My Random Day

Dude get up its time for shachris my roommate gently nudged me. I don’t know how hard you want me to push you. I crawled deeper under the covers, leave me alone, my head is pounding, my head was pounding, I had to pee, no I am not getting up. The yetzer harah was staring me in the face, he was pounding on my head like a jack hammer, blowing drafty air through the small cracks in my windows, preventing me from getting up. Alarm beeping, 7:40am, too early, nothing to do today, only gemara shuir at 8 tonight. Back to bed, cold comfortable, have to pee still, sleep comes easily. Awoken by self, watch says 10:20, have to pee real bad, jump out of bed, house is damned cold, feet on floor real cold. Back into bed contemplating last nights conversation with father, screaming followed by loneliness and slight depression, cant find job, feel like I will be jobless forever, cant get into grad school its too late. No ambition, father only pays rent nothing else, father screaming at me to go get a life, I feel alone and crappy. Now I feel good, sun is blaring through my frosted windows, I hear tires on wet pavement, snow, more then a dusting less then a coating, inch maybe half who knows. What should I do, I wrap my tefilin still thinking what to do. I daven with no kavana, een though I kick myself because I should have kavana for finding job or something intellectually stimulating, but no kavana comes.

Blue bowl, white spoon, milk browning with swirls of cinnamon from cinnamon toast crunch, good sweet crunchy, not that filling. Windproof fleece, regular pants and wool socks, extra roll of film, winter hat gloves, cd case with only jazz and funk, couple bottles of water and a siddur for the glove compartment. 87 north, windy as all hell, snow is gone, air is cold, puffy cumulous clouds moving swiftly above, wind is rattling my roof rack and blowing my car side to side. I debate whether I should have brought a bike, I decide its too late since I am 15 miles already, tires hum on pavement, wind rattles roof rack, Tony Bennet sings beautifully with smooth bi band backing him up, phone is off, seat heater is on toasting my behind and lower back, heat for legs and upper body is on #2. I am going north to Saratoga maybe and then west, I still haven’t decided. I want to end up in Gloversville, never wandered the ex-glove capital, maybe there will be some nice old houses and factories to photograph, maybe even some good well kept main street type buildings, I have passed through recently and saw in the slowly fading sunlight some very stately looking mansions and some abandoned mills in the foreground sparking my interest and forcing me to come back to have a closer look, I will walk the city I decide as I turn onto route 29 west, I know of an abandoned mill coming up, I have taken black and whites of white but never color.

Ah, the mill still stands, abandoned, but n good shape, small square smokestack jutting out made of red brick, sluiceway goes underneath building from top of waterfall, I can see the gates preventing water from entering the sluice, I wonder what type of mill this was, sawmill possibly- though its quite small and the area is not heavily logged, hmm, I am freezing, the wind is coming off the small creek and making a racket of the loose window screens and old wooden side buildings. A pile of coal, interesting, coal at a mill, the whole point of a mill is to harness the natural water power, why coal, heat possibly, hmm wonder when work ceased here, no people around to ask questions of its history, make a note route 29 mill near Rock City Falls. To Gloversville I think, as my numb self hops back into the warm shell of steel awaiting for me by the side of the creek before it drops 20 feet to form the water power for this fine piece of relatively new mill architecture, judging from materials and overgrowth it couldn’t be more then 20 years abandoned.

The road twists and winds through the sub-Adirondack region slightly below the Great Sacandaga Lake, the county changes to Fulton and I am route 29a that takes me into downtown Gloversville, a city of by my guess around 30,000 though I could be wrong, Gloversville was obviously judging b main street alone a very wealthy town at one point. Several beautiful old churches large banks and very grand old hotels dot main street, a large stretch about ½ mile long in each direction is made up of old 3-4 story walkup buildings with store fronts. Some empty but most of them occupied proving the town still experiences some sort of business in the downtown area unlike most towns of he modern age. The large corporation has yet to destroy this mini area of commerce, a few restaurants, a coin shop, some clothing stores and banks welcome the visitor to the area. I parked by coincidence in front of a rather large shull. No there are no frum Jews in Gloversville or Johnstown for that matter, but at one point there was, I even went out on two shidduch dates with a girl originally from Amsterdam- not far down the road from here.

I walked, the wind was chilling to the bone, now this was winter, no it wasn’t the temperature was only 30 degrees, not very cold at all, the wind was biting, I pulled my hat closer to my eyes, my fingers were numb as I adjusted my lens and snapped several pictures of different interesting buildings on main street, I walked a little further and found a glove factory Zimmers Gloves, Jewish maybe? I found some more old mills and enjoyed the architecture immensely due to their original windows, bit window fan, don’t know why, I just like old windows, especially when the power lines reflect off of them- you can see it in my pictures. The cold was biting, Daily Gazette, why not I think as I pull the door and feel a rush of warm air almost immediately welcoming me inside to enjoy this momentary respite from the bleak abandonment of downtown amidst this cold winters day.

Two dreary looking men, one with a button up sweater mustache and a long face, the other sitting down glasses, gray hair, pleasantly plumb and semi authoritative. I was just wandering the area and was photographing the industrial architecture and was wondering if you can point me in the right direction. Oh yes the pan am tannery and this and that, go to South McNab you’ll find exactly what your looking for, don’t worry about trespassing because the state owns them anyways.

Back in my car, some urban smooth jazz blaring with its heavy bass, low volume though, background music to compete with the 3rd gear growl from the good old Subaru, 229.671 miles. South McNab, ah I see I see, I think excitedly, I park and look out, a rather long mill complex that is not so abandoned, blue collar trashy fat people in jeans and sweatshirts smoke cigarettes on break, a few pickups with their engines running and occupants waiting for someone parked outside, hmm I wonder if their shifts end at 2. The pickups leave and the smokers disperse. I park and to my right is a large red barn/mill/industrial complex, it is abandoned, trees and shrubbery grows every where, between concrete pilings and cracked windows and hanging graffiti ridden doors. Must find a way in, rather small creek to the right, very small, too small to power large mill machinery perhaps, hmm, I wonder what kind of mill this is? Mill has several different buildings, judging from building style and materials they are from different times, cinderblock building, wood, and red brick with those creepy Romanesque arched windows, normal mill windows in the wood part. Slightly opened garage door invites me in, scared of potential crack heads beating me up, no footprints in the virgin snow coating reveal its safe for me to wander in this abandoned complex. Head lamp on my head, extra roll of film, no flash damnit, maybe sunlight will be good enough, should have brought my tripod. Large room with hard wood floor and huge cylinder barrels line the wall, almost look like hollow water wheels, they are empty and turned at one point, hmm, shinning light into its darkened depths reveals nothing. I walk some more, the wind slams a door shut and I jump, oh shit, will someone rape me and leave me for dead, nope just the wind. I walk around the elevated first floor and then decide to go to basement. A huge messy room with tons of huge black plastic sheets on top of each other awaits, papers scattered about, an old Victories Secret catalog lies in the rubble, I pick up an invoice, 1973, almost perfect condition, most of them are from 1973, the catalog is from the 80s, women with fuzzy hair in Jack Lalane style workout clothing. I smell leather and immediately realize these piles of plastic are full sheets of leather, ah so it’s a tannery I surmise, and those barrels must have been for tanning leather hide to make it workable to be made into gloves, interesting.

I am back on the road, I end up going south to Johnstown. I wander back streets close to downtown Johnstown. I figure back in the day the fancier homes were the owners of the industry and they wanted to be relatively close to their enterprises, usually one side of main street is drab other side of the tracks style and looks like it was always ghetto, then you switch sides and all of the sudden it’s a haven of the wealthy with huge mansions with guest houses and pillared homes and all sorts of wealth displayed nonchalantly. This applies to most small cities at least in upstate NY. I see some old Victorian home painted purple with a huge tree house in front that is almost as big as a house I once lived in.

Driving home I decided on a detour, a detour to the east side of Great Sacandaga Lake, the inaccessible side, the county road side, the Batchllerville side, the twisty road side, forcing me to stick it in 3rd and 4th. The lake is over the edge, the sides are coated in ice, weird ice formations on the trees and boats that rock back in forth in its mean waves, the southern Adirondacks loom in the distance bare of snow in January and rarity I think. I hit a county road that will take me back to civilization and kick it into gear up the sandy half paved, rutted, washboard road. Miles go by without power lines or houses, just logging roads and dirt bike trails. An old abandoned house with rusting hulks of automobiles from a past era looms ahead at the crest of a hill, crunching on honey wheat pretzel sticks, wondering what’s for dinner, pasta with that new eggplant sauce from Emirils maybe, or tofu with peanut sauce, maybe curried potatoes, my saliva starts coming up, eating more pretzels grinding out the mush in my mouth. Thrust onto route 50 south to Scotia, route 5 east it is as I turn on the road that will take me to my parmesan cheese destination, ghetto, lots of ghetto black folks hanging out in downtown Schenectady waiting for busses or maybe just chilling, Deep Purple is blasting now, I drive through Schenectady past liquor stores, auto parts stores, car dealerships, adult video stores, quicki- marts, cars with rims, thugs with hanging pants, red cobble stone to try and make it appear village like, red bricks aint fooling me, nice new paving, beckoning people to the hood to buy a 40 maybe or hang out and chill, maybe pass the jug around that sort of thing. $2.43 a gallon, wow ten cents cheaper then 8 miles down the road b y my house. Looks like Chinese rice noodles extra firm tofu and peanut sauce wins, a little dab of tamari sauce and a few cookies.