Nu Metal in the park
Saturday, April 30 2005
Gretchen headed into the City today, and since we still had a guest (soon to be guests) staying in our house, this would be the first time that it would fall on me to entertain them single-handedly. I'm not the most experienced host in the world; what little I know about graciousness and being-the-host-with-the-most I learned by example in the last six or seven years. But it's rare that I have to put it into practice all by myself.
For the past few days the weather had been relatively good for outdoor work, but today it was cool and rainy, ideal conditions for harvesting bluestone from the nearby municipal park. So, while Ray was watching a Kung Fu movie down in the basement, I took Sally and Eleanor to the park. For some reason I forgot to take the hand truck, so I was forced to carry the pieces I found.
I figured I could spend a good several hours collecting bluestone in these conditions. I'd just stack all the pieces up in the woods near my truck and then quickly load them from there just before leaving. That way if any busybody showed up while I was three quarters done, there'd be no evidence that I was doing anything the least bit suspicious.
Everything was going fine and I was getting some nice pieces when a car pulled into the park parking lot and just sat there with its engine idling, as if waiting for someone else. I thought maybe it was someone wishing to complete a cellphone conversation before proceeding into the great Hurley dead zone, but if that was the case the conversation was a long one. I walked all the way into the quasi-forbidden back areas where the Town of Hurley stores mountains of autumn leaves and nice pieces of top-grade sawn sidewalk bluestone and when I came back the car was still there. So I went the other way, entering a half-acre section of the park that looked to have recently experienced a planned forest fire. I noticed that the trails in this area had all been demarcated with sticks on either side, as if someone had gotten the idea from walking in the woods behind my house.
When I returned to a place where I could see the parking lot again, that damn car was still there. He was really cramping my style. I couldn't gather any more bluestone without there being a witness and I couldn't load what I'd already gathered into my truck without the witness problem either.
But then I heard this incredibly loud Nu Metal blaring from off in the distance somewhere. At first I thought it might be eminating from some other car coming down Dug Hill Road. But when there were no cars in evidence, it was clear its source was the parked car, the stick in my craw. Now I could see that it was an old vehicle with a splotchy paint job, yet evidently no expense had been spared on its stereo system (or, as Aaron Tippin would say, "They ain't nothin' wrong with the radio.") "JUUUUG-JugJugJugJugJug-JUUUUG" went the crunchy guitars of the Nu Metal, as a haughty hyper-masculine voice boasted something misogynistic (but not quite discernible) over the expensively-produced din.
Anybody sad enough to pull into a public park to crank up his car stereo probably wouldn't be much of a threat, particularly given the fact that he would probably also be firing up a spliff at the same time. So I walked to my truck, drove it over to the part of the woods where my bluestone pieces were stashed, and quickly loaded my truck. As I rolled out of the park, I saw that the pathetic Nu Metal fan (who was all by himself) was watching me closely. But I was pretty sure it wasn't to take note of my license plate.
When I got back to the house, Ray was gone and it was raining pretty steadily. But this didn't keep me from continuing my work on "the project." I played a game of bluestone Tetris for several hours, but it was frustrating because there were all sorts of sizes I needed but didn't have. I'm going to have to get more bluestone, the kind that I'm comfortable breaking into necessary shapes.
For dinner I was picked up by Ray (now joined by Nancy) and Lin and Mark, all of them coming from the housesit in Lake Hill. We all went into Kingston for dinner at everybody's favorite dinner destination: La Pupuseria on Broadway. One of our number had fired up a joint in the rain just before we set out, and so I was uncomfortably stoned by the time we got there. I don't usually enjoy smoking pot socially, and tonight it seemed to be making me particularly miserable. For awhile I was sitting there with the others in the Pupuseria dining room (which the management always keep just a little too cold) trembling like I sometimes do under the influence of THC. I even found myself wondering if I'd have any appetite when the food came out. For people who smoke pot all the time, it can be reliably counted upon to boost appetite. For me, though, I smoke it so infrequently that more often than not it actually makes me slightly nauseated.
Later, though, as I came down I developed a good appetite and I found I was actually functioning better socially than I have been lately while sober. My conversation was more fluid and I didn't find myself spending half my mental energy performing a real time critique of my conversational performance, a behavior that greatly handicaps my social skill. So perhaps the pot actually ended up performing a valuable service: making me less obsessed with perceived failures of my conversational capabilities.
Back at my house, those of us who weren't pregnant continued drinking. I built a fire and served as DJ, compensating for all the wailing black women Gretchen likes to play when entertaining guests. Instead I played recent and not-so-recent musical discoveries (the Raveonettes, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, the Decemberists, Say Hi to Your Mom, the Boxer Rebellion) as well as a smattering of classics ("Godzilla," "Video Killed the Radio Star," "Cowgirl in the Sand," "Burning for You," and several covers of "Don't Fear the Reaper"). With this set of guests, the most popular version of "Don't Fear the Reaper" was the dance mix version by Apollo 440.
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