Monday, August 22 2022
location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY
Gretchen and I had spent the night at the cabin, and it was unusual for us to wake up there on a Monday morning. But Gretchen had taken the day off and I was pretty sure I could work remotely from the cabin. I woke up at around 7:00am and things quickly took a turn for the shitty. For starters, I'd over-depleted the cabin's battery yesterday by charging the Chevy Bolt, and at some point this morning there was too little power left in the battery to keep the 120 volt power flowing. It helped that it was initially overcast, which caused sunlight to diffuse into the panels. But that still wasn't enough to charge up the battery to where the inverter could restore power, at least not initially. And then a plan I had to resurrect some code I'd accidentally stashed on a different computer was scuttled when I realized the code I'd modified for those changes wasn't quite what I'd thought it was. Beyond that, I'd accomplished nothing on Friday I could talk about at the morning scrum. I needed a day to catch up to where I needed to be this morning. So I decided to call in sick, something I almost never do and have never done unless actually extremely ill. I ran into a little paperwork trouble doing this, since it required me to use parts of the Paylocity.com site that are different from the ones one might intuitively use to register a sick day (parts that had worked as recently as May, when I used them to call in sick for covid). But once that was done and I'd told my colleagues on Teams, I was fucking free. I immediately returned to the task of setting bluestone in the walkway leading to the cabin's front door.
Gretchen had originally come up with the idea of me taking a sickday (though she was only suggesting a partial one) so that we could take magic mushrooms. When we'd been in Oregon recently, she'd somehow managed to convince her college friend Jim (the "low value male") to give her four gelcaps of psilocybe mushrooms, and she'd thought maybe we could take them today. And with my day cleared of demands, I thought I could do it. So when Gretchen got up, I told her I'd called in sick and that we could indeed take the mushrooms. She was a little surprised I was willing to pull the trigger but soon produced the gelcaps. After I'd swallowed mine, I declared that it was water under the bridge or a done deal or something like that. There was no going back.
We decided to walk down to the dock to experience our mushrooms there. The dogs came along and set up as has been their pattern of late: Neville at the end of the fixed dock in the role of "troll," seemingly asking for the password of anyone who wants to pass. And Ramona with us on the floating part of the dock. Gretchen and I lay down and snuggled sort of, and that was how we were when the mushrooms kicked in. Their main effect was stomach discomfort, followed by extreme relaxation and a feeling that was neither good nor bad but which reminded us both of being stoned. Gretchen seemed to be the most incapacitated by the mushrooms, so it fell to me to do things like get towels (which we used as blankets or things for the dogs to lie on) or lake water (so Neville could drink when he later decided he wanted to). Gretchen was amazed at my take-charge nature, which she attributed to some sort of empathy-amplifying property of the mushrooms. But for me it was just that Gretchen seemed more incapacitated than me and that one of us had to do these things. I explained this to Gretchen at the time, adding that this was probably a big part of how human society is essentially "self-organizing." Unlike with pot or the two other times I've taken mushrooms (in 1987 and 2000), I didn't have any clever or otherwise interesting ideas or perspectives and certainly no hallucinations. I mostly felt incapacitated. Gretchen had the same experience, and in a way it was good that it was the same for us both, because this meant we were sharing it. And in that respect it was good; no matter what the experience is, it's always better to share it with someone you love. Even if it's not a great experience, it's a worthy one to have if it's shared. I know much more interesting experiences can be had on mushrooms, so it must've just been that our dose was low.
We relocated to the "zero gravity" chaise lounges we have on the dock, and that was a comfortable place to be. The sun came out and our towels went from being blankets against the slight chill to protection from ultaviolet photons (neither of us had thought to apply sunscreen). But then a couple hours passed and it became cloudy again. And then a few drops of rain fell from the sky. It doesn't take much rain to make Neville wonder what the fuck we're doing without a roof over our heads, and at some point he abandoned his post and joined us on the floating part of the dock. That was when I fetched him a teapot full of water, since, unlike Ramona, he hasn't figured out that drinking water is easily obtained at the dock. The rain paused for a moment as a dark cloud overhead passed on (oddly, they were coming from the east) but then it started up again and we decided to walk back to the cabin.
We continued our "stoned" mushroom experience in the cabin's great room, with Gretchen on the couch and me on the floor with some pillows from a guest room. Gretchen managed to make us some tea, which was nice, but we only started feeling capable again after overcoming our nausea and eating something. With a few bites, we realized we were very hungry, having completely skipped lunch (by now it was 2:00pm; we'd taken the mushrooms at about 10:30am). I somehow managed to eat an enormous sandwich comprised of avocado, fresh tomato (from a pot out on the deck), and cold two-day-old grilled portobello mushroom. After that, I could open my work-issued laptop to play Spelling Bee and read an interesting article at theAtlantic.com about the different expectations for men and women regarding a sense of humor.
With our energy restored, I was able to resume work on the bluestone path and Gretchen could claw her way into the DuoLingo Diamond League. At some point Gretchen went back down to the lake to paddle around in a kayak and then put the boats away for the week.
A little before 7:00pm, we closed up the cabin and began our drive back to Hurley, where we arrived arrived a little before 9:00pm, when there was still a little light in the sky. Thankfully, there was evidence of rain on the road near our house: patches of wetness and leaping suicidal frogs.
The cats were very happy to see us, though they'd yet to fully exhaust the dry food Gretchen had put out for them.
The bluestone pathway (with random bits of unused bluestone), looking east.
Click to enlarge.
The bluestone pathway (with random bits of unused bluestone), looking west.
Click to enlarge.
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