new legal drug
Saturday, July 4 2015
Usually when we have guests stay over, they're up hours before we are. I think Gina got up at like 6am, but it wasn't until late morning that we saw each other. Gretchen made a waffle-based breakfast, while I fried up some vegan sausage with mushrooms, onions, and arugala. That's a hearty breakfast, but by this point it was time for lunch.
Though a light rain was falling from the sky, we put on hats and went for a walk afterwards, following the Stick Trail for its entire L-shaped length and continuing on to the Canary Waterfall (41.923304N, 74.114375W). The falls were flowing so powerfully in the aftermath of recent heavy rains that the others had trouble crossing the brook upstream from it to get a proper view (which is best from the southwest). From the waterfall, we walked back homewards through the farm belonging to "the Duke of Luxemburg." As we did so, the Duke himself was puttering away near his pool, trying to achieve something like sustainable landscaping around and among the poolside flagstones. Gretchen led us all over there to chat with him, and just as that was beginning Luna the Dog made the mistake of trying to walk on the bubblewrap heatblanket floating on the pool; Gina had to come to her rescue and pull her out of the drink. The Duke then proceeded to give us a highly entertaining history of the land we were standing on.
(For some reason we'd never heard any of it before.) He said that the abandoned go-cart track dated to the 1950s, not the 70s as I'd thought, and that in the 1970s the whole property had been rented by a variety of tenants. One of these had turned it into a prolific marijuana farm, complete with a network of rubber watering hoses. Another set of tenants from Columbia ran some sort of seafood importing concern that later turned out to be cocaine smuggling operation; when the police finally busted them, it involved black unmarked cars and a helicopter landing in the field. Supposedly a million dollars' worth of cocaine was seized. All of this happened about a half mile from the site where our house would one day be built.
Selfie at the Canary Falls, from left: Gretchen, me, and Lisa.
Back at the house, Lisa told me about a plant called kratom that a friend of hers imports from southeast Asia and sells online. Supposedly its various forms can act as a stimulant, depressant, or euphoriant, though (at least as of yet) it is completely legal in the United States, and she brought some with her. How exciting! Usually by the time I take a drug for the first time, it's been illegal and old hat for at least a decade. So Lisa looked up the directions for how to prepare kratom, which, for the powdered leaves she had, involved making a tea of it, acidifying it with lemon juice, and straining it with a coffee strainer. Only Lisa and I were going to be drinking the tea, and I think we were having three grams each (for something between a mild and moderate dose). The flavor of the tea with lemon juice is unpleasantly bitter, though perfectly drinkable. It helps to think of it as a very hoppy IPA. Lisa took hers with sugar, which, based on the look on her face, didn't seem to improve it much.
By this point, we were playing Super Big Boggle, the version of Boggle with the six by six grid of letters. We only played two games, and of course I played the worst and Gretchen played the best in both. While we played, the first Dog Day Cicada of the season roared with giddy ebullience from the trees to the east of the house.
By this point, it was time to head to KMOCA for its monthly opening, which would feature three artists. We wouldn't have been going were it not for the fact that our good friend Susan (of Susan, David, Darla & Olive) would be one of the artists. A cloud hanging over all of this was that Deborah would be there, and its looking like Gretchen and Deborah will never be able to reconcile their differences enough to socialize comfortably together, though they have a large number of friends in common (including me). Part of the reason the kratom (and a 9% alcohol Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale in a travel mug) seemed like such a good idea was that they would help make the social discomforts more bearable. I should say, by the way, that by now the kratom had given me a nicely electric relaxed feeling, if that makes any sense.
I let the others off at the gallery and parked up the hill a couple blocks on Hone Street (as all the usual parking spots were being snatched up by people coming to attend the Rondout's Fourth of July fireworks display). There was a beautiful all-grey cat near where I parked that I almost convinced to come to me, but he/she was just a little too shy (probably for the best).
Susan's art was hanging in the front room of KMOCA. The paintings were bigger and somewhat more fully-realized than her work for the Jersey City show had been, indicating that perhaps the deadline hadn't dropped as abruptly for this show as it had for that other one. (I would end up having several conversations this evening at KMOCA about deadlines and how I wouldn't ever get anything done if it weren't for them.)
All the people were in the back yard of the gallery, which was where the wine and pretzels can be found on openings in warm weather. I had brief friendly conversation with Deborah about Susan's art (the other stuff being sparse and, with one possible exception, too preciously aggro for my taste). Eventually I got Michæl (the guy who used to run KMOCA with Deborah) away from the others long enough to have him help me split that enormous IPA Lisa had brought from Northampton. It was in a generic aluminum can with a pasted-on paper label claiming it to be "Greyhound IPA." It was good, though it was a little hard to judge because I'd just been drinking that Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale, which isn't very bitter, and the contrast seemed to make the Greyhound more bitter than it otherwise would have seemed. I was also still very much under the influence of the kratom, which seemed to be making me a bit more effusively friendly than I might otherwise be, though that's also a reliable effect of KMOCA openings themselves.
Eventually a bunch of us reconvened at Alebrijes, the new Mexican restaurant in Uptown where I celebrated my most-recent birthday. When we arrived, there was a live band playing what sounded like música aunténtica. They were a bit loud, so Gretchen had the owner Veronica tell them to turn it down. But even with that reduced volume, it was too loud for Eva & Sandor, who called it a night without taking a seat. Meanwhile Sarah the Vegan had mixed up a huge pitcher of sangria, which (knowing Sarah) probably wasn't very alcoholic, but which we all treated as though it was. Susan had had Gretchen arrange with Veronica for a bunch of us to have a big á la carte vegan meal, though others who didn't want that could order off the menu. Deborah, who has been at war with Gretchen partly over perceived vegan imperialism, was among the very few at our large table to not take advantage of the á la carte special. Truth be known, the food that came wasn't really keyed to my preferences either, and I probably would have been happier ordering a burrito with extra habañeros off the menu, but I'm a team player. I don't really remember much of the dinner conversation, though it was mostly with Lisa and Sarah (at least while the music was playing) since everyone else was too far away to hear (and Gretchen spent a lot of time flitting around the table, engaging with everyone while avoiding Deborah). When Deborah left, she waited for Gretchen to go away and then came over to say goodbye to both Sarah and me, specially telling me that she missed me. [REDACTED]
Back at the house, there was a bit more drinking and probably pot smoking and then Lisa regaled us with the tale of how her marriage to a bisexual man came to an end and she became an increasingly strict (as in diet) lesbian.
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