my Nazi brethren
Saturday, June 4 2011
It's yard saling season again and[REDACTED] today I would be saling with Ray and Nancy. I met them at their house and we went directly to a big yard sale held at the Elk's Lodge on Hurley Avenue in Kingston. The sale was being held for the benefit of the Boy Scouts, a rationalist-intolerant paramilitary organization I generally do not support. It was conveniently close enough to a branch of my bank (The Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union), so I went off to transact some weekend business (and also get a complimentary cup of coffee from one of those robotic brewing machines that accepts a cartridge of whatever flavor you prefer). Speaking of robots, the most intriguing thing at the Boy Scouts yard sale was a remote-controlled robotic insect called a Tyco N.S.E.C.T. I couldn't not buy it, though then I wondered how I would get it past Gretchen into the house. (It's precisely the sort of thing she's worried I will buy when I'm off yard saling, though she does appreciate the alone time.)
We stopped at another yard sale along Hurley Avenue, where I bought four books from a Time-Life series entitled Weather, Mathematics, Machines, and Big Molecules. They were all published in the 1960s, so I expected to be entertained by the technologies they described. I'd had a number of books in the Time-Life series when I was a kid, but they were all focused on the life sciences (with titles such as Early Man, Mammals, The Forest, The Poles, South America, Australia, and Evolution). Most of the other things at the yardsale were jarringly garish, although there was a good collection of glass tools, so I bought a pair of glass cutters.
Further out in Kingston, near its beautiful Albany Avenue neighborhood, Nancy bought a pair of cross-country skis with boots for $50.
We ventured as far as the Salvation Army (a frequent stop on Ray's shopping outings), though there was nothing to be had in that phenomenally dreary place.
Eventually we ended up at the Kingston Farmer's market on the streets of Uptown (some of which had been temporarily shut down for the purpose). At this point in our outing I was mostly interested in street food, so I ended up eating a tamale thinking I was ordering black bean chili. It didn't turn out to be be vegan, but it was good.
Somewhere in all of this, Ray was telling us about his new job on weekdays down in the City, which involves working on a loading dock and riding around in delivery vehicles. Some of his new colleagues are African American, and he finds himself having to hold his tongue and not return their customary greeting of "What up, nigga?" (which they use amongst each other and with him). Ray is Filipino, so surely, I thought, there must be racial epithets that he could use that his new colleagues cannot. Perhaps, I said, he should reply "What up, chink?" ("chink" being a generic offensive term for all East Asians.) I wondered if there were any specifically-Filipino insults, and Ray volunteered "flip," though he said nobody found it particularly offensive anymore. If anything, it's just sort of dated, weak, and stupid, like "honky." Thinking of these things, I bemoaned the absence of a good racial epithet for my heritage (well, for the part of it, at least, that gave me my last name). The best anti-German insult I could come up with was "nazi." I said that if I were working with Ray on his loading dock, I would refer to our African American colleagues is "My nazi brethren." And of course, being the only one there of detectable German ancestry, I could casually toss it around with the confidence that nobody would use it on me. Ray thought this was delightful and had a good chuckle. At some point later in our outing, he was musing out loud about our earlier conversation and gleefully uttered the phrase, "My nazi brother," to which I indignantly retorted, "Hey! You're not supposed to be able to say that!"
This evening, Ray had to work, but Nancy was free, so Gretchen and I picked her up down in Old Hurley and went to the monthly opening at KMOCA (the gallery in the Rondout run by our friend Deborah). We also brought our dogs.
The art today was expensive and (aside from the photography) abstract, and after glancing at it momentarily, it was time to socialize. That's the main reason we go (though we occasionally buy things). I'd brought three Nectar IPAs in case Michæl was there (he, Deborah, and I share an interest in IPAs), but it was looking like I was going to have to drink them by myself because Michæl wasn't there and Deborah had to study (she's working on an online Master's degree). Somehow Nancy and I found ourselves talking to a wacky gentleman named Steve Ladin, who is running for Mayor of Kingston as an independent (actually, on the card he hands out, he claims to be a member of the "Red Dog Party," named after a delightful companion animal he had with him tonight). It was off-putting to see that the first line of Ladin's card claimed him to be a "fiscal conservative" (which, at least these days, is often code language for "screw the poor" or sometimes even "fuck the niggers and their bastard criminally-inclined offspring"), though (somewhat surprisingly) Ladin ended up being a somewhat engaging mix of extroverted and bizarre. He's also an active artist, which counts in his favor. Ladin showed us some of his paintings from a tiny portfolio, asking if we could handle his more extreme work. We were pretty sure we could. So he showed us a florid painting of a mature fœtus in a cutaway view of a womb. Hmm, okay, though I was a little disappointed it wasn't a werewolf buttfucking a prepubescent zombie in front of a blasé Walmart greeter. At the very least, Steve Ladin was the person with whom I could finally share my Nectar IPAs, though he didn't seem to be as fanatical about IPAs as the people with whom I had hoped to share them. [One thing that occurred to me later about Steve Ladin: he's probably thankful his parents didn't name him Benjamin.]
For dinner, Nancy, Gretchen, and I all went to Kyoto (an Uptown Kingston Japanese restaurant that is actually operated by Chinese people). Both Nancy and I ordered the tofu teriyaki, which came out in huge portions but was a bit of a chore to eat my way through. It could have benefited from smaller slabs of tofu, more vegetables, and less sweetness in that sticky brown sauce. At least the slimy onions were good.
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