injera and a steampunk ring
Saturday, November 24 2012
location: Silver Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland
The weather had taken a turn for the cold today, making the morning dog walk significantly less pleasant. Later, the five of us went into downtown Silver Spring to check out a craft festival, the kind where a street is shut down and merchants erect tents. It was a cold day for this climate, and I'm glad it wasn't me whose job it was to stand around all day selling things, particularly when the cold winds whipped through. It bears mentioning that the stuff available at craft fairs is rarely very good, and the overall crappiness of what was on offer just seemed to make the day that much colder and windier. Aside from the Ethiopian guy and his daughter (and his daughter's non-Ethiopian friend) selling coffee, there were only two tents selling attractive things. One woman was selling trivets and other small objects decorated with details from old maps. Another woman was selling "steampunk" rings, each having a watch mechanism from a tiny mechanical watch where there might have otherwise been a jewel. (As I pointed out to Sarah, steampunk, like goth, is a fashion paradigm that, among other things, accepts fat chicks dressing in a sexually-provocative manner.) Gretchen bought one such ring for her mother (well, actually, she intercepted the payment her father was trying to make after forst grabbing a $20 bill from my wallet).
When we'd had our fill of the craft fair, we wandered slowly down a street and back, peering into windows and checking what was on various restaurants' menus. The street was something of a wind tunnel, and I probably would have been happier during this phase of our outing had I instead been watching the last ten minutes of Waiting for Godot (that ought to tell you something). Today I realized that a large component of my dislike for Rhinebeck, New York (a village I hated well before I saw Waiting for Godot there) is that much of what I've done there has consisted of slow walks up and down its after-hours streets, uselessly peering into the windows of its closed shops. And every time I've done that, it was with Gretchen's parents (in considerably better weather than was on offer today).
Eventually, though, the misery ended and we found ourselves seated at a booth in Silver Spring's newest Ethiopian restaurant (I forget the name). The food was delicious, and though I thought I was exercising restraint in my gluttony, I would not end up getting hungry again for the rest of the day. In addition to the usual injera & vegan wats we also got a fava-bean-based foule, which for some reason came with a side of pita bread.
Next stop was an Ethiopian grocery store, and, as I'd predicted, none of us were in a mood to buy food after that meal. Still, somehow several packages of injera were bought, along with the usual curiosities and novelties available at an ethnic grocery store. By the way, I've never seen as much video surveillance as I saw in that store.
Today was the day that Gretchen, Sarah, and I would be heading back to Upstate New York, though, as with the timing of our departure for Silver Spring, Gretchen decided for some reason to leave late in the day.
We ran into gridlock about 40 miles up the New Jersey Turnpike, and, looking at the congestion map on Gretchen's Droid, I decided it was best for us to bypass the Turnpike starting with the next exit. Somewhere on US Route 130, Gretchen pulled us into a restaurant parking lot so the ladies could piss and we could trade driving responsibilities. The restaurant was called Town & Country Diner, and all its patrons had that droopy sallow look that comes from subsisting mainly on the fats of animals that get little or no exercise. On her way to the bathroom, Gretchen was horrified by the things she saw people eating. Meanwhile out in the car, I observed so little in the way of opportunities for a dog to get out and walk around that I post-poned the doggy bathroom break. They didn't end up getting one, and neither did I. Marie (aka "the Baby") used the litter box a couple times on this drive, but she mercifully spared us a movement of her bowels (as she also had during our drive down). Among the podcasts we listened to was the latest from Radiolab, an episode about inheritance that featured, among other things, an alarmingly pro-life (and, from a policy perspective, irrational) view of a private program that payed drug addicts to go on birth control (so as not to continuously pursue the reproductive strategy of the Brown-headed Cowbird).
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