Tuesday, August 23, 2011
My heart is wrapped in ice
I’m away in Massachusetts, which allows all of my habits to drift away—good in some ways, bad in the others. Whenever I’m spending time with family I have this tendency to allow guilt to settle down around my shoulders, to believe that I should be doing more for them, with them. It’s mainly guilt that I live so far away from the people I love. There’s also an element of feeling like I’m back to civilization. There are restaurants and stores on every block, sometimes two restaurants in one mini-mall. In the County, I have to drive 24 miles for the nearest egg roll, and fifteen for a diner.
So today we stopped for lobster bisque, and if you’re ever along the southern edge of the Cape, you absolutely must stop for the world’s greatest bisque, at Vell’s. Each bite is like heaven on the spoon. So much lobster is in each bowl, that legend has it the meat from an entire claw was once found at the bottom. I haven’t lived here in years, and not very long then, but parts of it still feel like home—the broiled schrod and stuffed seafood casserole on the menu, the Keno, the cranberry bogs stretching out along the highway.
There are the good parts of civilization, and then the bad. The bad is cable television, so tonight I’m catching up on my Anthony Bourdain, and oddly enough, his feature is Maine. It’s funny how some place looks so much more authentic on television, even when I’ve been living in it for six months now. The people look sexier, the food more delicious, the destinations exotic.
Bourdain featured a restaurant outside of Portland, down east, where everything they serve comes from animals and vegetables grown right on site. They slaughter their hogs and use everything, nose to tail. It looks delicious, and is exactly the kind of thing I’d like to be capable of doing (in ten years). But even that carries the gloss of the screen, when I know the reality is much less sexy, much more hard work. I guess it’s good to be able to look through the eyes of an outsider every once in a while, whether here or there.