The Barbecue Fairy

Let’s mark another summer of people-watching in Chateau Colombier – and elsewhere – with a slightly tongue-in-cheek meta-psychological blog.

This blog also marks my trademarking all rights to the concept of “The Barbecue Fairy” in the hope that this will make me enough money that the consequences of the seemingly deep-rooted belief in the existence of the BBQ Fairy will therefore no longer concern me. But in the meantime … let’s philosophise a little.

Who is the BBQ Fairy? What does she do? How is the belief in her existence manifested? Is this belief a symptom of deep psychological pathological flaws – or merely a self-serving delusion that is a fundamental building block of the human existence?

What is the relationship between the BBQ Fairy and other constructs such as the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas. We’ll leave God out of it. But we’ll allow myths, legends and archetypes.

Here we have to acknowledge that the world divides into three: those who believe absolutely in the existence of the BBQ fairy – and their total life experience confirms her transcendental presence. Then there are those who have ceased on a conscious level to believe in her – but continue to act as if she exists. And lo and behold – with uncanny regularity her actions manifest themselves in their lives.

And what of the third category? The non-believers. What of them? Where do we find them? What is their role in this universal phenomenum? Well, perhaps they hold onto the greatest delusion of all. They believe that they are the BBQ fairy; and that the world will fall apart without their behind-the-scenes “it’s easier to do it myself” energy.

Once upon a time … or more than once on any summer evening … you can happen across that archetypal summer activity: the BBQ. “Let’s have a BBQ. That’s easy. We’ll just throw a few sausages on the fire. No bother. We’ll crack open a few beers or sample the local vino – and that’ll be great.” Quick – make sure that the BBQ fairy is listening. She won’t be wearing the risque apron, the chef’s hat, or brandishing the BBQ fork… but without her magic, it’ll just be another long night of hanging around waiting for carbonated dead animals, with the risk of slowly simmered salmonella carrying the party through your guts through the night into the cold light of porcelain dawn.

Yes, it’s the BBQ fairy who makes sure there is charcoal and matches, prepares the salads and the desserts, makes sure the kids are fed and entertained, pre-cooks the chicken drumsticks in the oven … She might even take the pictures of everyone having a good time.

And it’s the BBQ fairy who cleans up afterwards. Because contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a self-cleaning BBQ rack. Just the BBQ fairy.

But what happens when the BBQ fairy decides she’s had enough – and it’s time for the “reveal” – to show to others that their belief in the BBQ fairy is just a self-serving delusion.

Let’s take a short detour into the challenges of managing delusions, beliefs and projections. Is the BBQ fairy revealing her role just so that she can pass over the responsibility to someone else, so that they now have to become the BBQ fairy? Or is it so that everyone will step up to take on collective responsibility for ensuring an equitable division of responsibility, recognition, and respect?

Confession time: I have to put my hand up and admit that, from time to time, I suffer from the mega-delusion of acting like the BBQ fairy, but not wanting to be trapped by that role. So I believe my role is to educate others into confronting their delusions.
So life decided to set me an anthropological test this summer. I had plenty of helpers and students and interns around. Clear roles and defined responsibilities, I thought. I cooked BBQ sausages as a meal – low key, no desserts, no salads, no kids, minimal beer and vino. And I put the BBQ racks in one of the kitchen sinks.

Two days later the racks were still there, still dirty. And I revealed the delusion of the self-serving belief in the BBQ fairy. And thus the phrase was made manifest – THERE IS NO BARBECUE FAIRY.

Unless of course you are a guest at Chateau Colombier. And then her energies, her care and her attention to detail are the values, the warmth and the wisdom that we hope transcend the day-to-day to give you the welcome and the experience you deserve.

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