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Saturday, 29 April 2017
PRIMITIVE PLEASURE (a story in which an extra-terrestrial visitor discovers the delights of Spanish wine)
Scoutship Nine calling Mission Control. Do you read me?
Come in, Scout. State your position.
Greetings, Commander. I have now been on Earth for seven of their Earth days. It is a very strange place; not like our planet at all.
Earth has many land-masses, Scout. Can you identify your exact location?
I am in a place called Spain. The natives call it España.
Can you understand what the natives say?
Yes, my translator decodes their speech. They seem to talk much about two things, which they call “food” and “wine”.
Please wait, Scout. I do not understand.
Apologies, Scout. These words “food” and “wine” do not compute.
Commander, I too was confused by these concepts at first, so I have undertaken some research. It seems that the people of Earth are extremely primitive. Unlike our people, their subsistence is not derived simply from their atmosphere (which is much thinner than our own) or from solar emissions. Their sun is yellow (not white like ours), and whilst it burns hot and bright here in this place called Spain, it disappears for approximately one-third of each Earth day. Earthlings cannot rely on it for survival during these hours of non-solar activity. It is for this reason, I believe, that they consume this “food” and “wine”.
Thank you, Scout. But please, explain about this “food” and “wine”.
“Food” is solid matter which the Earthlings put into their mouths, Commander.
Where does it come from?
It is produced in large open land spaces called “farms”, or pulled from large expanses of water called “lakes” or “oceans”. The Earthlings gather and store it, then consume it. Sometimes it is consumed in its raw state; at other times it is first subjected to strong heat.
And “wine”? What is that?
“Wine” is most fascinating, Commander. It is a liquid which is dark red, or pink, or pale yellow. The Earthlings cultivate large quantities of fixed growths which they call “vines”, which produce small round objects called “grapes”. The Earthlings take the grapes from the vines, put them into large containers, then climb into the containers with the grapes and stamp on them. They put the resulting liquid – the “wine” – into containers called bottles, then leave it for several of their Earth years before consuming it.
As you say, extremely primitive. What a waste of time and energy. Our system is far more efficient.
I thought so too, but as part of my research I disguised myself as an Earthling and took part in a “wine tour”, visiting places where wine is made, and consuming some of the product. It is strangely pleasing, and made me feel very happy. I now wonder if by never needing to consume liquid, we are depriving ourselves of a great pleasure?
Good question, Scout. We must find out. Can you bring some of this “wine” back with you?
I have some bottles already on board, Commander. I promise I will not open them until I arrive home…