Wednesday, September 4 2013
location: Tall Pines Cabin, rural Hope Township, Hamilton County, New York
Using leftover bean glurp from yesterday, Gretchen and I both made ourselves wraps of various sorts for lunch. As I created mine, I found myself singing a little made-up ditty to the tune of "Manic Monday" by the Bangles:
Just another Oaxaca Wednesday.
Wish it were Wednesday,
That's my cleanse day.
My "I gotta wear DependsTM day."
Just another Oaxaca Wednesday.
(I realize the first two and last lines are cognitively dissonant, but I was proud of those three lines in the middle.)
The weather had taken a turn for the cooler and drier, but it was still sunny and promised to be a good day for hiking. So after another visit to Wells for a cellphone and email update, we drove up to the parking spot at Pumpkin Hollow and then started hiking the trail to Murphy Lake, which was either three or four miles away depending on what one read. The trail dropped slowly down to leisurely creek, which we crossed on a bridge. Gretchen noted the time as we did so and realized we'd been hiking for a half hour. At some point the trail passed a large open marshland (43.350023N, 74.230413W)
and then began to climb along the side of a steep creekbed towards a saddle between two hills. The climbing was not the sort of thing Gretchen wanted to be doing and she said a number of things that suggested she thought we should turn around and give up on Murphy Lake, that perhaps it was too far away. But I had a feeling that if there was a lake at the end of the trail, it might be on the other side of the saddle we were walking towards. Sure enough, as we reached the top, the trees cleared away and a great expanse opened up. There it was, Lake Murphy. It was over a hundred acres in size and pristine. Nestled as it was between two or three nearby mountain peaks, it was also gorgeous. The creek we'd been following was the means by which Lake Murphy was drained, though beavers had piled sticks and mud at the outlet to raise the level of the lake by a couple feet.
Gretchen was delighted and a bit surprised to find us at a lake at all, let alone one so beautiful. She immediately took off all her clothes except for her shoes and went for a swim. There was a beach, though the shallows near the shore were bottomed by an unpleasant muck comprised of sticks and black organic matter. None of that mattered to Gretchen, who immediately swam out into the depths. But I just waded in up to my waist and stood there. The water was fairly warm, but nevertheless I couldn't bring myself to submerge any deeper.
We were at the Murphy Lake for only about ten minutes, but it was the highlight of Gretchen's day. She she actually claimed to be nostalgic for that moment even before it was over.
And then there was the three-mile walk back to the car. We were dragging our asses by the end there, and it took us more than a half hour to cover the distance from the "half-hour bridge" to the trailhead.
After returning yet again to Wells for yet more communications with civilization, we returned to our cabin and had a "sundowner" of beer. Gretchen had a Heineken Light and I had a Blue Moon Agave Nectar Ale. Neither were our ideal beers, but they were leftovers that others had brought to our recent party. Gretchen has been having her beers with lemon juice in them and referring to the combinations as "shandies." Tonight I added some lemon juice to my agave nectar beer and found the flavor improved. It's possible that all beer tastes better with lemon juice.
Gretchen was so invested in the response to some of her recent communications that this evening she drove off to Wells one more time. Ramona loaded up in the car right away, but Eleanor was a little slow and chased the Subaru for a distance down the driveway as Gretchen drove away.
Meanwhile back at the house, I dolled up a Trader Joe's frozen pizza with fake cheese, fake sausage, real onions, and fake mushrooms, the last three of which I sizzled into crisps.
When Gretchen returned, she had nothing but bad news. She'd learned from our friend Robert that it was unlikely for a letter without a return address to get to a prisoner in the New York State Penal system. She'd heard bad or indifferent news from a bookstore where she'd wanted to gice a reading on her upcoming Kind promotional book tour. Worst of all, our housesitter Onesha had hit a deer with our Honda Civic Hybrid on Route 375 on her drive back from the Garden Café in Woodstock. She'd killed the deer and dented the front of the car but it was "still driveable." Understandably, she was shaken up and embarrassed by the whole thing.
We began watching the movie Reservoir Dogs with our meal of pizza and salad. Later I graduated to a Double IPA called Firestone Double Jack. I didn't like it as much as expected but damn if it wasn't 9.5% alcohol. How can that even be sold in a grocery store in New York State? As for Reservoir Dogs, I found it overly chatty with overly-stylized (retro) dialogue. The problem with retro is that a lot of things that are retro are also so well-worn as to be cliché, something Tarantino didn't seem to be watching out for in this, one of his earliest films. Gretchen found the movie overly "male," whatever that means. In the end it just didn't satisfy, unlike most of Tarantino's other efforts.
After the movie, I smoked the marijuana while Gretchen sat at the computer reconstructing her recent handwritten letter to Jule from memory. It was good in this one case that she's been guarding her memory-forming REM sleep.
I actually felt a little too stoned after I smoked that pot. One of the first things I did after realizing this was to take a massive shit in the toilet. I'd forgotten how good it feels to take a huge shit when I am stoned. As I was wiping my ass, I found myself thinking that if I was really in touch with my body I would be able to predict exactly what the toilet paper would look like after feeling it whipe against my asshole. I tested my prediction capability and it didn't prove that accurate, but I nevertheless felt that it should be possible.
Later I took a bath in the tiny bathtub and had several great stoner thoughts. In thinking about how our minds were just like raucus legislative assemblies trying (and failing) to reach consensus, perhaps the parts of our bodies are really just highly-deformed versions of our faces. Maybe knees are extremely-deformed faces whose noses are comprised all the parts of the leg lower down. Even as stoned as I was, I knew this was biologically irrational, but in the world of fantasy it seemed like a fun and even insightful story to tell, much like Plato's Symposium.
One final idea that occurred to me was that there was a flirt fossilized within an American cliché. When someone is talking to someone else and makes mention of "my old man" or "my old lady," it seemed to me that the agist put-down was a way of dismissing the distant spouse so as to imply there to be something more appealing about present company, particularly when present company happened to be someone the user of this expression would find appealing as aS sexual partner. I later discussed this with Gretchen, and she proceeded to run a few thought experiments in which she imagined referring to me as her "old man" to people of various levels of (for her) sexual attractiveness. In general, these experiments tended to confirm my theory, though (because she is both bisexual and not inherently monogamous), the number of tests she felt the need to run was large.
Let's return, for a moment, to me in that tub. At a certain point I began to think about how Bathtub Girl used to want to supervise my baths so as to ensure I wouldn't masturbate. Gretchen isn't like that at all and doesn't seem to care if I masturbate or not. Still, perhaps my masturbation habits had been unfair to Bathtub Girl. Maybe I'd taken to using bathtime masturbation as a means to punish her in that I wasn't exactly saving all my love for her. Marijuana being the agent of self-reflection that it can be, I started wondering if the bath I was taking at that moment might be interpreted by Gretchen to be some sort of punishment. I had, it should be noted, decided to take that bath after seeing that Gretchen was still working at my computer on her letter to Jule. All these thoughts kept me from wanting to do what I usually do in a bathtub: masturbate. So later, after I got out of the tub, had that conversation in which Gretchen ran the mental experiments, and gone to bed, I got up again and made it clear (in an indirect manner) that I desired a certain marital perk.
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