stagnant and I was almost certain I saw a few tadpoles and mosquito larvae just under the surface.
The Cauliflower looked like a catfish with fin rot, floating in a bowl that hadn’t been changed in months.
I opted for the green olives (mistake number 5) only because I felt embarrassed to order the Salad bar and not actually eat anything more than lettuce, and I figured they would be the safest, having at least been soaking in vinegar for however many years they’d been there.
Needless to say, I was almost writhing in pain for the rest of the day and woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck and had been the victim of organ theft, only instead of the thieves stealing my kidneys, they just stabbed me a hundred times int he intestines and poured bleach all over my stomach lining.
The only consolation in any of this was the that the owner of said restaurant was flirting with me shamelessly the whole time we were there, invited me back for a party later on and told me the food and drinks would be on him (because nothing says I love you like the promise of free food poisoning), all of which made my friend seethe with unbridled jealousy ( she totally wanted him) and my stomach curdle with fear.
* The trip to the Chicken farm may actually have been my idea. I can’t remember but probably because the emotional scarring has created a short-circuit in my brain. I still blame you-know-who and I hope that after eating that pie, she has nightmares about Zombie chickens coming to get her in the night..