Sure, There’s Death and Taxes. . . But We Have Beer, Too
People post stuff on my Facebook wall all the time. Most frequently, it’s my kids, like when Harrison wanted me to take a look at a Burning Man YouTube video featuring a guy (scantily) dressed as The Cat in the Hat. “I know how much you like Dr. Seuss,” he wrote, “so I knew you wouldn’t want to miss this!” Posting on someone else’s timeline is an effective way to grab their attention, because there is only so much time (and interest) to scroll through everyone’s doings on Facebook, and if it’s there, on your wall, it’s generally a good idea to see what it is, before you get labeled as someone who’s into primal desert happenings. So, when my cousin down in Brazil posted a newspaper article on my timeline about a bear walking into a bar in Estes Park, Colorado, I read it, thinking she was in the mood for a joke. Everybody knows that you’re supposed to ask, “Why did the bear go into the bar?” The answer, of course, is that he wanted to belly up for a beer. Except, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Why would a bear go into a bar?
I posed this question to a group of us sitting around a table, enjoying an al fresco brunch on a patio after a bike ride on a beautiful fall Sunday. My friend Joan had the answer for that one. “It’s usually nicer inside,” she explained. Friends Gil and Susan, who are currently experimenting with the uniqueness of indoor camping, heartily agreed. Ever since the recent 1,000 year flood in Estes Park left the mountain town a No-Flush Zone, they are the proud owners of an ingenuously conceived indoor port-a-potty in their garage, and will be for months. It’s quite an impressive design (for what it is), and I have a picture, but I didn’t think I should post it. Still, it beats winter weather options. There are many add-ons to modern daily life which we typically don’t think on much, until we have to live without them.
Once you get used to living inside walls, it’s difficult to go back, Joan explained. Case in point: she and her husband Phil once had a couple of raccoons living in their chimney. Mrs. Rac, who had a day job, was pretty quiet, other than some rodent-y scrabbling around now and again, until she gave birth. “The noises she was making during labor were unbearable,” said Joan, who formerly was an OB delivery nurse. That was when she and Phil reached a difficult decision: the raccoons had to go. Yes, it seems horrific and cruel, but if you go from two raccoons to six in a confined space, the decibels only continue to rise. And then the babies are teenagers, they start dating, and whoops, we’ve got some unprotected sex on Prom night. You do the math. Before you know it, they’ve overtaken the entire house.
After evaluating a number of rodent elimination scenarios, they discovered a failsafe method for removal, which would leave the animals intact and alive, although supremely pissed off. The solution was simple: turn on music, really loud. It couldn’t be any old music, and a Chopin Prelude definitely wouldn’t cut it; it had to be rock-n-roll, and it had to be bad. ZZ Top was perfect, particularly when played during the babies’ nap time. You know how sacrosanct nap time is. Mom Rac yelled and screamed her displeasure, to no avail, and eventually, the raccoons relocated. Joan says they don’t write to tell them of the kids’ progress in college.
I think this is why animals like it so much inside our homes and bars. It’s warm there, and there’s that priceless shared camaraderie. Last weekend, we reconnected with a group of friends from college. We knew a few people in the group, and they’d brought their friends, who soon became ours as well, because there was instantaneous bonding, created as we bicycled from brewery to brewery. I’m sure the beer had something to do with that. As the day progressed, boundaries wore down, and we found ourselves sharing information with people we might not have, had the beer not let us relax. At midday, when we were beginning our Tour, we stoically compared impressions about the Federal government, and discussed the shutdown. After several beers and miles, the engineers in the group explained glass etchings; beer carbonation and how it could be displayed had become a work of art, each individual glass a unique frame.
We marveled that we still remained friends, when college revelry was only a rosy memory. We noted that most of us had created families, extensions of ourselves, and those kids were remarkably similar: to us, and to each other, even though we had not kept in touch, except sporadically. We had spread ourselves out, allowing dilution of the ideas we had held to so firmly when we were twenty-one, our intentions diminishing with our youth. And yet, it was satisfying to realize none of us had strayed too far over the years, and seemed to have imparted that idealism to our children.
We sipped beer together on porches stippled with natural light, warmed by the sun, and the continuation of lifelong friendships. We evaluated the quality, commenting on the essence of both beer and humans. And it occurred to me, if I were a bear, I would want to be there, too.
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @. Life inspired. Vodka tempered.