There are moments in your life where you really have to wonder just how you ended up in that particular spot.
For the last few years we have bought a half-hog from a local farmer in the fall. It’s good meat, and cheaper than you can get it in the stores. Plus they will butcher it for you and do all the chopping and packaging and freezing, so all you have to do is pick it up, take it home, put it in your own freezer, and cook it at your convenience.
It helps to have a big freezer in the basement.
Yesterday it was my job to collect this year’s order. Since it was on the way home from Mid-Range Campus anyway, we arranged to meet in the parking lot of a particular business just off the highway, about halfway between MRC and home. The pork people are up that way anyway, so it was convenient to them. I’d leave MRC, pick up my carpool buddy from his campus (which is not the same as mine), wend my way back to the highway, and get to the specified parking lot around 6:15pm for the pick up. Simple.
But you see, here is the thing.
It’s December here in Wisconsin, as it is in most places these days. There are parts of Alabama that are so far behind the times that it is probably still August there, but for most of the world December it is. And Wisconsin is, the last time I checked, in the northern hemisphere. This means that by the time I managed to drive from MRC to the designated parking lot it was dark. The sun had long since gone down.
Further, the business that actually owns the parking lot was closed. It too was dark. There were no lights in the parking lot at all. The lot is just off the highway, but sufficiently off the highway that it’s actually a bit sheltered from traffic. It’s pretty isolated. And dark. And there’s a little gravel to give the tires just the right sort of crunch as you go in to the lot to make things kind of eerie.
So we turn off the highway, drive the little bit to the parking lot entrance, and turn into the dark parking lot where a pickup truck with a solitary occupant is waiting for us, lights off. I pulled up next to the truck and killed the engine, dousing the entire scene in darkness. For a moment, nobody moved.
And it was at that point that I thought, “You know, this looks like a scene out of a bad movie. I’m about to get busted for buying pork.”
Seriously, it felt kind of illicit. “You got the pork?” “Yeah, I got the pork. You got the money?” “Sure I got the money.” “What is this? A check? You’re paying for this with a check? What, are you going to keep a record for your taxes? This is pork you idiot! Cash only!”
Except that it is pork, after all, so a check was okay. I handed over the check, he put the two boxes of frozen pig bits into the back of my car, and we drove off. The whole thing took maybe five minutes.
And then the credits began to roll.