Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/11/16: The Sube Needs a Doctor, Decisions at Old Line, Who is This Restaurant For?

1.  Today I took charge of things.  No moping around. I got some things done around the apartment home and slid into the Sube and started to head down to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and as I left the Beltway to get on to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, the Sube started acting up and I could smell something burning. I had thought the Sube acted funny on my trip north of Baltimore on Saturday, but I couldn't put my finger on it, but today I put my finger, my palm, my forearm, and my elbow on it.  I reversed field, drove the short distance back to Greenbelt, and went straight to the mechanics at the Sunoco station.  Immediately, they diagnosed the problem:  the Sube needs a new clutch -- and Jens told me they don't do clutch work in their garage, so talk Mike or Joe next door at Greenbelt Truck and Auto Repair. I did. Mike sprang to his feet, took me into the garage, took an old clutch he had just replaced out of a bucket, explained what, no doubt, was going on with mine, and then told me to go hang out for a half an hour while he gave the Sube a road test to make sure. I piled up some steps on my pedometer,  returned to the garage, he had the estimate ready to go, and I told him I'd call him in the morning with a decision.

I was very pleased that both Jens and Mike knew immediately what was going on with the Sube, that Mike took so much time to explain things to me, and that these two garages, competitors, have some level of cooperation between them.

2.  The Deke is using the Diazes' Element while Hiram is on tour, so not only do we have a car as a back up to the Sube being on the disabled list, the Deke has Yom Kippur off on Wednesday, and had decided before the car trouble to stay at our apartment home.  So, after school, she buzzed by our apartment complex, picked me up, and we went to Old Line for a couple of beers and some happy hour food and talked about cars and money and the present and the future and whether to have the Sube repaired. We are going forward with the repair.

3.  The podcast The Sporkful is underway with a series of episodes entitled, "Who Is This Restaurant For?". Host Dan Pashman along with Kat Chow of Code Switch interview a variety of people and explore the coding in restaurants, details that signal who is welcome, with particular emphasis on what races and cultures are welcome or might feel welcome. The first episode, "Us vs Them" was of particular interest to me because Pashman and Chow visited three Washington, D. C. spots, Sankofa Video Books and Cafe near Howard University, the newly opened Slim's Diner in Petworth, and the original Busboys and Poets at 14th and V. Pashman and Chow talked with the proprietors and with customers and I arrived at a better understanding not only of the racial and cultural complexities of restaurants, but of the racial and cultural complexities and changes in Washington, D. C., especially as gentrification continues.

I thought a lot about how I never faced any of these racial or cultural tensions growing up in Kellogg -- but  I thought about subtle and not so subtle social class hierarchies in Kellogg (and, later in my life, Coeur d'Alene, Eugene, and Spokane), and realized that, indeed, the bars, cafes, and restaurants were inviting to some, didn't welcome others, and that there were places where I felt out of place either because I felt inferior or because the people there felt dangerous to me.  I thought about a handful of bars in Kellogg where I never went -- I used to think of them as knife joints, whether they were or not -- and how I avoided similar places Coeur d'Alene, Spokane, and Eugene.  I didn't go to other places that felt too rich to me, or, if I did, I never felt at ease.  I wondered if I belonged there, and in answer to the question, "Who is this restaurant for?", I often thought, in these fancier places, not me.

No comments: