World Travels, Part Two
The past 2 weeks have been a blur of traveling! I’ll start with the most recent episode first. Jesse (Tanya’s Cousin) and Didi got married this past weekend in Maine. I rode up with Laura & Jack and the Kid. It’s a 5 hour car trip since this was near Bangor. Since Jesse and Didi are big fans of pie, they decided to have lots of pies at the reception in lieu of a traditional cake. Thus Laura spent all day Friday making pies while I occupied the Tiny Terror’s attention. We set off with the car full of pie for the Great Not-Yet-White North around 7:00 and got to the site sometime after midnight. I was in heaven– I was in a car surrounded by pie! Then I realized, wait, I can’t actually eat the pie. Perhaps this was the other place; not heaven!
The festivities took place at a boy scout camp (J & D met there or something, I forget the story), so most of us stayed in the rather rustic cabins there. Now northern Maine has a slightly different climate from Boston’s, something that I must have taken into consideration at some point because I checked the weather there 5 times before I left. For some reason, though, I only looked at the daytime high temperature. I didn’t think about checking the low temperatures, not remembering that they would definitely affect people staying in cabins that are normally used just in the summer.
I stumbled through the pitch black woods to the cabin with Rob after we unloaded the pies, completely disoriented. Jack, Laura & The Kid were staying in a hotel because they really didn’t want to deal with a still jet-lagged baby in these provincial conditions and who could blame them? I, still dressed in my light cotton capri pants and a t-shirt because it had been 70 degrees and sunny in Boston, huddled around the campfire, frequently rotating to expose all sides of my body to the heat, much like one would roast a marshmallow. I finally put on all my 21st century clothes at once (this was a Victorian themed wedding and I had made a dress, more on that later) and climbed into my trusty sleeping bag. Once inside I realized that I had no idea what the temperature rating on the bag was. I inherited it from a former housemate years ago and had only field tested it in summer months, or whilst crashing in buildings featuring heating systems. I discovered fairly rapidly that it is definitely not rated for mid-October nights in northern Maine. I was OK if I scrunched my body into a fetal position with my head inside the bag and then didn’t do things like move, twitch, or breathe lest I expose a piece of body to the frigid pockets of air that were lurking in every fold and crease of the bag. Plus, as I always camped with Pad, and he is a purist, I didn’t bring a pillow. Pillows are for wimps. You stuff clothing into your sleeping bag sack and use that if your dainty little head needs anything at all. Well, it worked fine for my 12-year-old self, but my 37-year-old self woke up shivering at 4:00 a.m. with a major stiff neck from being oddly wedged against the rail of the top bunk and the lumpy zipper of my cotton pants which were the only article of clothing I wasn’t wearing and therefore had stuffed into the sack.
I woke up at 4 a.m. with pains in my neck and specks of cold around my body that threatened to expand should I accidentally sneeze or if the earth rotated or anything. Below me and across the narrow aisle from me my cabin mates were snoring like twin buzzsaws, often in unison, occasionally in harmony. The sounds coming from the lower bunk across the almost person-width aisle were lighter, gentler snores, kind of like my cat’s, only more manic. As I lay there contemplating the chilly absolute blackness, I thought to myself, “THIS FUCKING SUCKS!”
I then came to another realization. I had never been this miserable with sleeping conditions before. Now I have slept in some pretty unfavorable conditions. Always a traveler on a budget, I’ve caught Z’s in my share of doorways, train station floors, airport benches, decks of ferry boats, buses and pretty much any other transportation vehicle out there. I slept on the road in the scrubby, dusty desert when my truck broke down in northern Kenya. I’ve camped all over and crashed on the floors of friends with all manner of crappy, dirty, cramped and loud apartments (my favorite being when I slept on a pile of dirty clothes at a place Squeals lived for a time). I’ve stayed in sketchy hotels, motels, B & Bs, pensiones, hostels and YMCAs all over the world. If your B&B doesn’t have a surly bearded woman grunting while shoving indescribable bread products at you in the morning, you’re not really traveling! –that’s my motto. However, no matter the circumstances, I never really minded because I don’t care about accommodations. I can sleep anywhere. If you get a crappy night’s sleep, you get up the next morning, have a cup of tea and try to find a way to not repeat it that night.
So the fact that I woke up thinking THIS SUCKS was kind of significant. I feel like I’ve reached another one of life’s milestones, like finding a grey hair, paying taxes, or losing a tooth. I have become Old and Wimpy. Maybe this means I’ve grown up? Maybe it means I’m wealthy and used to living the Good Life? At any rate, staying in a bunkbed in a drafty cabin when the temperature is predicted to be in the 20’s is no longer a goal in my book! Needless to say, I crashed the next night on Laura’s and Jack’s hotel room floor.
The wedding itself was really nice! I am notorious for hating weddings. For a spell, when many of my friends and acquaintances were becoming espoused, I made a hobby of avoiding weddings. I am generally not a fan of things involving hordes of people engaging in mass outpourings of trite, sentimental platitudes. However, this wedding was a mixture of traditional and funky hippiness– there was humor in it, and I dig humor. I think I just get twitchy when I am surrounded by people who are taking something really really seriously when I’m not. I mean, weddings in my mind should be fun! They shouldn’t just be exercises in spewing hackneyed statements to people whom you purposely haven’t seen in decades as some tend to be. This wedding was outdoors in the sunshine (it warmed up to the low 50s by then), and the scenery was beautiful. Though rather frosty, Maine is beautiful at this time of year– it was by a small lake and all the trees were turning colors. It was a postcard perfect day (if you disregarded the breeze which seemed to come from all directions at once).
The reception was in the camp dining hall. Being a token single person, I always get put at the Random Leftover People table. Usually this table includes that great-uncle you had to invite to keep family harmony, some co-workers and maybe an old family friend or two. At this wedding, the random folks were actually pretty cool. One chick made her own Victorian-oid garb and she was funny and interesting. Her husband was wearing a vintage military uniform from the 1880s with a kilt. He bought me drinks all night, too. They were pretty cool. Of course I can’t remember their names for the life of me, but they were pretty chill.
The wedding was sort of Victorian themed, so I spent forever making an outfit for it. It turned out that Laura and I were the only ones in full Victorian garb– a few people (like the chick at my table) had made efforts– a blouse here, a skirt there– but I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb. Plus, I have not made an article of clothing since I was a teenager, so it wasn’t holding together that well in places. I do feel like I accomplished something in making it, though. It makes me look like a school marm, but a lot of the fashion of that era has that look.
Anyway… I’m back home now after 2 weeks of travelling. Though I love The Kid to pieces, I’m happy to have a day away from him!