biohazard in the Hannaford
Wednesday, February 13 2013
Our friends Jenny and Doug (who run the animal sanctuary in Willow) would be coming over this evening, so Gretchen spent most of the day preparing various things in the kitchen. I went around and vaccuumed most of the first floor, which I'd allowed to reach a surprisingly grimy state. There were particles everywhere, most of them either related to firewood or to cat litter.
Later I drove into Uptown Kingston, mostly to get some last-minute items for Gretchen's food preparation jihad. I also needed a 1.5 inch PVC threaded cap to complete the incapsulation of the new capacitance probe fuel meter in the household fuel oil tank. It turns out, though, that Herzog's has a rather limited selection of PVC fittings. I bought a number anyway, thinking I could piece together something equivalent, but it turned out that there was no actual equivalent to what I needed at Herzog's. There was, however, a good dust pan to replace the cracked and handle-less one I'd been using for years. I also got a couple rawhide bones for the dogs, but only Ramona had any interest in them.
The Uptown Hannford, as I've written before, is often a freakshow. Various people with grotesque deformities or developmental abnormalities can often be seen shopping there. Perhaps the reason is the municipal bus stop out in front, or the proximity of run-down Kingston neighborhoods. In any case, my experience there this afternoon started out with a glimpse of an elderly woman whose face was so covered with lesions that I had to look away. Then I started seeing lesions on everybody's forehead and, after momentarily wondering if Smallpox had perhaps escaped from a laboratory, I realized it was Ash Wednesday. Evidently there are a lot of Catholics who shop at the Uptown Hannaford. Still, it's a creepy thing to see in that context. And that elderly woman still had a face so riddled with lesions that she resembled a reanimated corpse (and she may have also had an ashen cross drawn on her forehead). While I was processing these things and making my way to the Hannaford bakery (which sells a pretty damn good bagel), an announcement came over the PA system: "Could anyone with any medical experience please go to aisle thirteen." Ah yes, a terrible confluence of thirteens had taken place in aisle thirteen on this the thirteenth day of February in 2013. I couldn't help rubbernecking on my way to and from the bagels, and from what I could see, a customer had collapsed and then proceeded to spew something that needed to be mopped up and put into plastic buckets labeled "BIOHAZARD." Happily for future Hannaford shoppers, this all took place in front of a display of magazines and not, say, in front of a pyramid of apples. The local rescue squad had already arrived by the time I took my place in a line at checkout, and the last I saw of them they were bringing in a stretcher. I should mention that Hannaford is an equal-opportunity employer; the cheerful woman who bagged my groceries appeared to be afflicted by Down's Syndrome. Was she rocking that extra chromosome or what?
Jenny and Doug arrived at around 7:30pm. They brought two of their dogs: Carlee and a new dog named Sophie. Even before they got in the door, there was some sort of altercation between Sophie and Ramona, causing Doug to lose his hold on a bag he'd brought containing four beers and a bottle of wine. The beers all survived, but the wine bottle shattered and the wine soaked away into the ground sand between the flagstones.
Tensions among the canines quickly dissipated and we all hung out by the fire, drinking wine from our wine rack. Sophie is a little 28 pound dog from Puerto Rico. She's got medium-length white fur with a sprinkling of light-brown polka-dots. Nobody is sure about her history, but she was found with a nearly-dead puppy (her offspring) and a huge vaginal tumor, she has a bullet permanently-lodged in her spine, and she's missing one of her hind feet. While all the money spent to excise that tumor, cure her heartworms, and fly her here from Puerto Rico could have funded a Puerto Rican spay/neuter clinic for a couple months, she's awfully cute.
Dinner started inauspiciously with a carrot-onion puree soup that even Gretchen was apologetic for. I thought it was good for what it was, but I'm neither a fan of cooked carrots nor of soups that are served cold, so I can't say I was in any position to judge. The main course was large sea-shell-shaped pasta noodles stuffed with vegan cheese with a side of broccoli rabe. Now that was some good eaten.' To give you a sense of the kind of friends that Jenny and Doug are, at some point early in our during dinner I told them story of the time I had to hold back explosive diarrhea when I was riding in a cab from Montepulciano, Italy.
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