a common Woodstock courtesy
Monday, July 14 2003
setting: Hurley, New York
Gretchen was out working somewhere this morning and Ray was still around, so we hung out in my laboratory for awhile talking about geeky gadgets mostly. Ray's a good family friend because he can talk writerly stuff with Gretchen and geeky stuff with me.
Later Rich, a friend of Ray's from Woodstock, came over. As Gretchen pointed out later, Rich isn't an easy person to categorize. He's part white trash country boy, part street-smart urban underachiever (he and Ray met as waiters in Manhattan), part skilled artisan (these days he's a professional potter) and part dissolute fuck-up (you know what I'm talking about). We sat out on the back deck talking about such things as hunting, hiding pot plants among the wildflowers, biting flies, and other aspects of a fully-realized country life.
When Gretchen came home the four of us went out together for lunch at La Pupuseria on Broadway in Kingston. It's that authentically El Salvadoran restaurant Gretchen and I love so much. Our waitress spoke almost no English, so we ordered in elemental Spanish. I don't know how legitimately El Salvadoran this is, but my favorite food there is a bean and cheese pupusa wrapped like a taco shell around a big wad of that reddish semi-pickled cabbage they bring in a big jar to each table.
To, from, and during lunch, Rich regaled us with his tales of life in this area. He grew up just northeast of Hurley, did the whole New York City thing, and eventually returned. He's worked for just about every important business in the area and knows all the stories about every local person of even modest fame, ranging from our local Congressional representative (actually, Gretchen and I know all about him independently) to our neighbors, the parents of the guy who sold us our house. The funniest story of all concerned a gay Woodstock doctor who propositioned Rich in a particularly absurd fashion. One night after Rich gave the guy a ride home from a party, the good doctor invited Rich in to share a joint - a common Woodstock courtesy. The doctor then proceeded to, in stages, strip naked and get down on all fours without saying a word. He'd considered the risk of escape and had been careful to lock all the gates before making this present of his manhole. To get out of there, Rich had no choice but to climb over a cyclone fence along with his dog.
This evening Gretchen and I watched Xanadu, that Olivia Newton John picture from 1980. Gretchen had assured me it was awesome, and had been playing the soundtrack every time guests came around. So I think my expectations were unhelpfully elevated. What a horrible picture! It was bad, but not quite bad enough to be good. The acting was so atrocious that is seemed at times like a high school play. Gretchen hadn't seen it in awhile and she pretty much had to agree with my assessment. We wondered how Michael Beck, the personality-free male heartthrob, had managed to get cast for his role. More to the point, whose dick had he sucked? In Hollywood there must be thousands of unknown actors with better looks and acting talent than this guy. Still, there are a few guilty pleasure moments in this movie worth fast-forwarding to. Be sure to check out the "rock and roll band" that Beck envisions for the new nightclub he'd like to open with Gene Kelly. Oh, the way that spidermanesque keyboardist attacks his instrument! How about that one dude who plays a woman like an air guitar! I won't take a backseat!
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