Esopus on and off
Monday, August 1 2011
This afternoon, Gretchen returned from Rosendale with Robert, one of her former students in the college-within-prison program for which she is both a professor and an administrator. Robert has been out of prison for about a year now. He's been living down in the City, taking classes, and doing occasional work for the program that gave him his college education. He and Gretchen meet occasionally down in the City, and this would be the first time he'd be staying with us.
I was on a long and dubious call related to the increasingly-doomed 18-month-old spec project for which an impressive sunk cost dilemma has developed, talking to a Ukrainian gentleman for whom a "skip to the next paragraph" function would have been a life-saver. In the end I had to tell him that I had another incoming call, and that was how I opened up the time necessary to go with Gretchen and Robert for a swim at the Secret Spot on the Esopus. It turns out that evenings are a particularly good time to go swimming here. There's something about the angle of light that makes the water seem extra magical, though it also makes it impossible to look into the face of anyone standing to your west. The water in the Esopus was unusually high when we arrived and seemed to increase while we were there. This suggested that engineers on the Ashokan Reservoir upstream had decided to lower its volume. They have the power to turn the Esopus on and off like a hose.
Back at the house, we dined out on the east deck. Gretchen had made a quiche and pasta with pesto. Because Robert is living a "clean and sober" lifestyle (one that does not forbid the frequent smoking of cigarettes), our beverages were either Sportea or fruit juice. Robert told us about a longitudinal study he's been working for down in the City, one where he interviews gay men about their sex and drug practices and then gives them an AIDS test on the spot. The study gives participants $20 each, which makes things easy in impoverished parts of Brooklyn. But an offer of $20 usually results in eye rolls when interacting with the substantially-wealthier fairies of Chelsea. That part of the conversation was fun, but at some point it took a turn for the academic-logistical, my eyes glazed over, and snuck off to my laboratory and fixed myself a non-clean/non-sober drink.
Later, when the three of us watched the predictable conclusion of this season's The Bachelorette, I covertly added a little vodka to my sportea. I don't care how clean and sober you are, you have to damp down the full range of your mental functioning in order to appreciate that show.
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