you don't have tapeworms
Saturday, October 21 2006
Late this afternoon Gretchen and I went to a playhouse in nearby Olive Bridge to see a series of short plays entitled "Shorts on a Plane." (There was a line drawing of an airplane wearing boxer shorts on the program.) The playhouse was a tidy building with a central aisle and a single iron column holding up its wide ceiling. Both the walls and ceiling were planked over in thin tongue-and-groove boards that looked as if they'd been dipped in honey. The place must have once been a church, since nobody had any other use for a building like this back in simpler, more God-fearing times.
The people gathered tonight were mostly in the grey stage of middle age. With a crowd like this it came as little surprise that the parking lot was unusually rich in Prius hybrids and sun-faded Kerry-Edwards bumper stickers.
As one might expect for an event in such a backwater, the plays and performances were not exactly the sort for which people win awards. The plots tended to ramble and go on for too long, and all the actors read from scripts in their hands, occasionally stumbling on words. The best performances tended to be from child actors, perhaps because they had more incentive to prove themselves than adult actors who had other opportunities to shine.
Gretchen had been made aware of this event by her friend Susan R!chards and had gone on to invite our friends Penny and David. The latter two showed up, though Susan was strangely AWOL.
After the last reading, Gretchen, Penny, David, and I arranged to drive over to the Spillway House, the only restaurant in the area aside from the overpriced/undervegetarian Country Inn. Our book of local maps was missing a crucial page and it fell on me to be the navigator for our convoy. Unfortunately, though, I was working under the assumption that Spillway Road started and stopped on 28A at both ends, which it does not. We ended up driving the entire length of Spillway past a darkened Spillway House without even realizing it. The place had evidently gone out of business, only having operated a couple years. (The website says "We are temporarily closed while we look to relocate. Check this site for any updates.")
At the intersection of Ashokan and Spillway Road we all got out of our cars, looked at maps, and pow-wowed about what to do. Gretchen was in a poisonous mood, partly because she felt I'd been a poor navigator and partly from low blood sugar. Neither of us had eaten anything. We eventually decided to drive back to our house for wine and snacks in front of the fire.
On the endlessly-winding Lapla Road, Gretchen actually said at one point, "I wish we were in Manhattan right now!" What she meant was that she lived in a place where you can come out of a play and go right across the street for a nice sit-down dinner. But no, here we were in the middle of the forest, driving, driving, driving.
The mood was nothing that couldn't be lifted by a couple bottles of wine, in this case $5.99 bottles of the completely-adequate Yellow Tail, in this case the Cabernet followed by the Merlot. Our conversation touched on such matters as what can happen 24 hours later in a bathroom after eating expensive stringlike Japanese mushrooms. No, you don't have tapeworms; you just need to chew your food better!
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