Wednesday, September 7 2022
At lunch today, I drove the Forester into Uptown Kingston to get a few groceries that, if I don't buy them, they never get bought. This included three bottles of cheap store-brand 50 milligram gelcaps of diphenhydramine, the third bottle I've ever bought of a liquid to treat toenail fungus (a jihad against which is slowly being won) and food items like Gardein-branded soups, beans, hominy, taco shells, and bread. I also bought three pints of Ben & Jerry's vegan icecream flavors, though Gretchen would've eventually bought them had I failed to. While I was shopping for these things in the Uptown Hannaford (aka "Ghettoford"), I noticed that many of the shoppers were wearing masks again, as if we were back in April or May. I don't know if this was in response to some coronavirus wave, but I myself was not wearing a mask and felt a little like maybe I should. That's how peer pressure works even when the peers are complete strangers.
After that, I made a visit to the Tibetan Center thrift store, where I picked up a single-burner Coleman-branded butane-powered camp stovetop. At $25, that's more than I usually pay for things there, but such a device might prove useful at the cabin should our propane tank be exhausted at an inopportune time. For some reason the thrift store also had three refill canisters of butane, which the cranky cashier woman threw in for an additional $10. To this, I also added some ancient rusted cold chisels I'd found out in back.
After work, I went on a second outing in the Forester, again bringing the dogs, and drove to Woodstock. Gretchen had arranged for us to get our third covid booster shots (that is, for those counting at home, our respective fifth covid shots) at the Woodstock Apothecary. I met Gretchen as she was closing down the bookstore and we walked together to our booster appointments, leaving our dogs in the Forester to heckle other dogs as they passed. Somewhat surprisingly, masks weren't required in the Apothecary, though the setup was similar to past booster events, with seats provided six feet apart in an aisle for those waiting to get their shots and a woman at the door to make us fill out paperwork. We didn't have to wait long, and then it was all over. We both got Moderna boosters containing a new cocktail of RNA designed to target both the original strain of covid and the omicron variant (which was two or three variants ago, but these vaccines take forever to develop and test).
As we were about to leave the Apothecary, we were surprised to see our friend Eva (of Eva and Sandor). She has been living under a rock since the beginning of the pandemic, afraid of the pandemic, overworked as a high-level manager at a Manhattan-based cosmetics corporation, and having to deal with a deluge of familial drama. This evening she was out on the town with her mother, whom Eva had to move into a house in the Woodstock area due to one or more family emergencies whose details I forget (I think they involve a near-death covid experience or two and at least one mental breakdown). Eva's mother recognizably had some of Eva's mannerisms and social awkwardness, but she was much more extroverted, nattering on at length about a cat she'd adopted. [REDACTED]
I drove Gretchen and the dogs out to Bearsville, where Gretchen and I had dinner together inside at the Bear Cantina, the Mexican restaurant we've come to like. We both had dishes containing chunks of Impossible Burger, which we shared. (Gretchen's Impossible tacos were a little better than my Impossible enchiladas.) At some point Gretchen noticed that her arch-nemesis Kathy S. was sitting at a nearby table dining with a younger woman. Kathy runs a regional farm animal rescue, and Gretchen used to work with her extensively (even serving on the rescue's board). But then in the Fall of 2007, Kathy accused Gretchen of stealing a variety of improbably items, including jewelry and essential oils, and they haven't been on speaking terms since. Fortunately, it's rare that they ever see each other, but it's bound to happen occasionally. We've all aged so much since the aughts that I didn't recognize Kathy's face, but when I heard her talking (she has the accent of an educated woman from the deep south), I recognized her voice.
Dinner conversation spent a fair amount of time on the subject of whether or not I am happy at work and how important my current income is for our household. I said that I don't especially like my job, but that it has been good in terms of all the things I've had to learn along the way. Unlike, say, at Mercy For Animals, I've never felt like a virtuoso interacting with the stuff I've created, and that's a feeling I would like again. But at the same time, I can't really complain. My present job pays me a lot and doesn't require me to work very hard. Gretchen said we could definitely get by on less income if I wanted to work somewhere else where I would like the job more (a former colleague at Mercy For Animals recently sent Gretchen a job listing for web developer at a DC-based animal advocacy organization with a salary of $80,000 a year). I said I would definitely explore such possibilities should my present job come to an end (something my paranoia frequently tells me is imminent, though it never comes), but that I'm happy enough sticking with my present job for the time being.
After dinner, Gretchen and I walked the dogs in the beautiful new stream-side "adult playground" nearby, which we'd walked around in once before a few months ago. On this particular evening the only other person in there was a guy doing sort of what we were, that is, walking slowly along the path and reading the informational plaques about all the famous music that had been recorded in the Bearsville Studio (which is on the same grounds with the Bearsville Theatre, Cantina, and other such ursine-adjacent businesses).
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