Saturday, February 15 2003
Missed you at the Bible study - er - antiwar protest. It would have been nice to have contributed my face to the sea of humanity trying to march around the United Nations. Had I gone, I would have done my best to look like an average American, convincing enough to pass for a lost Republican vote (not that the flaccid-spined Democrats are any better on this particular subject).
But this was, instead, another weekend for entertaining friends-of-Gretchen. Today's guests arrived by rental car from New Jersey. They were "Blonde Tonya" and her boyfriend Bill. I know Blonde Tonya from having attended some sort of book release party she threw in Manhattan early in my relationship with Gretchen. That released book was about the so-called "Ex-Gay Movement." Blonde Tonya has a PhD in the study of such things.
After the obligatory house tour and cheese and cracker luncheon (featuring wine this time), there was the usual walk in the big outdoors. I stayed behind to spark up the wood stove and selfishly work on my current projects.
I did, however, join the entourage when we drove into Kingston and went to the Rondout early enough to catch P&T Surplus before it closed. Their inventory didn't have anything that really stoked my imagination except for some aluminum plumbing apparati that could have been fashioned into a convincing component in an intergalactic hyperdrive. In the end I bought sixty feet of coiled half inch copper pipe. Meanwhile Blonde Tonya's boyfriend Bill went around back to look at some boats in a nearby dockyard. He's really into boats. Unfortunately for him, they were all covered with blue tarps.
We briefly visited the mouth of the Rondout to marvel at the seascape of ice tectonics. Bill tipped a huge piece of beached ice into the water and it made a mighty spash into a thinly-iced tract of water. The ensuing ripples made weird laser-gun noises as they sheared, cracked, and compressed nearby ice layers.
In the evening we did the usual guest thing of eating dinner at the Hurley Mountain Inn. Our waitress must have been new, because we'd never seen her before. She also introduced herself by name and said "I'll be your waitress tonight." Genuine Hurley Mountain Inn waitresses never do that. They're seventeen year old girls with blond hair and blue eyeshadow who humbly ask, "Do you need more time?"
Dinner conversation was mostly of a political nature.
Well before I went to bed, midnight came and it was suddenly my 35th birthday. At this point Gretchen came into my laboratory and presented me with a birthday present. It was a box of plastic disco balls strung together in a beaded curtain, the sort that hippie college kids hang in front of the doors to the places where they smoke their trust fund dope. I immediately incorporated the strands of this curtain into my laboratory decorations, but not as an annoying obstacle in front of the door. I wrapped the strands around the hardware near my disco balls until the sparkles and fractal complexity gave the installation something of a space-age Baroque quality.
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