One of several little birdies told us that a number of Internet bloggers were going to be taking a break from their cellar-dwelling commentating to have a picnic at Chestnut Ridge. A picnic! For Internet bloggers! Don't Internet bloggers recoil at the mere touch of sunlight? Apparently that's a myth. Who knew! Since I myself, along with other local news personalities, have been the occasional subject of scorn (one actually scores everything I write with a "Mockability Score"! How droll!), I decided, why not go and actually meet these fine people?
But first things first: what do I bring? It was apparently to be a potluck affair, but what dish should I bring? This was tough. A peace offering of sorts was called for, but what? I decided to go to a grocery store and look for ideas. After walking the aisles -- wheat thins? a relish tray? gourmet potato salad, with mustard and hord boiled eggs? that traditional baked ziti dish that is served at every Western New York buffet event? -- I found myself in the Bulk Food section, and my eyes fell on my favorite candy.
Yes, Skittles! Those wonderful little round bursts of fruity goodness, with their wonderful commercials where Skittles fall from the sky and a whispering voice tells us to "taste the rainbow". What better metaphor could there be for those Internet bloggers coming out of their basements to greet the world? What better way to show them a world of color than these rainbow-colored candies! I filled a bag with three pounds of Skittles, and headed off for Chestnut Ridge, trying to chuckle off my trepidation. Surely they'd like me! Who could dislike a person bearing a three-pound bag of Skittles!
My trepidation increased, however, when I exited the Thruway onto Route 219. There's something about the 219 that feels strange somehow, like you've entered some kind of parallel universe. It looks like an Interstate, but it's not an Interstate! And driving a road like that, at 60 with the window down, you feel like driving across the country -- but alas, one knows that the 219 ends in Springville, forcing the rich Canadians of winter onto two-lane roads all the way to Ellicotville. Every minute took me one more mile away from Buffalo. More than once I wished that I was an asthmatic, just so I could pull over for a dose from the inhaler.
I was even more nervous as I exited the 219 onto a road that went up to Chestnut Ridge Park. This road also had four lanes, but its intersections were marked by traffic lights (who knew Orchard Park had that much traffic!) and it was lined with houses whose driveways came right down to the road. How do they back out? Reaching Chestnut Ridge Park itself felt better, because it's like an actual exit from the Thruway, at first; but then it's terribly bumpy and ill-maintained. Curse you, Red Budget! Even we pickup-truck driving Republicans like a smooth road! But now to find the Internet Bloggers.
Alas, it was not to be. I drove around Chestnut Ridge for hours, passing buildings that look like darling replicas of the kinds of structures they used to build during the Works Progress Administration, encountering many picnic shelters housing what appeared to be family reunions and church groups and the like. But no Internet bloggers! No shelter filled with untanned folk tapping away on laptops. One time I thought I'd found them, but the folks at that shelter said no, they weren't the bloggers, but hey, would I like a large carton of fruit salad? Alas, I had to pass. We don't eat food from cartons in the City.
Eventually I had to give up. Perhaps it had all been a ruse to lure me so far south of the City. Perhaps they were all still in their basements, having a laugh at my expense. I was tired, and hurt, and angry. But I still had three pounds of Skittles. So I parked my car and walked over to a large hill that I bet would be wonderful for sled riding. And as I sat down in the grass at the top of that big hill, my heart lept, for there in the distance was the HSBC Tower! And the Ralph! And the other buildings of downtown! And even the Central Terminal! I could still see home! All was not lost! I rejoiced to see my hometown again. I hadn't left at all! And I popped a handful of Skittles into my mouth.
And then everything changed.
The Skittles weren't right. They didn't taste the way they usually do. What was wrong? I took another handful, and again they tasted wrong. Close, but wrong. What had happened? I stared at the bag, and the answer became obvious. The red Skittles weren't there. They'd been replaced by pink ones that tasted not of cherry, but of...something else. What fruit is pink? And what kind of rainbow is this? As children, the nuns taught us "ROY G BIV", not "POY G BIV".
You can't change the rainbow, darn it! You can close our libraries and shutter our Catholic parishes and equip every new car with a subwoofer, but you can't just change the rainbow!
We now live in a world with pink Skittles instead of red ones. When did it all go wrong?
(Editor's note: the preceding is parody, although the Editor did actually get some Skittles today that had pink ones in place of the red ones. He called shenanigans at the time, and rightly so. The Editor has no idea whatsoever if Mary Kunz Goldman likes Skittles, although he admits that she's always struck him as a "sort the M&Ms by color and discard the brown ones because they have unpleasant associations" kind of person.)