Eating Rodents Like Farley Mowat and Making Pastry Drug Lord Style

Just before she left, Sula sent all her nearest and dearest a message containing the number of the satellite phone (a fifteen digit number if you can believe it) along with the dates of her departure and return. Included in this message was the surprising piece of information that in the case of emergencies, the satellite phone could receive texts.

This is Sula’s fourth year in the bush. It is also the first year that she has given any indication that her only means of communication could receive texts. It was my understanding that the satellite phone was for emergencies only. Events along the lines of “The narcoleptic field hand ate all the food in the night; please send help as we are dining Farley Mowat style- eating roasted mice with tails, fur and all.” were what I thought the phone was reserved for.

The texting tidbit was news to me, whether we, her family and friends, had shown the proper respect for the phone in not contacting Sula ever during her field season (no emergencies came up) or whether this was a new function on a delicate and temperamental piece of technology, I’m not sure. Whatever the case, while Sula was away, when I was having trouble with baking or was just thinking of her, I would write imaginary texts to Sula. I never sent them because doing so would have landed the both of us in hot water, as Sula works with top government agencies that don’t care about superfluous items like false eyelash glue.

 

Is now too late to text your mother?

Message sent at 12:49 AM

 

My mother and I are wearing false eyelashes.

Message sent at 12:52 AM

 

We have no idea how to remove them and are afraid of waking up with our eyelids glued together.

Message sent at 12:54 AM

 

Is this a thing? Please advise.

Message sent at 12:55 AM

 

Wait, sorry, just realized that it’s five am in the Arctic.

Message sent at 1:04 AM

 

Or maybe it’s 10 AM. I have no clue. Time zones are hard. Are you even in the continent?

Message sent at 1:05 AM

 

On the continent? Prepositions are hard too. Especially whilst drunk.

Message sent at 1:06 AM

 

You may have figured that last bit out.

Message sent at 1:07 AM

 

I probably should have paid more attention in high school geography. In my defense, I didn’t know my best friend would be an Arctic researcher.

Message sent at 1:11 AM

 

Along with possessing more experience with finicky makeup tools than me, Sula is also a better baker. When she’s at home, I sometimes go to her for advice when working in the kitchen.

 

I’m making a pie crust. It isn’t going well.

Message sent 3:24 PM

 

What does it mean when it says to cut the butter in?

Message sent at 3:26 PM

 

That sounds like something a drug lord would do.

Message sent at 3:27 PM

 

Regardless, this process is wildly unsuccessful.

Message sent at 3:27 PM

 

You’re not answering. Despite the fact that you’re an expert on pie crusts.

Message sent at 3:44 PM

 

It’s kind of like you’re too busy befriending polar bears and furthering science to care about dessert.

Message sent at 3:46 PM

 

When Sula is away, or off the grid, I try to contact her mother more often, presumably so that Mrs. Jackson will appreciate her talented, couth daughter more when Sula returns from the North.

 

I just sent your mom a postcard about penises. I’m sorry.

Message sent at 11:23 AM

 

It was an accident. Again, I’m sorry. For whatever reason, these types of writing accidents always seem to happen to me. Like the time I sent my aunt a postcard about why she should make out with Colin Firth.

Message sent at 11:26 AM

 

Someone ought to take away my stamps. Or at least proof my correspondence before I send it out. My son is phenomenally poor at editing. Something about him only knowing eight letters of the alphabet.

Message sent at 11:31 AM

 

I of course never sent any of these text messages. For whatever reason I’m already on the Canadian government’s radar based on the number of times they audit my taxes. Texts like these on a government phone might get me added to the “No Fly” list.

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Going Out For Vaginas With Satan

I have a new phone. It’s a fancy phone. I resisted this change for the longest time; finally my sister leaned on me so hard that I cracked. Previously I had a phone which couldn’t be killed. You could drop it from hundreds of feet, throw it in a lake, embed it in concrete, run over it with a truck; nothing could dent it or prevent it from placing and receiving calls. When it would fall out of my purse at someone’s house, I would pick it up and say “I’m so sorry, is your floor dented?”

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It’s the electronic equivalent of Cher, it just keeps going. Ten years from now I’ll probably see my phone, covered in sequins, performing in Vegas.

When my old phone rang, the ringer was so loud that the dead turned over. Mark Twain once appeared on our doorstep asking if the ringer had a lower setting. The only downside to this device was that it neither took photos nor accepted them. A definite drawback when one has a child.

So at the behest of my family, I got a smart phone. As far as I know it can do everything; it takes photos, sends photos, looks up how many times Cher has staged a comeback tour, and reminds me when Mini Tex has a doctor’s appointment. My new phone actually made me a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich for lunch the other day. However, it’s extremely fragile. If I was to drop it from fifty feet up, it would explode into thousands of tiny, brilliant pieces. If I leave it near the bath it will sing a burbly swan song.

Funny enough owning a fragile piece of equipment doesn’t bother me. But I must admit that even though my new phone can instruct me how to walk to Hong Kong in seven thousand hours or less, I’m having trouble communicating with it.

For starters, my old phone had T9 texting. A feature that I only just learned how to use two years ago. Previously my texts were curt, succinct messages. Then I learned the magic of pressing just a combination of letters rather than hitting seven four times to get one “S”. I used this function with varying degrees of success. Because T9 texting ensured that I always created a word, if I got most of the words in a message correct, I would just send it. This often created a bit of confusion.

Message to Tex: I sat that we were out of milk but I made offer wayward.

Or sometimes I would forget how to change a word that had the same sequence of numbers as another word for example “nope” and “more” were the same combination of numbers, leading to conversations like this.

Message from Sula “Have you seen Meredith recently?”

Message from Unwashed “More.”

Message from Sula “?? Could you elaborate?”

I bought a Samsung Galaxy which has this wonderful function called “Swipe”. Basically it means that you brush your finger across the letters rather than tapping each one individually. The only downside is that the phone has to guess what you are trying to say sometimes if one only gets close-ish to a letter. Thus my name becomes “Satan” and fajitas become “vaginas”. Which is awkward when you are texting someone whom you’ve just met, wanting to invite them to lunch and offering up nefarious activity with the lord of the underworld instead. “See anyone” becomes “Sr. Antoine” and most memorably, after I tried to text my mother to wait for further instructions, I instead asked her to wait for fisher inductions.

Happily, no matter the amount of uncertainty my texts create, my family will always forgive me when I follow a message of dubious content with a photo of Mini Tex.