Sunday, July 04, 2010

Independence Day

Holy mother of God, is that poison oak right there? How could I not have seen it? What the hell was I thinking? Beautiful picture, though. Was it worth it? No.

At the dining room table today, after spending all night last night on the red-eye from California back to Marion, Massachusetts. Someone’s snoring loudly in the next room, and behind that is the noise of the television, back on after I’ve had a wee break from it, some talk show making fun of a size-twenty woman who smothers people for a living. I hate it. Back into the world of female objectification and life by proxy.

Anthony Bourdain was my choice earlier in the day, and maybe I just succumbed to the lure of cable because of the three hours of sleep I had last night. Even those Travel Channel shows with their excellent writing drive me crazy, though. The shots of the Caribbean? I want to be there, on Secret. Jamaica? I want to be the one buying jerk chicken from a guy on the street corner. I don’t like living vicariously through other people. It’s such a contrast from the actual living I’ve spent the last week doing.

I also need to get my hands on some antihistamine, and stat. I have poison oak pus oozing through my jeans. Awesome, right? When I was dodging all of the poky plants in California, I neglected to remember the other ways that coastal plants have of attacking. Actually, I didn’t forget about the noxious poison oak at all. I remembered very, very clearly from the debacle of the bicycle trip along the coast in 2005. I kept my eyes wide open for it at all times. I even did extensive research before I left, to remind myself of what it looked like. But still, somehow, I must have forgotten, because I am vastly in need of prednisone.

On the plus side, I had a great Fourth, despite my exhaustion, sleeplessness, and uncontrollable itch. My ticket back here was extremely cheap—if you’re looking to fly to California, try the red-eye on a national holiday—and I was able to spend the day in the sun and at a friend’s vast barbecue, complete with mini-sliders, crab puffs, and a giant pallet bonfire. I haven’t been back up to Marion for more than a year, and it’s great to see everyone here, to remember the things that are amazing about New England, things like lobster bisque and authentic chowder made from real quahogs and swimming in the Atlantic in July. Not to mention the land-purchase options.

I have an option up here, potentially, for a free house in Calais, Maine. It’s an old house, from the 1800s, in need of repair, but along the coast. It belongs to a friend of a friend that doesn’t want to pay taxes anymore, and houses in similar condition go for only $10,000 anyway, but on this one I’d only need to pay the closing costs. My main point of doubt is: winter. Can I deal with it again? Is all the seafood and the ocean worth it? I can’t decide.

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