Friday, September 23, 2011

It seems cows can't go down stairs

I have been resisting. Resisting writing about online dating. This is probably because I know most of you reading this and maybe this is a part of me I should keep to myself. But no. I won't. I am like that. Unable to keep things to myself.

I online date. Frequently. Truth be told, I don't actually date that frequently, I chat cruise for stories and experiences frequently. The dates themselves are fewer and farther between. I love chat. I feel like it is my poetry. My sassy, flirty and irreverent poetry. It is the foray into the unknown, the faceless real time feedback, that I crave. It is wooing with one hand tied behind your back. You have to connect without senses, no smell, no body language, no pheromones. The banter can be intimate and sexy, or profound and revealing. You wonder what the other is imagining you to be. It is romantic. It is like improv for writers. How do you compose quick witted, poignant repartee in the space between the others response? There is a dance, a syncopation and definitely a cadence. Poetry.

Today was a great one. A story was offered to me and it is irresistible. First off, the background. I have encountered a man, a little older and in oil and gas. He thinks I am sweet. I guess I find that attractive, that someone in the prairies would find me sweet. I briefly saw a picture or two of him, but in all honesty, I cannot recall what he looks like. It does not matter, it is not the point. He gave me a story and that is something like a gift. The story itself is about a gift; a gift to his five year old sister.

When he was twelve, he decided to give his sister a present. It turns out this oil and gas man, with his shirt and tie, broken marriage and impending flight to Paris was a poor communist farmer's son. They lived on a farm and he thought that his sister would like a cow as a present. So he decided to bring one of their milking cows up the stairs to his sister's room to surprise her. This endearing act turns macabre when his father gets home. It seems that cows can only go up. They are simply unable to go down stairs. The father has no choice but to shoot the beast in his daughter's room, his guilty son required to hold down the cows legs so it would not kick holes in the walls as it was being executed. He said he did a bad job of it because he was too small and he was sent flailing. The animal then needed to be butchered so that is could be dropped out the window piece by piece. The boy, spanked at the end of this ordeal as milking cows are precious to a poor farming family.

This Todd Solondz-esque coming of age story got to me. This oil and gas man got to me. I feel like it means something, something dark and meaningful, sublimely ridiculous and sweet and tragic. It felt like a Brothers Grimm fairy tale where somewhere within the horror there was an essential life lesson. Maybe a warning to children or maybe a warning to adults. Or a message about growing up and not being able to go back down to childhood. Or maybe it is just universal irony and pathos; a kind and sweet act ends in gruesome resolution. Or maybe that there is no God.

Or maybe it is just part of this man's life. A beautiful and poetically horrific moment in his childhood. A moment to be remembered and a great story to be told. It was told over chat to a person he imagines with the hope that she will be able to know him through it. This is why I love internet dating. You don't realize you are reading poetry but you really are.