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   bad Thai in Rhinebeck
Monday, July 5 2010
It was clear a few days ago that our friend Sarah the vegan was going to be keeping our stinky-eared cat Wilma, who was now thriving in a one-bedroom apartment as the only critter, an environment she'd spent three and a half years trying to specify in our critter-filled McMansion. Wilma was thriving so much that it even seemed her stinky ear might spontaneously heal. Stress, after all, has many side effects.
With Wilma safely out of our household, Gretchen wanted to immediately adopt a replacement, preferably from the Dutchess County SPCA, which runs a no-kill shelter. People think no-kill shelters are wonderful places where strays can live out long and fulfilling lives, but this just isn't so. No-kill shelters are stinking, overcrowded Malthusian hellscapes, where antisocial or otherwise unadoptable cats live out their entire lives in tiny cages stacked to the ceiling. The no-kill movement is an absurd outgrowth of America's obession with death. The fact of the matter is that death is often the best alternative, particularly when the only other is ten to fifteen years in a cage just large enough for a small litter box, a bowl of food, some water, and a place to lie down. Cats sleep 20 hours per day anyway, and what does it matter if some fraction of them having no relation to anyone never wake up?
So today Gretchen and I drove out to the Dutchess County SPCA, which, like the reaching of everything else in Dutchess County, necessitated a crossing of the Hudson Fjord. Today was another unseasonably hot one, and the landscape visible from the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge looked as if someone had gone over it all with a dilute layer of titanium white mixed with a tiny dash of cerulean blue (and perhaps a trace of mars black). Unfortunately, when we got to the SPCA, we found no cars in the parking lot and the door locked. The place was closed! I'd called a few days ago and confirmed that they were open on July 4th, so it was natural to assume they'd be open the next day as well. Nothing on their answering machine message or website had indicated they'd be closed today. The lesson to take from all of this was as follows: before setting out on a 40 minute drive somewhere, be sure to get someone on the phone to confirm that the destination is open.
The failure of the mission through me into a massive funk. Now it seemed I'd have to be coming back again tomorrow to do this all over again, and I didn't feel like I had enough time in my schedule for such nonsense. Gretchen wasn't digging my funk, but she wasn't doing much to ameliorate it either. For example, on our way home she made a big detour to check out some historic house to the southwest of Rhinebeck which happily proved to be closed.
Trying to salvage something from the day, we ate lunch at Aroi Thai, Rhinebeck's Thai restaurant, which we'd been meaning to try for years (it's not easy to get Thai cuisine in the Hudson Valley). Unfortunately, though, they managed to serve perhaps the worst Thai food we'd ever had. It must not be too easy to ruin Thai food, because it was still reasonably edible. (But whoever thought of smothering all their dishes with peas should have to answer for his crimes.) It wasn't that the food was so bad, it was more that it wasn't very Thai. It tasted more like mediocre Chinese food.

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