small talk on low blood sugar
Saturday, August 17 2013
location: northwest coast of Lake Edward, Fulton County, New York
We had one last morning of coffee on the dock before packing up our things and thoroughly cleaning out our cabin. On the drive from Lake Edward, we stopped briefly at Mountain Lake to look at the house she'd been nervous telling us about back on Thursday (for fear that we would go around her and work with the seller directly). It was nicer than all but one of the places we'd seen, but it was still uncomfortably crowded to one side by a neighbor and the view across Mountain Lake is far more suburban than our ideal.
On the drive back to Hurley, we decided against stopping at the Trader Joe's in Albany for one of our massive grocery hauls; we'll be returning to the Adirondacks soon and can postpone it until then.
Back at the house, I spent the day mostly in my laboratory while Gretchen was off doing a shift at the bookstore in Woodstock. Eulayla would be spending one more night with us and she spent the afternoon at the table in the dining room with her numerous digital gadgets arrayed like the command deck of an intergalactic space cruiser, a portable version of my laboratory (indeed, I'd had such a portable version of my own laboratory at the cabin on Lake Edward).
This evening the local free tabloid Chronogram was hosting a "block party" to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their origins. They'd arranged to have Wall Street shut down form Front to John Streets, with a stage for live music set up under the Front Street traffic lights. Gretchen had heard that Aba's Falafel would be there, so she decided we should all go when she got back from Woodstock. Unfortunately, though, Gretchen got home at about 8:30pm, which meant I was famished even before we left.
Sarah the Vegan met us at our house and Gretchen, Eulayla, and I all drove in our car down to Ray and Nancy's place, where we added Nancy to our contingent. (The weight of all that humanity in our car started making the suspension sound a bit like it had after Mavis installed crappy shock absorbers last year.)
The block party was awash with humanity, most of them youngish adults out for some fun on a Friday night. There were also a good number of somewhat older people, some of whom we knew. That made getting to the only destination that mattered (Aba's Falafel stand) a slow and arduous process. First Gretchen had a conversation with our accountant and his wife. And then we ran into Jeff Economy (he works as a cameraman on Dog the Bounty Hunter and other "reality" shows), though at least Jeff joined our contingent, which allowed it to keep moving towards its goal. Somewhere along the line Gretchen got distracted by another food stand selling not-especially-good (but vegan!) tamales. By the time we made it to Aba's stand, they were packing the last of their gear into the van. Not surprisingly, they'd sold out of falafel.
I've mentioned the pain of engaging in small talk while sober. Worse even than that is the ordeal of engaging in small talk and social pitter patter while hungry. While Gretchen went off to chit chat with the now-useless Aba's Falafel people, I went with Nancy and Sarah to a new Greek fast-food place that just opened near the corner of Front and Wall Streets. Though we didn't know how good it would be, at least they had falafel to sell. The air in the Greek place was humid, greasy, and stank of seared lamb muscles, so we mostly waited out in front, where the chief smell was the cologne of thick-necked gentlemen.
Once we had our falafel, we walked a short ways away to some unoccupied tables and occupied them. Unfortunately, the falafel had been dressed with tzatziki (a yoghurt-based white sauce), but I was in no mood to police my veganism. And neither, as it happened, was Sarah the Vegan. The falafel wasn't very good either, though the bread it came in was okay. At some point Gretchen found us and wondered why we hadn't joined her and the others at a table closer to John Street.
After we'd eaten our falafel (Sarah and Nancy also got french fries), we joined the others. We sat there at a table for what seemed like hours. Conversation was mostly about movies I'd never seen, and there was so much noise I couldn't really make out what was being said. Sarah and I spent most of that time people watching (there were a lot of young women who looked to be dressed for prom night, though there were also a lot of small decorative masks intended to lower the entrance admission to a "masquerade" at BSP). Through the crowd, we saw a guy quickly approaching, barely able to contain the tractor force of his speckled Great Dane. It was the size of a Nubian billy goat. Sarah made the following observation: "Whenever I see a guy with a Great Dane, I always think he's trying to say, 'Hey, look at me!'" That's a very Sarah the Vegan observation to make.
Eventually Nancy said something about maybe going to get a drink somewhere and Jeff Economy seconded the motion. Somehow, though Gretchen managed to veto the idea by saying she was feeling too lazy to get up and be imprisoned in Keegan Ales' fenced-in makeshift biergarten (the only place in the block party where alcoholic beverages could legally be consumed; it looked pretty miserable). By the end there I was pretty miserable, and Gretchen started asking me in front of the others if I wanted to go, but I couldn't bring myself to be the party pooper. After all, ours was the only car. Finally it was Eulayla who said she needed to get up early tomorrow, and that was the signal we evidently needed for us all to get up and slowly begin walking back to the car. (We were, however, delayed somewhat by Eulayla unexpectedly running across a long-lost friend, which was a little random considering she has always lived in or near New York City.)
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