So, uh, I’m going to mention something else that really belongs on some other day, but since I don’t know which day, and it really doesn’t matter, which really means that I don’t care, I’ll stick it in here, since it’s otherwise such a light day.
The dates we are talking about having nothing to do with Monday or November or 2003. We’re talking dates as in figs. As in also edible, and to North Americans, somewhat exotic.
For Ramadan, it’s tradition to break the fast with dates. Not mandatory, but tradition. If Fahim didn’t have dates, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but he prefers it. Okay, fine with me. I’m not about to argue. I like dates, too. Maybe he’ll let me scoff some?
So when we were shopping at Arpico, the department store, on some day probably last week, we bought a couple of plastic containers of dates. Now, the only way I’ve ever bought dates in Canada was by the brick – as in, pitted and packed in real tight. Not loose dates at all. Ya get the picture?
Here, you can buy them that way if you like, but you can also buy them in plastic containers, not pitted, and loose, comparatively speaking. Loose as in not packed tight, but rather just placed on top of each other.
Fahim picked up two plastic containers of dates.
He ate them a few nights to break fast, and he gave me a few to eat. Me, not knowing any better, just ate them. He, on the other hand, checked his over before he eats his.
One day, he mentions in passing that one of the dates is infested.
Okay. Cut to the beginning. When we were in the department store, Fahim mentioned that the dates sometimes got bugs in them. After they’re picked, they’re laid out on the ground to dry. When they’re ready, they’re packed. Well, maybe not directly on the ground. Maybe on some tarps or something. I don’t know. But they are laid outside in the sun where bugs can get at them.
So after we bring the dates home, I take a look at one of the containers of dates and what do I find? I find dead ant carcasses. Tiny ants. Not the microscopically small ants, just the small ants. That, I am not surprised at. What does surprise me is the live ant walking around. He’s obviously enjoying himself. Having a party.
In some cultures, they eat things like ants all the time. So, loosen up. Live a little. I’m not gonna sweat something silly like an ant.
Let’s get back to Fahim eating them. He makes a comment on one occasion about how it’s bug infested and no good, and he shows it to me, and there’s a worm inside. Well, at first, I didn’t recognize it. I didn’t realize that I was looking at the remnants of a worm eating a date. After he points out the relevant bits and pieces, I realize that I’ve eaten worm infested dates.
I now let Fahim pick over the dates before he hands any to me.
I think you can see the wisdom in this decision?