Monday, August 23, 2010

My Summer Vaction -- Redux

Almost made it there in 10 hours, but hit a traffic jam at Exit 40-A on the Merritt Parkway, and it took me another hour and a half to go the last 10 miles of the trip . . . how ridiculous is that?

My right leg was covered in chigger bites from an attack in the previous week while doing yard work in NC, so everyone in CT either politely averted their eyes from my diseased looking leg, or they blatantly stared and asked “What is WRONG with you leg?” To which I answered, “Chigger bites.” To which they asked, “What are Chiggers? I have never heard of THAT?” I told them it was a Southern thing and they wouldn’t understand. Mainly they were afraid it was something they might catch from me.

On the first day, I ate lunch with J. and his children Max and Margo at Gold’s Delicatessen. I had a Ham and Swiss on Rye.

J. said he hates Swiss and then told me a funny story about having lunch with his father two weeks before: “So I’m at my father’s house and he asks me if I want a ham sandwich. I tell him yeah, sounds good. He brings me the sandwich. I say to him, is that Swiss cheese? You know I don’t like Swiss Cheese. He says No, that’s Jarlsberg!” After he told me the story, I wondered if it was some old Odd Couple routine and not an actual thing that happened between him and his father. We had just been talking about the Odd Couple, the show vs. the movie. He said he liked the show better than the movie and I said I liked the movie better than the show. So I wondered if he told me that to test my knowledge of the show, not the movie, cause I know its not a scene in the movie. And so I don’t know whether it was really a lie or not.

We walked on the beach with Max and Margo after lunch -- Max didn’t want to get his feet dirty walking in the sand and wanted to go home and watch TV instead, but I negotiated with him. I told him I don’t live near the beach, so walking on the beach would be really special for me. Max gave in. While standing on the jetty at Compo Beach, we saw the biggest sea gull we had ever seen before -- he was positively gigantic. He was Albatrosss-sized. He flew off and landed on some rocks covered in gulls in the distance. He landed on the peak of the rocks and flapped his wings and the other gulls knelt before him. We declared him King of the Gulls. I was certain he was an absent friend and actually not a bird at all, he was a magical thing really.

Later that evening, I put on a dress and there was some drunken idiocy that took place. Earlier in the evening, I had declined to go to the Mohican casino in eastern CT with J. on the grounds that it might cause a controversy, but now that I think about it, I should have gone to the casino and lost some money at the roulette table instead of participating in the drunken lunacy. But who knows what’s really the right choice in a circumstance like that? And I hadn’t read my Free Will horoscope for the week, so I was without cosmic guidance . . . and my absent friend was flying over the Long Island Sound in the form of a gigantic sea gull and so I couldn’t text him and ask for advice. You see?

The next day was spent running from my host’s cleaning lady and her extremely loud vacuum cleaner, which wouldn’t have been so bad if my head had not been so swollen with grapes. I tried lying on a chaise by the pool, in the shade, listening to the one cricket singing to all of Westport, but the pool guy arrived and so I had to go back in the house and lay in my guest bed and pile pillows over my head and hope that someone might stop by and kill me to relieve the pain.

By sundown, I had driven myself to Westport Pizzeria where I ordered two slices and a mozzarella salad and a Coke on ice and this caused my head to return to normal size and I went to a reunion party -- 60 or so people whom I rode horses with as a girl. Hadn’t seen them in 30 odd years. I sipped ginger ale as they repeated my mistake of the previous evening. I found out that some of them still ride and some of them have children and don’t ride and some of them were actually afraid of horses all along and now that they are grown up they are not afraid to admit that, and some of them are still quite mean and rude, and some of them are so lovely that I wish they lived nearby so I could talk to them at least once a week. It was a like a Fairfield Fellini film, La Dolce Vida with a preppy attitude and finger sandwiches.

Somewhere in there I had a fight with my sister, by text. A first for me. I do not recommend fighting with anyone by text. Fight in person or scream into the phone, but a fight really loses all its oooomph and meaning by text. You would think the nasty one liners would take on a special quality, but they fizzle by the time they reach their destination and leave you wanting for more emotional release. Which makes me think that I should say something clever about sexting now, but I won’t.

With no hangover the following day I felt unfettered and spent most of the day lying in the sun with my host and another childhood friend who had also recovered from the drunken idiocy of two nights before and we shared our utter relief at the fact that we were not dead and we celebrated by diving into the pool and declaring it too cold and then lying in the sun again and declaring that we were burning up, so we dove into the pool and declared that we were FREEEEZING and then we looked at our host and she made us lunch, which was so charitable of her that we decided to go out to dinner that evening and I announced that I would pick up the check so everyone would be my dates. And I also declared there would be no drunken idiocy, just idle chit chat over expensive rich food. Our host’s daughter picked the spot and she declared that the owner was indeed HOT for her and so we, of course, wanted to go to this place and see who this person was.

I made good on the dinner date -- although I suffered a relapse of the spins and nausea due to a Caesar salad that believed that Anchovies must be the first and most apparent ingredient and my entire constitution was enveloped by Anchovies and the effervescent effect of my lovely glass of prosecco was of no use and to make matters worse, they put us at a table in the mezzanine section so we had to use our compact mirrors to spy on the action below. But the evening was not a complete loss as we did get to observe the owner who is apparently taken with my host’s daughter and he was quite something to watch, with his tailored shirt and his Euro pecs, which we threatened to lay our hands upon, much to the horror of my host’s young daughter, and the more horrified she was concerning our attention to the man, the more attention we gave to him, because what is better than embarrassing a friend’s daughter? Really? It just makes you crazy with power to make a 24 year old girl horrified by your loud voice and your silly behavior. It made me sad not to have a daughter of my own whom I could embarrass on a daily basis!

There was some incident in which I drove a BMW the wrong way up a one way street, and I was the designated driver in this instance, another first for me, so perhaps that should also be a last?

Two mornings were spent in bliss over toasted onion bagels with 1/2 the cream cheese from Oscar’s . . .

I spent a delightful morning at the FCHC horse show with one of my most loyal blog readers and his lovely little girl who was riding her darling show pony that day and the discussion was lively and civilized, and as though we were old friends, which may be due to the fact that he reads this blog, so how wonderful is that. Ain’t the cyber world interesting?

There was a long walk at the Longshore Club one morning with the host’s daughter who was not holding any grudges with me over the embarrassment of the previous night and thankfully she drove the overly complicated BMW to get us to our walk . . . the idea of a car that asks you to sign a waiver before you put it in first gear is really beyond the beyond for me, and maybe for you dear readers. The first part of the walk was no walk at all but a leisurely lingering in great big adirondack chairs overlooking the water where we watched the sun urge sailors to sail. We observed a man and a woman running toward the sailing school and there, from a distance, we saw a crowd of people gather with various canvas bags and sailing gear readying for school, sailing school, which is really the only type of school I would like to attend now, now in my old age. Don’t you just like the sound of it? Sailing . . . School. Who taught us that Cellar Door sounded beautiful? Was it E.B. White? I agreed. But now I believe that Sailing School has the same feel on the tongue and in my mind.

We sat on the dock at some point and tried to figure out the nature of a grey junk vessel named The Gloria out on the water -- she did not look seaworthy at all, and yet my young friend and I liked her, we fancied the idea of spending a day on The Gloria on the Sound. We became dizzy as we sat on the dock and I spied a little cedar sail boat that I believed might be the most perfect little sail boat I had ever seen and I didn’t take its picture, because these days we take pictures of everything we like with our phone cameras and this little boat didn’t deserve that, she deserved to just live in my head and I promised myself I would let my absent friend know about her. And just before we became so disoriented by the movement of the water and the steadiness of the dock, a man came along with a box of Dunkin’ Donuts and he asked us if we had ordered the donuts and we screwed up our faces at him and he laughed and jumped on to his lovely sharp speed boat and admitted that he was delivering the donuts to his son and some 10 other boys who had camped out on Cockenoe Island for the night. I wanted to go on the voyage with him to deliver the donuts and see the boys who had spent the terrific cool night on the island, but instead we watched him motor away, leaving a little wake of olive and white water and it occurred to me that those donuts would make excellent bait.

Some time later The Starbucks Incident took place and this was unfortunate, but amusing all the same and because it is not resolved yet, it will remain unexplained.

And somewhere during all this I saw a friend who I hadn’t seen in 20 years and I met his fiancee and we discovered something amusing -- we both drive red Ford trucks, although his truck is far more impressive than mine . . . a red F250 on mad high off-road tires always trumps a red Ranger on run-of-the-mill city tires. But it proved somehow that we have always been of like-mind, even though we are completely different in all other ways, and this was confirming of the way the universe works, its cosmic effects that we poo-poo so often really exist. It also confirmed that old friends live inside one another somehow.

My most enlightened observation of the week? What does my hometown smell like in August? Like walking to school.

And then? I drove home, on a Sunday, against my better judgment and I was surrounded by families in minivans for as far as the eye could see and it took me 12 hours to get to my southern home, but I was glad of my return, more so than ever. Let Fall come now . . . she is ready.


T.S. Dogfish said...

Like walking to school! Very nice. I walked to: Burr Farms elementary; Long Lots Junior High School and Staples (Home of the "Wreckers" or the Wreckless or the Homewreckers or something . . .)

P.S. I like to eat anchovies wrapped around capers. I'll eat an entire tin of them and then look around for more.

wolfy said...

i walked to Burr Farms, Long Lots, and Staples until i got the bug, then i drove like a mad girl, i should have given you a ride!

maybe the capers make the anchovies not so anchovy . . .