On my summer vacation I slept on a two-cushion loveseat that Peter Dinklage could have barely reclined comfortably on- my legs were necessarily akimbo and splayed all night, but I woke up feeling fine. I slept in the spare bed of total strangers in Blacksburg, VA, and I walked four miles to drink a beer alone, eavesdrop on cerebral college-town dwellers, and watch a parade of drunken, wobbling students. I attempted, and failed, at seeing a friend in Brooklyn, though I succeeded in something I had vowed never to attempt: piloting a car in Manhattan.
I looked out on Long Island Sound at sunset.
I travelled by car, bike, plane, bus, and ferry. I folded a flag for the first time in years, and I went on two twenty-mile bike rides. I paddled a kayak and sailed a Hobie Cat and something called a Rhodes 19 (sailors will know). When I “sail,” I pull what the captain tells me to pull, slack what she tells me to slack, and duck when she tells me to duck. I saw an old friend and his family. I applied a lot of sunscreen, drank a lot of beer, and went to the local wine shop probably a half-dozen times. I drank a Swartland rose, a great white burgundy, a Billecart-Salmon blanc de blancs grand cru, and a magnum of a fine 2010 Langhe nebbiolo- all with eager help. I ate Lady Chatterly and Beau Soleil oysters. I heard my sixty-nine year old mother claim she’s not a raw oyster person before admitting she had never tried one. I also watched as she downed four in quick succession.
I read about Bush and Cheney, about paddling to Nantucket, and about the second amendment. I got laid. I ate an unctuous smoked pork belly with black pepper grits, a poached egg, and pickled tangerine. I heard kids cry, and I heard them squeal. I went to a wine bar called Mersault, where I couldn’t resist pointing out a (glaring, to me) mistake on the list to the proprietor; my rationale was that I would have wanted to know.
I ate the following sandwiches: vegetable and cheese, grilled cheese, egg salad, clam “po’” boy ($19), bay scallop roll, sardine, and smoked turkey. I also had a pickle that I fermented myself.
I forgot to plan for my road trip, so I listened to Cold Roses by Ryan Adams four times all the way through. It’s still my favorite, and I am going to put it on again right now. I listened to Rush Limbaugh and Dinesh d’Souza and some radio preacher who will, if you buy his “Visiting Israel” dvds, show you where the Battle of Armageddon “will take place.” I also played a lot of Mad Libs. I pissed outside.
I was given a tutorial on Ancestry.com, and got hooked. I found out where in San Francisco my great-great-grandfather lived after he moved from Dijon, and that he was a vigneron and vintner.
“At fifty, every man has the face he deserves.” George Orwell said that, but I read it in a Paul Theroux book.
I watched someone cut in line and didn’t say anything. I regret it a little, but I wasn’t in the mood for it. No one died.
I shaved- only once.
I saw Galactic at a place called the Chicken Box.
Here’s what I didn’t do: go to the doctor. I did not take a pill, laxative, or stool softener. I did not get blood drawn, go to a hospital, or get irradiated.
It was a good trip.