single cairn for decades
Saturday, August 14 2004
I was building yet another cairn in the woods this afternoon in the dead time before yet more houseguests arrived. Cairns are the perfect project for me, because I can consider them complete at any time, yet I could theoretically continue work on a single cairn for decades if, say, I was to completely lose my mind. I can think of lots of less satisfactory way to spend decades. While I worked I could hear noises off in the distance back at the house, meaning the guests had arrived.
The guests consisted of one of Gretchen's second cousins from a branch of her paternal family tree. With him was his boyfriend (we both have pink sheep in our families), his mother, and his dog, some sort of purebred Basset Hound from a Mississippi puppy mill. According to Michæl Moore, slavery was legal in Mississippi until well into the 1990s. The dog promptly took a dump out on the east deck. Later she birthed a second doggy doo on the shag carpet down in Gretchen's basement study.
In a familar houseguest ritual, we drank two bottles of wine and ate snacks out on the south deck. Bret, the second cousin's boyfriend, was unusually quiet, so I kept refilling his win glass in hopes that he'd loosen up and talk some more, but he never really did. We did have a brief conversation in which he expressed an unusually strong conviction that the internet would soon have to be closed down because it was allowing too many people to be influenced by too many other people and soon nobody was going to know who had originated what (he's an illustrator with an interest in intellectual property, an IP he seemed to confuse with the IP that stands for "internet protocol" - as in TCP-IP). I responded with an observation about the Sonny Bono Copyright Perpetuity Maintenance Act, summing it all up with a reference to Disney, and he gave me the sort of puzzled look of disgust that I remember from girls in 7th grade when I would tell them anything that rural Virginians construe as weird (example: "I like to read").
After that Gretchen lead us all on a walk down the uphill neighbor's driveway to the abandoned go-cart track. I always find this walk much less interesting than the Stick Trail, but all the rain has made the Stick Trail impossibly soggy. Clarence the cat followed us all the way, but then the basset hound doubled back and chased him and I worried he'd get lost in the woods, so I headed back on my own, escorting Clarence. The risk of abandoning a cat in those remote forests was too high for me to continue with the niceties of social protocol.
In the evening everybody went out to dinner and a movie, but I hung back and worked on my projects.
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