Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
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got that wrong

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Like my brownhouse:
   White Castle in Queens
Friday, June 22 2018

location: Room 2342, The Reef Coco Beach, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Today was the day we'd be returning to the United States. A couple weeks ago, the plan was that I would fly directly from Cancun to Petaluma to participate in some sort of management training session paid for by The Organization. But I'd been fired from The Organization the day before leaving for Mexico, so there was no flying to Petaluma today. Fortunately, the flight back to JFK still existed. Indeed, Gretchen was able to cancel the flight to Petaluma and get credit for it while The Organization also refunded the price of the ticket, meaning we got double reimbursed. Compared to actual severance, that's pretty weak sauce, but we'll take those assholes for all we can.
This morning, we ate a leisurely breakfast in the buffet restaurant. An important staple of such breakfasts of late had been the hashbrowns, to which I'd add jalapeños and perhaps tomato. But there were no hashbrowns this morning. But Gretchen managed to get the woman making the cheese-and-meat sopes (a thick, small-diameter open-face tortillas) to just make us some plain ones. With some refried beans and jalapeños, that was pretty good eating.
Down at the front of the resort, we loaded out stuff into a van and then rode together to the Cancun airport. Our outgoing flights weren't as tightly-coordinated as our incoming ones had been, but things were such that we all went through airport security at the same time. This was fortunate, since, when our passports were returned to us, Gretchen and I had received her brother's passport and he and his wife had received mine!
We waited for some time together in an airport food court. Periodically people would go get things to eat and bring them back, though I never left. I had working WiFi and I was still obsessively sending out resumes. Eventually Gretchen brought me an order of spaghetti that tasted amazing, perhaps only because of how terrible my previous spaghetti experience had been.
The flight for Gretchen and me back to JFK was the first of our family flights out of Cancun. We said our goodbyes, and I thanked Gretchen's father for setting up the whole vacation, which had been so helpful at this stressful juncture of my life. He assured me that this must all be for the best and that "this too shall pass." That was true; all bad things (and good things) had. And in the arc of a life, this was a fairly small setback.
For whatever reason, a sizeable minority (or perhaps even a plurality) of our plane back JFK was comprised of African Americans. Gretchen and I sat at the very back of the plane, trapping in a tattooed Latina with thighs completely out of proportion with the rest of her body. The flight was only a little over three hours, and she never needed to get up the entire time. I got up once, but only to fish a valium out of my bag so my paranoia wouldn't get the best of me when we went through immigration. There were free movies on the plane, and something about 2001 A Space Odyssey suited my mood. Since my firing (at the hands of supposedly do-gooder people) I've been thinking a lot about the inherent meanness of humans. How much progress has been wasted on petty arguments, distractions, and dominance plays? But here I was, watching a retrofuture in which mathematically-perfect machines have all the same issues. But yet progress goes on.

Once landed in New York, the process of snaking through the long multi-double-backed line seemed to take forever as we (yet again) were forced to slowly walk through a majority of the square yards of a large room. But once faced with an immigration official, the checking and stamping of documents proceeded almost instantaneously. As for customs, since all we had were our backpacks and a computer bag, we were just waved through. Nobody was going to go through my stuff to find that Mexican ritalin.
Charles was a little slower than usual picking us up from the airport, and when he arrived he confused us by being in his wife's SUV. But soon we were reunited with our Prius and headed homeward, Gretchen at the wheel. She ended up doing all the driving.
Somewhere in Queens, we stopped a gas station just so I could get something to drink. I opted for a Monster energy drink, since that's always a festive indicator of a fun roadtrip. Then Gretchen happened to notice a White Castle, the burger place specializing in small sandwiches called "sliders." I'd never been to a White Castle before and, as a vegan, would have no reason to go these days were it not for the fact that they now carry the Impossible Buger, which they render into a slider as well. (Indeed, at this particular White Castle, a mention of the Impossible Burger was the only thing being displayed on one of their temporary signs.) If one wants it to be vegan, one must say "hold the cheese," since White Castle has yet to start stocking vegan cheese. Gretch and I ordered a couple of those each and some fries, and she got herself a fountain drink (which she made into a cocktail of things using the high tech fountain drink robot interface). I hadn't known this, but White Castles are filthy, and apparently nobody bothers to clean the tables. We picked the best of a fairly appalling set of options and sat down for our meal. Holy shit, the sliders were good! All they were was a chunk of Impossible Burger in a cheap bun, but it tasted like high-grade hamburger. The fries (which have the oldschool undulations) were a bit of a disappointment, which I will try to remember for next time.

When we returned home sometime after 11:00pm, the dogs were excited to greet us. Our housesitter (who had been writing Gretchen missives in the voice of our various critters) was sleeping in the bedroom in the basement, meaning we could crash in our own bed.

What made us stop at White Castle on the way home through Queens.

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