Hello darling, back home after an afternoon out, pleasantly meandering, following up on small whims as they occurred to me in my aimless travels, since I had the car. I arrived at a diner in a county northerly of mine. I was a bit early, and my "meetup" a bit late, and so I wondered as I stood in the parking lot in the overcast if this burgh, on the highway, could possibly have more than one diner. I thought about getting in my car and heading a bit further north, maybe I'd gotten the location wrong, though he'd thoughtfully sent me not one but two maps. I stood my ground, however uncertainly, and then he pulled in.
He must be a regular at this diner, because the huge, rather toad-like proprietor, seated near the front, eyeballed & greeted him by name, sized me up, and said -- I wish I could remember the exact quote -- on the order of, "treat her good, Mike." Which made me feel so exposed! I suppose I did stick out like a sore thumb there, not only because I was way under 75. And I was very amused too, that this middle-European, or possibly Russian proprietor, had sized up the situation instantly. I was so amused, and trying not to crack up, that I sublimated a laugh by somehow squeezing a cheap pair of readers I held in my hand so hard that the lens popped out with an audible crack & fell under the table. And then I spent another five minutes, fishing in the Howe Caverns of my bag to find another pair, so as to pretend to peruse the menu with, though I knew way in advance that what I would order would be a bowl of soup. Which I figured would come without much protein, and I hoped not too much salt. On the menu today, the septuagenarian middle-European Americanized waitwoman said, was "chicken pastina," "Yankee bean," -- and a soup I've never heard of -- "roast potato." I stared at her incredulously. Amazing that her generation seems oblivious to the notion of excessive carbs. I ordered the chicken-pastina, with a fussy mind to say 'hold the pastina,' but I held my tongue, and when it arrived I tried it, and it tasted very typical, possibly watered-down canned, but edible, especially with the twin packets of saltines -- ah that gave my fingers something to do long after I had finished the delicately-serving-sized dish of broth, over which my companion -- because he ended up ordering the same thing – shook a salt shaker over.
Nice guy, not my type, nor I his, what else is new. Really, he and I should have exchanged a few more email communications before meeting. Or not, actually, I met up with him perhaps mainly because I inadvisedly, in a moment of frustration & pique, wantonly responded to a few posts that really I had no business responding to, it wasn't what I was looking for, only I couldn't at that moment, quite see it for what it was, what I wanted for myself. Which actually, in my overtired state, in my post yesterday, I did clarify for myself. And so I have to - wish to - it's the only thing that will work for me -- stick to that.
Still, he & I had an interesting conversation, Charlie Rose-style, perhaps, in this last vestige of middle-European diner stuck on a highway in the middle of nowhere (Albany 8, Hudson 29). He told me about his situation, and of a recent girlfriend (if that's the word) that he'd recently -- not "broken up with" -- the lingo has all changed -- but realized that whatever connection he had with her, and her cheerful indifference if he wasn't available every evening -- that she seemed to be, essentially, if not an outright streetwalker, then a completely out-of-control sex addict. His hobby is jumping out at 10,000 feet from planes, and I was fascinated to learn, as he told me, that there's this whole "drop-zone culture" -- oh yeah, you'll never meet wilder partiers than that. What do you mean? I mean sex, drugs, rock & roll the night before -- what do you think, from people who throw themselves from planes? I don't know, I guess I was thinking - ambitious, not risk-averse, acquisitive, thrill-seekers. Nah, he shrugged with a smile. There's a subculture at a drop zone -- he named a town that I guessed is in Ulster County. And there's a tent-city of (did I get this correctly?!) Russian skydivers. I mean, maybe what binds them as a group is more being "Russian" than the "skydiving" aspect. Still, this seasoned pro (with hundreds of jumps to his credit, and he'd sent me links to amazing videos to prove it) said -- Americans, they're scared of skydiving. But you should see these Russian women. They have a baby at their breast, hand it over when their turn comes, get in the plane, jump out with ripcord at 3 miles high, return and take the baby back to breast. Are they scared? No, not at all.
I just sat in this diner, taking this all in, feeling a little dumbfounded. I wondered about my hardboiled father, who'd spent too much time in the Soviet Union, under adverse circumstances, during WWII, and what harsh weirdly strong & oblivious ways he'd obtained, which he exercised on me (I don't mean sexually, but whatever veneer of manners he could muster -- he was essentially crude).
My meetup-of-the-day and I parted company, in friendly fashion, but it was clear that -- well, whatever, it doesn't matter, we're both entitled. He's a great guy, I can tell. I really enjoyed talking to him.
Anyway, after that, I pulled away from the parking lot of the diner, and probably I should have made a left & headed straight back south, but instead I headed north, and made another turn, and ended up, with only the vaguest of purpose, at a Target, because I realized after that not very sustaining lunch (and no sex either) -- I was absolutely craving what I could possibly get hold of at that moment, which was chocolate. And so I strolled through the big huge store, just vaguely checking it out, as a visitor might, which I was, and finally (not that I was searching so hard, but I was following an inner voice, a hunger) the food aisles, and the Dewey decimal system stack in which premium chocolate bars - ah, so coincidentally - were on sale.
Serving size -- three squares: 190 calories. I can afford that. I returned to my car and sat in the drivers seat and broke off a square apiece from the three different bars I'd bought, dark, sea salt, toffee, coconut.
And then I drove back down Route 9 feeling very alienated by the hardscaped environment. I mean how many times (I'm confused by this in my lame geographic inner map) can I, as I head south on Route 9, encounter thruway signs "East... Boston." (Oh, and I'm missing -- oh I don't know, not Boston, but City Life --- what's at the A.R.T. in Cambridge?) (and there was a CL post this morning, or yesterday, from "Cambridge" -- but I wonder -- is there a nowheresville in upstate NY called Cambridge?)
But I was very glad to cross back into the Columbia County line -- and suddenly, there, the landscape hadn't at least yet been ruined. I noted with great pleasure and even relief, cows in a pasture relaxing, one settled down on its haunches, hanging out -- even as the property had a 'For Sale' on it, as I drove past.
And I stopped at a nursery, that used to be quite modest, but has transformed itself (with federal assistance maybe, after a recent year’s flooding?) into quite an expansive market emporium --
I bought a bunch of packets of seeds, of all sorts of annual flowers -- cosmos, zinnias, I don't even know what else
and then I stopped by a local big-box store for "organic" (I wonder?) potting soil
and well - anyway - I will be planting some seeds, come May 2, to plant, perhaps a month from now, in the four raised beds in the yard...
Then I returned home, scoured CL again
fired off a few responses
changed my clothes -- no more lovely skirt outfit
thought about having a sweet session with myself
set up dinner - broccoli, multigrain pilaf
(is D grilling salmon tonight?)
I enjoyed meeting the man I met today
he was psychologically astute - very much so
(is he abusive?
a little, psychologically so, because he knows that I'm stuck)
and that's how we get stuck
a lot of us
darling - I wish I could come up with some huge poetic finish
I told him about you, the fact of you - strange sketchiest story ever (I write to this guy, and I don't know how he ever discovered my blog, he must have been looking)
and he was utterly charmed by it
a very pleasant person
and I managed a few pages, in the five o'clock hour, of the book I've been wishing & meaning to read, if I could only settle myself down
I like the way he carefully sets up the structure... and lets us know of it...
one must pay attention, indeed
the rides at Rye Playland, were so beautiful, back in that day
tall, huge, involved
yet human-scaled, even for a kid