Saturday, September 26 2020
There was enough shooting down at the bus turnaround today for Gretchen to interrupt our Saturday morning coffee and drive down there to put flyers under the windshield wipers of the shooters' cars. Meanwhile, I figured out the panagram of the New York Times Spelling Bee was "genealogy," though I had trouble finding other words, though Gretchen found lots of them.
This afternoon I made some changes to the household network, moving the best of my WiFi routers, Walkingstick, back out into the teevee room where it can be better reached by my weaker devices in the upstairs bathroom. At the end of that, Gretchen wanted to re-attempt dropping off vegan cupcakes at our new downhill neighbors' house. We could hear the kids, so we knew people were down there. When we arrived, there were four or five kids playing in the yard. They ranged in age from about three to about ten. So we got out of the car and introduced ourselves. Most of the kids were excited to meet our dogs, so we let them out. As modern kids go, these seemed unusual. They were playing outdoors like I did in the 1970s instead of staring at screens, and they knew how to have a competent conversation with adults. My only concern was that nobody seemed to be practicing social distancing, but perhaps they're all in a pod together (along with their parents). Eventually a few adults came out, and there were more than two there. The people who'd bought the house were having friends with kids over, and the only person whose role I went away knowing was the mother of the family who had bought the house. Everybody was very friendly and appreciative of the cupcakes, with the father of the family saying he'd been meaning to bring us vegan baked goods. (He already knew we were vegan from having talked to various neighbors.) They asked about things like gardens and the adjacent forest, and I told them about the great tomatoes Old Man Schneller had grown but "you're probably going to have problems with deer." As for the forest, I said that there was a good network of trails to walk on. They said they'd ventured as far as my stone wall, marveling how anyone could build such a thing in a finite amount of time. Regarding the frequent gunfire down at the bus turnaround (which is closer to their house than to anyone else's), they said that it didn't really bother them all that much because they were used to loud noises at their place in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
There was also the issue of Crazy Dave and what was to become of him given the change of ownership of his cabin and the property beneath it. Based on the barking of his dogs, it was clear he was still there. Gretchen asked what was happening with him and the new owners shrugged and said he was still there. But they didn't seem overly happy about it. Perhaps he's on a lease that can't easily be broken. Or maybe he's a problem that doesn't require an immediate solution. If he knows what's good for him, he'll muster the will to suppress his tendency to launch into loud obscenity-laden outbursts, at least while his new landlords are around. Such outbursts don't seem to be the sort of thing that are compatible with a yard full of freerange children.
We were there about fifteen minutes, and the whole time we were, an enormous praying mantis was gyrating in place on the roof of our Leaf (one of our new neighbors snapped a photo with his phone). She was still up there after we'd driven back to our house.
This evening we had our friends Cathy and Roy (the falafel-making couple) over for a meal Gretchen had made of Asian noodles with big triangles of marinaded & fried tempeh. Much of the conversation concerned Jewish tribalism, and how Gretchen found her way from being a superJew (which she still was when we got back together) to considering the idea that it matters what vagina you came out of "stupid." As for Cathy and Roy, they're Isræli, and in Isræl you're either super-religious or completely secular. They, then, are the latter. We also talked about the origin of Jewish monotheism, which Powerful knows something about, owing to the prison masters degree he got in theology. Gretchen had been under the misapprehension that the books of the Old Testatment had been written in order, a belief that can obscure the development of monotheism visible in the Bible itself. As I proceeded to mansplain, the Book of Job is widely believed by theologians to be the first written book of the Old Testament, and it showcases a god decidedly less all-powerful and all-knowing (and much more human) than the Abrahamic God. Powerful backed me up on all of this. He also told us what he knew about an African-American Muslim cult known as "the Five Percent Nation."
During our entire dinner, some asshole down at the bus turnaround was firing a very large gun every so often.
The praying mantis on the roof of our leaf, after returning from dropping off cupcakes at the neighbors' house.
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