Day 25: Rockaway Normal Land

Friday, February 15, 2019

While wearing my blue MAGA hat on the Staten Island ferry this morning, I’m preoccupied with a work document so don’t really pay attention to anyone. On the small ferry from Wall Street to Red Hook, I sit in the front of the boat facing aft, for two reasons. One is so I can avoid accidentally glancing at the huge video panel that shows really annoying ads. For a while, they were showing cartoon vids of the legendary Trump-hater, gym rat, supernaturally healthy Ruth Ginzberg working out with dumbbells.

Hmmm, let’s see, how many days did Wonder Woman miss from work lately? What? 55?

The other reason I sit facing aft is so the maximum number of people will see my hat. It’s obvious to me that most of the NYC ferry passengers are libtards.

However, there are exceptions. The other day an unexpectedly cheerful guy made a friendly remark, the way normal, happy people do, and it turns out he’s an aficionado of the Rockaways –­ a Rockaway hound –­ like me.

While writing this, I instinctively wondered for a millisecond whether I should mention the Rockaways, lest the cat be let out of the bag, but I instantly returned to reality: that cat has been out of the bag for quite a while now. The Rockaways used to be gloriously unknown, a wonderful world unto itself, where only the locals lived and hung out. Then the New York Slimes did a series of articles about the place and word started getting out, and then the hipsters from Williamsburg started descending like locusts, by the thousands, clogging up the beaches, flaunting their tattoos and hipster-speak, like, you know, like, moronically saying “like” every other, like, word. But I will commend them for the fact that most of them do take their trash with them when they leave the beach, which is very important to me, having picked up countless bags of trash from the beach over the years. And, I will admit there are many more good restaurants out there now. So, trade-offs. Whadda ya gonna do.

But I do miss the days when there were only a handful of locals at my secret beach, even on a fine summer day.

Anyway, this guy I’m chatting with seems completely uninterested in, or unconcerned about my hat—as if wearing a MAGA hat is nothing out of the ordinary. The guy obviously lives in Normal Land, because wearing a MAGA hat is nothing out of the ordinary for normal people.

He says that the Rockaways are his “summer home,” tells me that he’s been going out there for decades. I tell him I’m at the beach all the time, too, because I have some garden plots at the Ft. Tilden Community Garden. As I leave the ferry, I urge him to stop by the gardens because there are many friendly, happy people there. He would fit in.

I cannot wait to resume my gardening! This time of year, with the days getting longer and Spring inching closer, a gardener’s thoughts begin seriously turning to the new season. My garden catalogs have been arriving since late January. On a day like today, partly sunny, near 50, I have to chain myself to my desk.

Each year I have a theme. One year it was “vines.” Another year, “fragrance.” Another, “Cosmos” (to attract honeybees and butterflies). One year it was “natural” (I let whatever wanted to come up, come up. Many “weeds,” as you may know, are edible or have medicinal properties). Last year my theme was “beans.”

I haven’t yet decided on a theme for this year, but some very unusual ideas have been percolating around in my mind.

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