floating dock dinner
Wednesday, April 21 2010
this morning: Lake Hill, New York
Mark gets up at the crack of dawn, and I could hear him puttering around the house as I lay buried in pillows and bathrobes on the couch. The house had grown rather cold overnight. Eventually both Ray and I were up drinking coffee, eating fruit salad (aside from the grapes, it was a collection of some of my least-favorite fruits: apples, pears, and watermelon), and eating bagels (there was something funny about that vegan cream cheese). The coffee was great, although Mark conceded that it might well be "blood coffee." I should mention, by the way, that last night's six beers, sausage-party 420 celebrations, and prolonged hot tub experience did not result in any sort of hangover.
I returned home to find Gretchen looking relaxed and well-rested after her unexpected bounty of alone-time.
This evening Gretchen and I went to a little dinner party in Saugerties at the place rented by our friend Deborah. She lives in a cute little house with head-bonkingly-low ceilings on the tidal banks of the Esopus within sight of the Hudson. Dinner tonight was based around a salad and a delicious potato-quinoa-and-bean soup. As the final details of that meal were being assembled, I went out to sweep grass clippings from the floating dock behind her house. The plan was to set up some plastic chairs and a table on the dock and eat there right at the sea level on the Esopus (the moon was high and so was the tide). But then I realized that it would be a simple matter to detach the dock from the poles upon which it rides up and down (with the tides). Once detached, we could paddle the dock out into the creek like a raft and have our dinner a couple dozen feet from shore. Deborah didn't seem to think we'd get in trouble if we did that, so I untied the ropes securing the dock to let it drift free, securing it only temporarily while we got the last pieces of our floating picnic together. We'd brought our dogs with us, and Sally was happy to jump aboard, although Eleanor (who is not a fan of unstable surfaces) was more reluctant and at first refused to join us. Juneau, Deborah's enormous dog, wanted nothing to do with the dock whatsoever.
So then we set out, both Deborah and I using kayak paddles. But then it turned out we'd forgotten a ladle for the soup, so we had to row back to shore. This gave us the opportunity to pick up Eleanor, who could finally be convinced that the mobile dock wasn't all that bad. Meanwhile various people piloting real watercraft passed by, looking at us with amusement.
At some point Deborah's neighbors to the southwest arrived home from wherever they'd been. They're a couple of young adults, and so naturally when they got out of the truck, they were still holding the beers they'd been drinking while driving. They also had to piss, which they proceeded to do against the fence separating their place from Deborah's. They did so shamelessly, with us sitting there on our raft facing them. Recently the neighbor's landlord (who turns out to be the tenant's father) had completely redone the property in the Russian mafia style, ripping up all the soil and replacing it with pre-formed tileable concrete units. Their dock, a plastic unit that looked as if it had been made from beige Legos, had been installed only yesterday. The two public urinators from proceeded to track down a manual pile driver and proceeded to half-hearted bang on one of the metal pipes supporting the dock. They didn't achieve much except the repetitive punctuation of the evening still.
Eventually I rowed us back to the shoreline and I tied the dock back up the way it had been. We went inside and Eleanor threw herself onto a couch that was overflowing with pillows, a habitat much more to her liking than a raft (which is both spatially unstable and hard-surfaced). Deborah and Gretchen talked for awhile and I had nothing much to contribute until Deborah brought up her new-found love for Radiolab. From there the conversation turned to another subject I appreciate: Bittorrent, and the increasing freeness of information despite all attempts to keep it from being that way. Deborah still can't get her mind around information being so free. But that's partly generational. When our friend Ray (whom I'd shown how to use it) had tried to impress the 20-something waitresses at New World Home Cooking by introducing them to Bittorrent, they rolled their eyes and said something like "OMG! LOL! Like, we already like totally know all about that! You're totally like being my dad right now!"
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