restriction of the mountains
Monday, March 7 2005
A housecall in the sub-hamlet of Willow was over almost as soon as it began and suddenly I had two full hours to kill before my next housecall in nearby Woodstock. What to do? Happily, it was a beautiful day, perfect for walking around in a village like Woodstock. Strangely, though, its downtown was still operating under some sort of winter inertia and few people (aside from the bums) were out and about. But the few who I came across were unusually friendly. And why not? Truth be told, it wasn't actually all that warm for this time of year, but it was a lot warmer than it had been, and the air seemed to have a trace of the fragrance of spring. It's a hard thing to describe, but you know it with just one whiff. It's a smell that somehow tells you it's a new world and that anything could be built on the ruins of winter. The possibilities are endless, like buying a brand new sketch pad with a 36 color set of Pentels. It's an east coast thing, and I've probably mentioned it every spring I haven't spent in California.
As I used a plastic fork to struggle through an overpriced, disappointing burrito at Taco Juan's, I wondered how a genuine San Francisco Mission-style burrito place, the kind that serves burritos wrapped in aluminum foil, would do in Woodstock. Such a place could be humble and post a message somewhere saying, "We might not make a perfect Mission-style burrito, but at least we try!" That might sound defeatist to you, but it would be a not-especially-subtle jab at places like Taco Juan's that don't even fucking try: a burrito is not supposed have the form of a "wrap," particularly not in Woodstock.
When I'd exhausted the pedestrian potential of Woodstock, I went on something of a Sunday-style drive, crossing over Meade's Mountain (to the north) on Macdaniel Road and taking it all the way around the backside of the mountain to Shady. On its southern slope, the one facing Woodstock, Meade's Mountain is a warm and pleasant place where the snow melts quickly. But on its northern side it feels like you've driven 600 miles and are somewhere in the unpopulated country north of Montreal.
Next I drove over to Glenford partly just to check the time at the post office there and also to investigate how various roads snake their way through Ohayo Mountain. Then I headed back on the obscure Yerry Road all the way, somehow, to 212, ending up somewhere near Woodstock's other expensive, bad Mexican restaurant, Gypsy Wolf Cantina. Once I'd been down all these roads, the entire region seemed alarmingly small. It is the restriction of the mountains that puts the distance between places.
In the evening I had a fight with Gretchen about what she preceived as my undercharging of a client. We've had this kind of fight before and my contention is always: you don't know what I've done, so what I've charged is none of your business. After our initial fight I went off do something, but it was still eating at me so I charged back into the teevee room and announced, "This is how it's going to be: what I charge my clients is none of your business. Similarly, I don't ask about what you charge your clients." I can't believe we're still having this stupid fight.
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