The resident trolls, Sven and Brigit, have escaped their cave and are out on the town. In their case, said cave is a cracked, clear plastic box tucked in with decorations. I’m surprised they haven’t insisted on a fur lining for their annual hibernation rather than the cheap tissues they have to contend with. They come out every Christmas season donned in tiny Santa suits which they think are adorable and should be admired by all and get quite annoyed if they go unnoticed. Trolls are neither modest nor shy. Their troll-ish hair is usually a mess but they like it the way so I’ve learned not to criticize and, for heaven’s sakes, not to try to fix it.
The other day they were quite agog when I suggested that they come along for a trip to the art gallery. I made the mistake of suggesting that a little culture might not hurt them. This resulted in a fifteen minute harangue in Trollish language about lineages and historical significance and the ignorance of foreigners, especially Americans. I almost left them home but didn’t want Rose, the cat, bothered by the little imps. So off we went with the two of them dangling from my earlobes and singing raunchy Christmas carols.
They were moderately well-behaved on the subway, but once they realized I was turned around and a wee bit confused, they nudged me toward a bored-looking, young guy with a red “Information Here” bib on, he started to give me his regular
spiel, “Due to construction blah blah blah,” then he saw the dynamic duo doing the
cha-cha-cha from my earlobes. There was no getting by it, I had to ask him to take their pictures. I have to say, he seemed a little star struck which only encouraged the two of them to roll into a rumba, followed by a tango and ending in a Viennese waltz. My head was spinning not to mention my earlobes.
Needless, to say, the information guy was very, very impressed and gave them a round of applause followed by, “They’re the best thing I’ve seen all morning.” To which, Brigit in her sauciest, Mae-Westish voice said, “Honey, we’re the best thing you’ve seen all year.”
It was time to move on to the art gallery. I thought of giving them a few art-gallery rules before entering like do not talk too loudly, do not use profanities and, please, do not criticize what other people were wearing but it was useless. Brigit and Sven do as they like when they like and that’s the truth. We headed for the Early Ruebens exhibit on the second floor. They chattered chattered chattered to the ticket guy until he agreed to take their picture. He was much more subdued and serious about his admiration than the info guy at the subway so they were not going to give him the whole show. And they were not impressed by his photo since I seem to be the centre attraction. And, as anyone knows, trolls do not take the second place to anyone. It was going to be a dark, rocky walk through Ruebens.
They were much more impressed than I with the exhibit. Maybe the darkness of the rooms and the paintings reminded them of their home cave. Who knows? They particularly liked the severed head of Medusa with the snakes still wiggling around while her very dead face looked on. They tried to sweet talk the young, female guard to take their picture with the painting but she pointed out the camera with a slash through it and said, “Sorry, guys, no pictures.” Nothing would convince her otherwise. They decided it was time to leave Ruebens and see something else.
They suggested a trip to the top floor to see the Hito Steyerl exhibit. I knew nothing about this artist so said why not. They insisted on being de-lobed so they could feel like they were part of the exhibit noting that it was better down below so they could get the vibes from the video monitors flashing robotic scenes of our future.
They sat on top of huge blocks spelling out HellYeahWeF–KDie to discuss the meaning of this art and life itself. They knew it was useless to ask me. However, they did mention my rule about art galleries and profanities….
I had enough. I needed food. So we travelled to the basement where the less expensive cafe was now remodelled and a slightly more expensive cafe. I ordered a Reubens in honour of seeing the Ruebens. Sven thought that was a particularly cheesy thing to do. Brigit held her tongue since her sugar levels, like mine were getting a little shaky and we just needed food of whatever name or shape. There was no troll food on the menu so they had to do with bites of my reuben and salad. I said they were on their own and would have to figure out how to scale the sandwich to get to the salad. Was that mean of me? Sure but you try carrying around trolls in your ears all day and then tell me I’m being mean. Sven and Brigit were feeling a little unloved.
But troll love was just around the corner. On the way home, I stopped at Kensington Market to get some meat at my favourite butcher. It was crowded but a young, holly-decorated woman came from around the counter when she was the trolls. She gushed, she cajoled, she asked if she could touch them (they giggled) and then she helped me like I was the only person in the store. I thanked the two of them as we headed for the subway and home.
Even trolls, like this human, can just get too pooped to participate after a while, so it was time for a nap. As I tucked them in, I heard them exclaim: