He’s (was?) the shuttle driver of the shuttle that I catch every day to work. I haven’t seen him for a week. I fear that he’s dead…A more reasonable conclusion would be, since the summer is coming and there are fewer shuttle hours, the bus company contracted with the university lays off some of the drivers. But hear me out, even if it’s just my paranoia speaking.
It’s been raining for, what, 3 weeks now in the northeast, and naturally, mushroom sprouts like crazy. What’s funny is, on the well cared-for lawn in front of the university’s administrative building, there are, oh I don’t know, A GAZILLION mushrooms. It’s kind of amazing. And also gross. If you think the pictures look pretty, that’s because I took them and not because the mushrooms are pretty, hah! They also look sort of harmless, as in, there’s no strange red dots or alarming 80s disco fashion colors. But I’m no forager, so I don’t know. Also, just because it grows far from the deep forest doesn’t mean it’s not poisonous! Talking about forest, I do wonder how the spores travel here. The mushroom can be found nowhere else BUT in front of this building. Isn’t that weird?
Oh, the bus driver, right. So one day the bus driver in question showed me his bags full of the mushrooms he just picked from the lawn. He told me he would put them in a basket, hang it up for the mushroom to dry out, then cook them in soup later. I was all like, uh, don’t you think it can be poisonous? He laughed at me like I was an idiot and said no no no, if the bugs can eat it, we can eat it too.
Uh, I don’t think so.
(I’ve perused guides on wild mushroom picking, and apparently even if bugs and animals are fine with this stuff, we can still be at risk (of dying). That makes sense to me – I don’t know if anyone has ever get poisoned from eating poop, but the fact dogs eat poop just fine doesn’t mean I’d be fine eating it.)
Well, so, that was about 3 weeks ago. I assume he would have had to wait for the mushroom to dry. Then about a week later, he…disappeared! I actually WAS going to pick some of the mushroom myself and maybe cut a one-inch cube and cook it and see if it’s poisonous. But just last week I had one of those bouts where I panicked thinking about death and how unpleasant it would be. So I decided against the mushroom, even as the Michael Pollan’s fangirl in me was dying to be the brave forager. The modern cavewoman who hunts and forages her own food! On a lawn!
Till today, I am still curious and tempted to pick the mushroom to try. But it’s not like it’s morsel or chanterelle or anything. Meh. I’d rather live.
As for the bus driver-forager, I think he was just fired.