big truck to Hudson
Saturday, January 14 2012
This afternoon Gretchen had plans to go up to Hudson with Deborah to see a documentary one of our other friends had made about being White (that is, being a member of the socially-defined majority race in America). I was going to skip out on the experience, but then came news that Paul and Ingrid (the couple with the church where we rang in the new year) would be going, and Paul had specifically requested that I come along. So I went with Gretchen when she drove to the parking area near the interchange between Route 199 and Route 32 (a place our friends refer to as "the Blow Job Spot"). There we found Deborah, Paul, and Ingrid waiting for us in Paul's enormous late-model American-built pickup truck. It was so big that the top of its hood was only inches below the level of my chin, and it had a roomy backseat in addition to a generous truck bed. It also came equipped with just about every possible bonus feature, including heated rear seats and a blue-tooth-equipped navigation console. I'd seen such trucks out in the wild, but I didn't think I actually knew anyone with one. And hell, they might make sense if you own a ranch of do heavy construction (the latter of which Paul might be said to occasionally do).
Paul is rather different from the rest of us; he doesn't even fake a love for dogs, and today even tried to dismiss my love for dogs by saying I'm only faking it to please my wife. He also doesn't have much patience for veganism, although he himself is observing an extremely restrictive diet in hopes of controlling migraine headaches. Paul always seems a bit unsettled and searching for something new, whether it be knowledge or a new place to live. Having fixed up his church, he seems a little bored by it, and by the Rondout itself. On our way to Hudson, he kept making noises about perhaps moving there some day. "Don't move to this side of the river!" Gretchen would protest, adding, "It's snooty!" (You remember my theory: west of the Hudson is the Midwest and east is New England.) In the end, though, it proved easy to nip this fantasy in the bud with a reality check: a couple blocks either side of Warren Street, Hudson turns into the kind of ghetto that makes the Rondout look like Rhinebeck.
The movie would be shown at Time and Space Limited (TSL), a venue I'd never been in before. As we entered, the place smelled exactly like third grade. I don't know what it was.
There's a large café area in TSL where one can get coffee and popcorn. And then there is the movie theatre, which has a crude industrial feel, with an overhead grid of strapped-together pipes supporting an improvised lighting system.
As for the movie, it was more of a memoir than I'm used to seeing a movie being. It's hard to have the requisite distance when your subjects include your father (who was the only white professor at Howard University and, following some unpleasant incidents on campus, went through a reactive phase that could be viewed as racist) and your kids (adopted mixed-race daughters). Still, the movie was compelling enough to keep me interested all the way to the end.
After the movie, a group of us all hurried through the arctic chill to our respective vehicles and headed for Baba Louie's, Hudson's famous pizzeria. We ordered mostly vegan pizza and salad, and Paul and I both got the eggplant and mushroom soup. The soup was surprisingly meh, though the pizza was pretty good. (I'm still not sold on vegan cheese, which, in tonight's incarnation at least, was a bit too runny at the temperature of hot pizza.)
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