new dog from Brooklyn
Saturday, March 3 2012
The other day one of our friends sent out an email to her considerable email list asking if anyone wanted to adopt a dog that another of her friends had rescued from his apartment's lobby. The dog in question looked like a hybrid between Sally and Eleanor, though a bit lankier. In recent months Gretchen has been dreading the day when Sally's biology finally gives out and has been incubating the idea that whatever replacement we get for her should have at least known her, and so has had an eye out for a new dog. This dog, named Precious, seemed almost perfect. Gretchen had asked about whether Precious was good with cats, and the guy keeping her had arranged a meetup with a cat named Burt Reynolds. It had gone well. So today we drove down to New York City with our dogs to see Precious in person and perhaps take her home with us.
I woke up kind of early and found myself doing the dishes. Normally when I wash dishes I listen to podcasts broadcast from my computer at the low end of the FM spectrum, but I'd shut down my computer last night and didn't feel like starting it up. So instead I listened to a crappy Christian radio station, the parasites of that end of the dial. It's amusing to hear what passes for Christian music these days. It's trying so hard to be hip, but of course all it can ever be is overly-literal lyrics set to instrumentation from five or ten years ago. These days when Christian music is really trying to sound hip, there's extensive use of an echo that sounds like it's coming through a telephone. As for the lyrics, it makes me wonder why there are any Christians at all who are not either ignorant peasants or little children. Still, when I'm listening to such crap, I find myself having preferences. I prefer messages delivered from God's perspective (the "I" in songs purporting to be God). That's much more psychically comforting than the kind of "I" who tells you what you need to do to get God's love.
At some point before we left the house, Gretchen noticed that our refrigerator wasn't providing sufficient cooling for our food, something I'd also vaguely registered a couple days before when the soy milk seemed almost room temperature (both Gretchen and I had turned "up" the cold, but now there was no higher for it to go). The freezer was cold, so it must have been something related to the air channel that takes some of the freezer air to the refrigerator. I tried to tear the refrigerator apart to maybe see what the problem was coming from, but modern appliances are all held together by tiny unseen clips to which pressure must accurately be applied or there is no release. So Gretchen and I moved perishables out to the cold garage and we left the refrigerator as it was for our drive down to Brooklyn.
Our first stop in New York City was in Harlem. For one reason or another there happen to be a lot of vegan cafeterias up there, and Gretchen had heard good things about the Uptown Juice Bar, which specializes in vegan soul food as well as freshly-made smoothies. I have it in my mind that Harlem might have substantially gentrified in recent years and there might have been a profound demographic shift, but on 125th Street near the FDR, nearly all the people one sees on the street are black. Some of them are members of some kind of religious group that causes them to wear shiny white vests under their street clothes, and when passing one another on the street they salute each other by emphatically hitting their right fists to their own chests. Somewhat unusual for Manhattan, passing pedestrians are eager to dispense parking advice, some of it more useful than others. Gretchen managed to shoehorn her way into a space about sixteen inches longer than our car.
The food at the café was great. Some of it was clearly soul food (rice and beans, collard greens, and okra), though there were also curries and vaguely Chinese dishes, much of it full of fake meat. One could also order up a sandwich, though we only made use of the food bar.
Next we drove to Prospect Heights in Brooklyn (very close to our old Park Slope neighborhood near Grand Army Plaza). Rob, the guy who'd been keeping Precious for the past two weeks, met us out on the street with the dog and his girlfriend Leigh. To give our dogs a chance to meet Precious without the added stress of cars, pedestrians, concrete, and leashes, we all crossed the street to the center of Mt. Prospect Park, a sort of extension of Prospect Park across Flatbush Avenue. Though it was illegal to do so at the time, we turned our dogs loose and let them play. Eleanor and Precious proceeded to do a fair amount of mouthy head-to-head play, the kind that looks like it will surely result in chipped teeth. But after awhile they both moved on to more singular activities, and so we judged that, socially at least, Precious would be a fit. By this point Gretchen had told Rob that we'd be renaming Precious "Ramona," partly because we prefer more human-sounding names.
Rob said his goodbyes while we went off to get the car. He loaded Ramona's huge bag of cheap Costco dog food into our trunk along with a blanket, a rubber chew toy, and one of his slippers (Ramona having chewed up the other one). And then we drove back home. Ramona didn't seem to know anything about cars and had to be physically loaded in. Once in the car, she was reasonably calm, although she threw up several times on the Palisades Parkway and the New York Thruway, filling the air with the smell of cheap Costco dog food.
At our house, Ramona spent the first half hour vigorously exploring, occasionally finding cats and giving chase (but only so she could smell them!). Somewhat alarmingly, though, Ramona seemed slow in absorbing the idea of a pet door. It wasn't just that she wasn't getting that she could go through it; she also seemed somewhat afraid of it.
This evening Gretchen and I went out to the monthly opening at KMOCA down in the Rondout. We brought all three dogs with us, and a for a few minutes all of them were running around amongst the many people in the gallery. Later a subset of us went Uptown to our favorite Indian restaurant, where the bulk of us ordered the buffet despite how stepped-in and dried out it had become by this point. The chick peas looked like raisins and some of the curries had developed thick skins.
I'd been defrosting the refrigerator and had managed to open up most of its various interior panels. (Ramona had found this fascinating, and seemed genuinely interested in learning how a refrigerator works.) And when I started it up, seemed to work perfectly. Perhaps its embedded computer had only needed a reboot.
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