Rumney: Labor Day 2006
September 3rd 2006
Sunday, September 3rd 2006. As called for by the prognosticators of meteorological destiny, we awoke to rain. Or rather, the imminent, pregnant threat of rain. The sky was weepy, it's eyes welled with tears and it's lower lip quivering. Finally, the dam burst and the moisture flowed. Not a deluge, but a gentle drizzle; just enough, combined with the overnight showers, to ruin the day.
Alternate plans were quickly developed. Most chose to demonstrate their lack of good sense by not coming in out of the rain and going on a long hike. Andy chose to stick around the campsite and tend to the fire. Babs and I headed to Plymouth to seek a new dinner venue (Plain Jane's is closed on Sunday evenings), forage for inexpensive staples and toys in the local Wal-Mart (Manhattan being bereft of such big box commercial entities means we are opportunistic shoppers in this regard) and track down an Internet connection. Plymouth is a cute little (and I do mean little) college town and as such has the requisite coffee shop. In this case it's the Cafe Monte Alto , complete with WiFi and attached sandwich shop. We parked ourselves there, sucked down some Peruvian Java Juice and I composed much of the tripe you've just read. Hitherto, I never really understood the attraction of writers to coffee shops. (Bear in mind that I consider myself a "writer" like an English major pecking away at an Excel spreadsheet would consider themselves a "programmer"). It's the combination of caffeine and the splendid isolation one feels when alone in a crowded room; sufficient distraction (especially attractive coeds) to prevent boredom yet not so much that the mind is drawn from the creative process. Nicotine must have provided an additional kick back in day when delivery systems such as cigarettes were allowed. The lack thereof might explain much of the dreck published today.
Eventually we grew weary of the coffee shop scene -- me of my writing and Babs of her reading -- and headed back to camp to see how Andy was faring. Along the way we stopped at the Mary Baker Eddy House , located near the cliffs on the way to the parking lot. Anyone who's climbed in Rumney has seen the sign for the house. I stopped and took a look. I also stop to read historical markers. This is the way I am; it is who I am; the way of my people. My wife is a patient soul. Anyway. For those that do not already know, Mary Baker Eddy is the founder of Christian Science (I am not a disciple, just curious). The house is a small structure, typical of mid nineteenth century New England construction and is currently undergoing some major exterior renovations. The sign on the door indicated it was open for business so we knocked and were greeted by a tall, scholarly, bespectacled gentleman. He gave us a quick tour of the house, such as it was, and chatted for a while. He's a journalist recently relocated from SoCal to New England and is working a book of unknown topic. Judging by his loquacity it doesn't seem like he gets a lot of visitors. He has yet to experience a New England winter. Note To Self: Check back next year to see if he's gone tapioca and hacked some unsuspecting tourists to death with a meat cleaver or ax or something. Seems nice enough, but then, so did Nicholson .
After checking in with Andy, Susan and the rest of the crew at camp we did an about face and headed back to Plymouth for dinner. The choice for the night was The Lucky Dog Tavern and Grill . Good, simple food (burgers, steaks, etc); nothing to write home to mom about, but it was adequate, the service was satisfactory and they have a decent beer selection. One nice touch is a huge block of cheese near the front door complete with bread and crackers, all gratis. We, of course, choose to wait at the bar, but a dirt bag climber with sufficient guile could get a free meal just by hanging around.
On the way home from dinner we stopped by Rite Aid for some staples: Cosmopolitan magazine and wine. (Yes gentle reader, you can buy wine at a drug store in New Hampshire. Live Free or Die.). Susan, who was carpooling with us, insisted on wine and Cosmo to go with tonight's campfire stories – a decision she would come to regret. Andy had suggested a 1997 Opus One , but the store was not so well endowed. Alas.
"One hundred and one sex tricks you must try before you die", I read aloud as I scanned the cover of Susan's Cosmo. Circle Time, sitting around the fire, cleaned and fed after our day of hiking, writing or doing nothing. The intoxicants flow as does the blather. "Number 37", I continue, "When performing the reverse cowboy...". "Uh, maybe you should censor a bit", says Babs, pointing to Ricardo, Richard and Mei Sei's 13 year old son. I scan, censor and stroke my chin contemplatively. Makes me wonder what got rejected. Introduce barn yard animals in to the bedroom or buy a strap-on and surprise your man. "Here's a good one" as I leer at my wife, "number 76, get a Brazilian and show him what you've got". "Don't do it!", exclaims Susan, "that hair is meant for protection, for padding". "I got a laser Brazilian once -- and only once -- and it was horrible". Eh, what's that? Lasers and the Netherlands? Two words that should never appear in the same sentence or thought. [No Mister Bond, I don't expect you to talk, I expect you to die].
And so Circle Time continued late into the night. Topics of Talmudic significance and complexity as well as the subtler aspects of Hegelian Epistemology were discussed. Somewhere between the feasibility of certain yoga positions during love making and Kierkegaardian Existentialism, abetted by copious amounts of The Pappy Van Winkle, Susan had to pee.
"I don't want to miss anything", she says arising. "Don't worry", someone responds, "we'll put a pin in it for you". And she scurries off into the darkness, sans headlamp. The conversation continues in desultory fashion typical of these types of gatherings. Sometimes I sit back, quietly, and observe where a communal pattern of thought has been and where it might go. Are there parallel universes where each branch of a discussion flows to completion, different conclusions reached, minds changed, alternate paths taken? Anyway...
Oh My God. What The %&#@ Was THAT. Holy shite, she FELL IN. She fell in the creek! Eyes wide, we rush to where we last saw her disappear into the inky blackness. She scrambles up the bank, emerging from Neptune's bosom like Venus rising on the half shell; sodden, pants half off (laser Brazilian's are not permanent it would seem, but nice ass). Wet, stringy hair and an equally damp shirt makes for an effective combination of Ft Lauderdale spring-break-sorority-girl and moist Rastafarian. It's a Look, a look that works, at least for crapulent Rastafarian sorority chicks.
“Pull up your pants”, I shout as Wilson readies his camera. “Oh God”, she screams, wiggling herself back in to her jeans. Once decent, Wilson machine guns away, recording the moment for posterity (or perhaps recording her posterior for posterity). The crowd, looking on with shock and awe, roars with laughter. Peels are heard across the campground; fortunately, we're far from seasonal denizens of this place and our hilarity does not arose any ire.
“At least you didn't pee on yourself”, I commented. She looks down, touching to see for herself (remember, it's dark). She may be the only one. Most of us almost had bladder control problems once we realized what had transpired.. “What happened?”, someone asked. “I walked away”, she explained, “and turned left instead of right. I hung onto a tree to keep my balance, slipped and instead of breaking my fall I tumbled down the embankment and into the water. My hip is bruised and swollen and I don't have any more dry clothes. Oh God, this is awful!”. Someone got Susan a towel and she headed to her truck – this time with a headlamp – to see what she could scrounge up to wear.
This woman has 4 houses and over a dozen bathrooms and she's peeing on the ground, in the woods, in complete darkness. And despite an enormous wardrobe and a shoe closet so vast the boxes require Polaroids for identification she literally has nothing to wear. This time irony surrenders.
The topic of conversation for the remainder of the evening is obvious.
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