Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Mushrooming Peers

N.B. I actually wrote this post in November 2007, but apparently it never actually published.

Yes, it's been a while since I've added anything. It's called working-too-damn-much-at-my-day-job. But something that has developed in recent months is a fascination with mushrooms. That's right, she got married and then got into fungi. For example, I have shiitake and pearl oyster mushrooms growing in my living room. And for the record, my husband has been very supportive in this endeavor (which he should be since I've learned that mushrooms are actually very high in protein and very low in cholesterol so they regularly grace our dinner plates), including driving me around to the hardware store to pick up materials to build a humidity tent, and not minding that I've taken up real estate in our living room to grow fungus.

Turns out my oyster mushrooms are so delicious and so easy to grow that I started thinking, Hmm... maybe I could quit my day job and start a mushroom farm...

So I joined the Colorado Mycological Society. I was positively giddy to think that I could meet people with whom I could go hiking, picnicking, and mushroom picking in the Rocky Mountain forests. On Monday night, I ducked out of the office from 6:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to attend the first CMS meeting of 2008 (the CMS is having its 30th anniversary this year), eager to meet other mycophiles and hoping to learn how to avoid the deadly amanitas and how to spot the golden morel in its natural habitat.

Instead, I learned that people who get this into mushrooms are mostly... how do I put this... you ever wonder what happens to those dorks in junior high who play Dungeons & Dragons? I know a lot of those kids... in fact the kids I know where into AD&D, that is Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. And they sort of come into their own in high school, being heralded as the smart kids (albeit dorky), but they quit playing AD&D, embrace their smartness and go on to become doctors or engineers or sometimes scrap metal artists or Peace Corp Volunteers for life. But you know there were kids who still played AD&D in college and beyond. So, now picture that individual, post-college, still playing AD&D. Now picture that kid being homeschooled before he went to high school. THOSE are the people who attend mushroom meetings. Them and little old ladies and old bearded men who became hippies when they hit 40 (i.e., old enough to know better). Those are my mushrooming peers. And that was not what I wanted to learn at the meeting of the CMS.

This cannot possibly end well.