Monday, February 3 2003
Since September 11th, 2001, I haven't had a job where I needed to go to an office on a regular basis. (I didn't lose my job on that day, I just discovered that no one cared whether or not I went to the office. Then Yahoo! laid me off.) A consequence of this is that I've generally lacked a deep-seated feeling of what day of the week it is. To me it only matters because certain stores are closed on Sunday. Lowes did nothing to help me recognize the days of the week; they're open every day.
But today I wanted to go to P&D Surplus, mostly to get lag bolts for my upstairs banister project. The top of the stairs outside the master bedroom is nothing but a rectangular hole in the floor and presents a hazard in cases where I'm drunk and the lights are out, both of which have been known to happen on occasion. P&D is one of those places which closes on Sunday, possibly out of respect for our Lord & Savior.
When I was in P&D today there were a couple of Russian women there. One was old and wore a genuine babushka. They were going on and on about the various pieces of scrap metal in their mother tongue. In the end they bought a variety of things, including a three-foot-wide aluminum platter from an old timey main frame hard drive. There are probably a lot of those in Kingston, which hosted a big IBM plant until the early 1990s.
Gretchen had arranged for our neighbors, the elderly parents of the folks who sold us our house, to come over today for cookies and "a snort of something." We started out by giving a tour of our house to show them all the changes and advances we'd made. Everything went okay until we took them up the attic stairs, which (as I implied earlier) lacks a banister. This gave us a rather dismal preview of ourselves in this house at an advanced aged, forced down into quadrupedia in search of the stability necessary to climb. Even after stooping to this indignity, our neighbors still needed a hand once they'd reached the top. In youth it's easy to forget the fragility of bipedal locomotion. To me, banisters and hand rails are unnecessary decorations that clutter simple forms. But to the elderly they are as important as the floor beneath their feet.
Later we sat around in the living room drinking wine and eating cookies while our neighbors gave us a gossipy history of the greater Hurley area. They knew everybody and everything, and those they didn't know knew them. They were obviously more interested in telling us about our new environment than they were in finding out more about what sort of people we are.
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