Wednesday, April 5 2023
After work today, I was going out for the evening without the dogs, so I thought I'd leave them something fun to do. As I've done and the past (and have been doing more recently), I put some peanut butter in the hollow center of two old cow bones and then gave them to the dogs to work on. As I began doing this, Neville saw immediately what I was up to and became very excited. Ramona, on the other hand, looked over with the a world weariness that suggested to me that she wished I was just giving her the peanut butter and not making it difficult to extract.
I then drove to our friend Lisa's house off Maverick Road in West Hurley, where she was hosting the Passover seder that Gretchen and I would be attending this year. Since Gretchen had been working in Woodstock, we were traveling there separately. I arrived at Lisa's house a little before Gretchen, and the only one I knew in attendance was Lisa, the host. There was also Lisa's mother (who seemed sharp despite being in her 80s), a mother and daughter there from Lisa's old neighborhood further west on Maverick (coincidentally the very same house that Eva and Sandor later lived in when they started coming up here), and two colleagues of Lisa's from the SUNY branch in New Paltz. I felt a little awkward at first, but the glass of wine definitely helped. And then Gretchen showed up.
We talked about a range of issues, from the rise of unapologetic antisemitism since the onset of Donald Trump's political career (evidently it's bad even at SUNY New Paltz) and then the strange case of a man Lisa knows who claims to be sensitive to radio waves such as those produced by WiFi. (I was skeptical and asked if perhaps he had to know the WiFi was present in order to feel its effects.)
Then we moved to the dinner table, where the seven of us (me being the only male) had a fairly quick and painless seder, reading from brand new progressive-minded haggadot. In keeping with the progressiveness of the seder, there was indeed an orange on the seder plate. With that out of the way, we lined up to plate our own food buffet-style. Gretchen's contributions included a tempeh shepherd's pie, marinated portobellow mushroom caps, and vegan "chopped liver" that had been served earlier with carrots, crackers, hummus, and babaganoush. There was also a lasagna that had been made with zucchini instead of pasta, which was unexpectedly quite good. The older woman there who was not Lisa's mother had yet to fully recover from having had covid a little less than a year ago. She said that many foods now taste terrible to her, and she was having difficulty finding anything she actually wanted to eat. She avoided the portobellos and settled on the lasagna. Later she managed to enjoy "matzo crack," which is matzo covered with toffee and chocolate.
Over dinner, I talked to that woman (the one with covid-affected palate) and her daughter about my solar hot water collection system, which they seemed unusually interested in. At some point the mother asked if I had a brother because she's been trying to set her daughter (who is single) up with a man. I quickly explained that I do have a brother, but that he has psychological issues and is a "low value male."
Later in the meal, there was a wide-ranging discussion of the gentrification of Kingston followed at some point someone wanting to know what Greta Thunberg has been up to (I then told them about her epic put down of a misogynistic social media influencer). Finally, we all put our heads together to come up with ideas for how the youngest person in attendance, a 20-something Korean woman who just started as a professor at SUNY New Paltz in the past year, might develop her social network.
Since I had my own vehicle, I left before Gretchen did, but wasn't the first to leave. I wouldn't say I had the greatest time at this seder, but I wasn't miserable either. [REDACTED]
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