what sort of trouble the dogs
Wednesday, August 27 2014
During business hours yet again today, there was the constant rrr-clump-rrr-clump of well drilling from the rig set up across the street at the Fussies. My Lightroom-Webapp client came over for a meeting early this afternoon and he wondered if the sound was driving me crazy. I said that I was used to it now, that it sounded like the ocean, albeit a mechanical robotic one.
At some point this afternoon, Gretchen went across the street to talk to the operator of the drilling rig. She found him sitting on a lawn chair, rolling his own cigarette from a tupperware full of loose tobacco with a well-thumbed novel nearby. Well drilling evidently involves a lot of sitting around and waiting while machines do the work. Gretchen asked how much longer the drilling would go on for, and the drilling guy said that he was now down 180 feet and that he expected to need to go down to 250. I'd thought (based on the length of the drilling pipes and the number of times I'd heard the sound of what I thought was another being added) that he was making progress at 100 feet per day, but he told Gretchen that he only makes about 20 feet of progress per day. The 250 foot figure was based on a replacement well he'd drilled eight years ago for the house immediately west of the Fussies. Gretchen didn't ask why these houses are requiring replacement wells, but it might have something to do with overuse, which is probably not going to be a problem with our well. It was definitely a problem for our neighbor Andrea (the third house north of the Fussies) who uses her well to irrigate the lush gardens around her house.
Early this evening, I was down in the greenhouse jackhammering away when I startled at something unexpectedly touching me. It was Gretchen's foot. She'd come down to tell me that now it was time for us to drive to Woodstock and partake of the Aba's Falafel at the Wednesday Farm Festival. Gretchen had arranged for a bunch of people to meet us there, so she decided to bring not only blankets for us to sit on, but also a cocktail made from a bottle of wine, sour cherry juice, and an unknown amount triple sec. [REDACTED]
Nancy and Sarah the Vegan were there, as were Mark and Maresa and L, the woman who runs a popular vegan bakery down in New Paltz. She was there with a three stylish youngish metrosexuals, one of whom is her boyfriend. It was hard to have a conversation with any of these people, because I kept having to keep an eye out for what sort of trouble the dogs were getting into. They'd run up to meet dogs as they passed, and in one case the dog in question was a Husky who didn't like other dogs. I managed to get Ramona away from him, but them Eleanor ran up and a brief fight erupted. "Sorry, that was our fault!" Gretchen apologized. "That's right!" the dickish Husky owner replied. No wonder his dog doesn't play well with others.
Another time, the dogs wandered to the south edge of the park, and into a building that didn't appear to have any closable doors. I managed to get them back before they found the terrified calico cat cowering on a ledge by a window.
Towards the end of the festival, after the mosquitoes came out, the folksy band had packed up and left, and as the food stands were being disassembled, Ramona and Eleanor wandered over to the picnic table part of the park and salvaged scraps from the ground. There wasn't much trouble they could get into at this point, so I walked over leisurely to retrieve them. A young African American girl took a strong interest in the dogs and told me they were pretty, and later she and her little sister (who might have only been three years old) came over and joined our entourage so they could pet the dogs some more. Gretchen immediately recognized the girls as the adopted daughters of her friends J&L. J is a white guy who made a documentary on the subject of whiteness that I remember thinking contained perhaps too much content about his (then only) African American daughter. She's much older now and seems like a bright kid, but Gretchen was curious: where were her parents? Eventually her father (J) joined us, walking with his good friend, the famous jazz musician Don B. I happened to be wearing my Obama 2008 Moveon.org teeshirt, and Don B. expressed surprise that I was still on the Obama bandwagon enough to be wearing the teeshirt. "Well, we got our Obamacare, and we're happy with that, so he's alright." Don B. then mentioned a hilariously sad quote he'd read from Cornel West about Obama, "It's like you're looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G." Ouch! It was as if that metaphor was specifically designed for Don B. I asked Don what he thought of Kenny G, and he demurred, but only a bit, saying, "I wouldn't say he's the best musician working in that style of jazz."
After our party broke up, Gretchen had Mark and Maresa join us at the Woodstock Lodge, a fun, cozy, and beautiful bar that we often forget to consider as an option. While the others got nonalcoholic drinks, I ordered a Jack Daniels on the rocks (the beer options didn't appeal to me). Days that I meet with my Lightroom-Webapp client feel like Fridays, and so I was in a mood to drink. Our conversation was shaped to some extent by the loud classic rock playing from the jukebox. It kept playing "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey, which led us to talk about karaoke, which led Mark to tell a story about karaoke at a scary bar in Napanoch, which led Gretchen to tell about the gradual end of her employment in the Bard Prison Initiative (she was site coordinator for Eastern Correctional Facility in Napanoch). Another topic of discussion was acting crazy as a way to intimidate annoying strangers or as a survival strategy in scary urban areas. I told the two stories where I'd resorted to "the Monkey Dance" to drive off first the father of some boyscouts and then a couple of guys complaining about my off-leash dogs. Then Gretchen told of someone "rollin' coal" on her on Route 375 and how she responded by following the asshole down the road for a couple miles while unrelentingly blowing her horn. Finally, Mark told us about some guy he knew who figured out that the safest way to walk through his neighborhood at night was to take off one of his shoes and talk into it as if it were a telephone.
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