Saturday, May 10 2014
I salvaged another super-heavy firewood load from just east of Funky Pond today, and on the way home I found a suitable landing spot on a fallen log that was a bit too rotten to hold its shape under the downward pressure of the loaded backpack. Though it was heavy, the pack probably hadn't weighed much more than 100 pounds, and so it was surprising later today when I noticed that my hip joints (particularly my left hip joint) were now a bit sore. Additionally, my left knee had the feeling about it that suggested it needed to pop (whatever that process is called). Since today's load hadn't been as heavy as one two days ago, and the load yesterday had been heavy but not carried for far, it seems the problems with my joints (such as they were) had developed cumulatively. This suggested to me that I should lighten my loads or not carry them as far for the next few days. I don't know if joints gradually strengthen over time in response to exercise, but salvaging firewood at the rate I've been salvaging isn't worth permanent damage to my body.
This evening, Gretchen gave two poetry readings. Some friends and I all showed up for the second one at the Unitarian Church on Sawkill Road. I carpooled with Nancy from her place and, knowing there would be open mic readers, brought a travel mug containing an alcoholic beverage. Gretchen had told us to show up late, so we did, though a little before the other friends she'd invited and during the reading of the other featured (non-open-mic) poet. This guy had that poet-ready affect, the one where the pitch goes up dramatically at the end of every line. I hate that shit, though I hated the technology puns in his concluding poem even more. (Never use "byte" in place of "bite" if you don't want me rolling my eyes.) During the open mic poetry (which was surprisingly good), I snuck out to piss behind a tree between the Unitarian mansion and the New York Thruway (a discomfortingly-narrow zone). It was as I was coming back from my urination that all of Gretchen's other friends arrived. As always, her reading was amazing, and this time she left me with a tear in my left eye with "Phoebe Fledges" (which is poem she wrote secondhand from a story I told her).
After the reading, the people in charge (older women who had precisely the middle-school science teacher look you'd expect of a Unitarian) told those of us who had come in late to go out into the hall to be reprocessed (so that the $5 each could be harvested), a request I ignored because, well, it seemed like the sort of thing that could be ignored at a Unitarian church. It's hard to take Unitarians seriously; they mean well, but they don't believe anything you can put your finger on. Every time I referred to them today, I used the term "Unitard," which actually means a one-piece form-fitting garment that covers most of a human body. That said, one can't really complain about Unitarians; if they have a failing it's "caring too much."
Somehow I ended up in a conversation with a new couple who are Gretchen's newest friends. We'll be doing dinner at their house soon, but in the meantime we were talking about things like how hot peppers fool the mammalian neural pathways into thinking there is heat when there isn't. And how mint fools other pathways into thinking there is cold when there isn't. And, I wondered, is there any food that has both hot pepper and mint, fooling you into thinking you are both hot and cold at the same time?
That couple seemed fun, but they had to go, and so they didn't join the rest of us at the Stockade Tavern in Uptown when we took over the oval-shaped table in a corner booth. The Stockade has great cocktails, the kind that make you think you've parachuted into the 1920s. There beer selection is hit-or-miss, and the options today were such that I ordered a bottle of Sierra Nevada Torpedo (always a good choice when the IPAs on tap are suspect). The Stockade's meagre food choices seem to cater mostly to those on an Atkins diet, though they did have hot pretzels, pita with baba ganoush, and assortments of pickles. Most of my conversation was with Dawn, the lighting designer from Eva & Sandor's dinner party. She recently took possession of a bunch of pieces of a hollow log and was planning to make them into some sort of lighting fixture. I told her that I've had a similar hollow log for years that I keep meaning to make into a sleeping place for cats.
Gretchen had been paid $30 by the Unitarians for reading her poetry, so she insisted on paying the tab for our drinking and light eating at the Stockade (which came to $80). After that, we slowly wandered Uptown, looking into the windows of mostly-closed shops and half-heartedly searching for french fries. At some point we realized it was 11:00pm and decided to disband for the night. I'm not a big hugger, so I killed two birds with one stone by hugging both Sarah the Vegan and Nancy simultaneously.
When Gretchen and I got home, we realized we'd forgotten to pick up my car at Ray and Nancy's place. Oh well, I'd get it tomorrow.
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