drunk, stupid, or both
Saturday, November 18 2006
I came along when Gretchen took the morning walk in the forest with the dogs (a job that is usually hers unless she's away or has to work). I wanted to show her the boundaries, as I understood them, of the new property. We walked down the mainline of the Stick Trail for a third of a mile or so to where it left the property, then cut down to the Mountain Goat Trail and followed it to the new path I've been working across the valley. There we cut back into the southeastern tip of the property and rejoined the old trail system, continuing out along the Overlook Trail and back home on the Mainline of the Stick Trail. Somewhere along there, set up right there on the trail, we encountered a hunter, dressed mostly in camouflage but wearing enough orange to look like a survey flag in the distance. Earlier in the walk Gretchen had been talking about the time a year ago when some hunter had arranged dead coyotes along the Stick Trail and how she'd seen some young hunters going into the woods from the Farm Road the day before. She'd regretted not asking them who they were, what they were up to, and did they know this was private land. But this time I said we should just keep on walking. So I just acknowledged the hunter's existence with a noncommittal "hey." And, suddenly delighted that I wasn't chastising him for hunting on my land, he grinned a stupid drunken grin (I assume he was drunk, stupid, or both) and asked pleasantly if I'd seen any deer. No I hadn't. (I hadn't known until this point that deer season had begun.) While it's my policy not to antagonize hunters, Gretchen likes to make them feel at least a little bit uncomfortable. "We have two dogs coming," she cautioned, as if to say "I don't really trust you with that gun."
It was a cold clammy day, and soon even the indoors was cold and clammy just from diffusion through the cracks around the doors (since I'd yet to turn on the boiler and was loathe to start a fire). But then came news that our friend Susan the German Translator would be living with us for a little while.
So I fired up the woodstove and got a space heater going in the guestroom.
At some point in the early evening Gretchen and I watched a DVD of the movie Strangers With Candy. We'd loved the short-lived series by that name on Comedy Central, but we found this version forced and not nearly as funny. The story arc of a Strangers With Candy episode thrived in the half hour format, but as a movie it just didn't work. Not that there weren't hilarious moments and scenes, it's just that they were spread far too far apart.
This evening Gretchen and I attended a champagne and cake party thrown by our new friends Dennis and Laura in Woodstock. (Dennis is our dentist and Laura was celebrating her completion of a biography of etiquette arbiter Emily Post.) The completion of the book was a major achievement given the fact that Laura almost died of brain cancer around the mid-point of the project. The party was great, with Dennis running around with the latest spectacularly-uncorked bottle to make sure everyone had a full glass of champagne. We hung out with lots of interesting attendees, none of whom (aside from our dental hygienist) we'd ever met before. Woodstock is a small town with only one telephone exchange (845-679-XXXX), but whole blocks of its population sharing numerous things in common somehow exist completely separate from each other.
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