Tonight my need to actually walk around outside in the Big Blue Room overrode my unhappiness with the weather, so I got off the 7 a few stops early, swung by the liquor store that sells Elijah Craig 12 really cheap, then decided to stop in at the pet store where I always leave empty handed.
All I wanted was a few cans of cat food, and they had like 100 different brands from which to pick, none of them priced. So I only got two cans, because who knows what they wanted to charge?
The guy at the counter rubbed his hands together in sad contemplation and said apologetically of the pricing issue, Yeaaaah we’re gonna get around to that real soon, sorry.
But I couldn’t be irritated with him because this song was playing on the store’s stereo and I mean honestly how often do you get to hear Luniz at a pet store on Queens Boulevard?
Which actually reminds me of a cab ride I took last fall. When I got in, the cabbie was playing Public Enemy, and my friend quipped, “Oh your favorite, Dana,” because PE is actually not one of my favorites, you might be shocked to learn. The cabbie, a Queens native and hugely into hip hop, didn’t pick up on the sarcasm and asked me about my favorite PE tracks as we drove over the Queensboro Bridge and then quizzed me about who my favorite MC of all time was and suddenly I felt at a loss because I could only think of West Coast people and I was nervous that I’d start a turf debate that I was ill-equipped to defend, so I said, weakly, “Uh, Nas?” Which satisfied him and wasn’t entirely dishonest on my part.
When he dropped us off he gave me the mix he’d been playing, which is actually really good, if East Coast heavy. So now it’s on my iPod, labeled Songs From a Queens Cabbie.
This year’s garden is off to a great start. The kale is patchy, but I’m planning on planting some more. The garlic is doing great! Tomatoes: Good, and awaiting cages. The cukes and zucchini are doing well. The herbs are thriving, though the squirrels continue to attack the basil. We have three kinds of peppers that have gotten a late start (I grew them from seeds a bit late): Datil, Hatch, and Padrón. I have high hopes, though, because last year’s Datils did well and I’m excited to make more hot sauce and I love knowing that I’m probably the only person in Queens attempting to grow them. A first: The lettuce table hasn’t been pillaged by the squirrels this year. Plus, the giant hydrangea that we bought for pennies on the dollar from Home Depot last year has made a full recovery after his sad, slow decline in their parking lot. The peas are doing great. The rose bush needs pruning, but it’s not my primary concern. National Wholesale Liquidators has Happy Frog organic fertilizer for $9 a bag.
We have a new next-door neighbor—the first anyone can remember who has decided to garden the wilds of the next-door-backyard. I’m envious of the sun his yard gets. This is an obstacle, as the snails and slugs have truly invaded in a baroque fashion, and I should no longer just throw them into his yard. I’m tempted to put out pans of beer, as my mother did in her garden, but that’s kind of unpleasant. I will stick to Plan A, which is drunkenly scooping them up late at night and “forgetting” about our new neighbor. Let him put out pans of beer, and I shall drink mine from a can.
And the poison ivy has been (at least temporarily) eradicated.
Four Golden Dawn members showed up at an Astoria screening of Greek-American Radicals: The Untold Story and attempted to interrupt the post-film discussion using a megaphone, shouted death threats, got thrown out by the event organizers.