Wednesday, July 23, 2008

here I am, in the rain

We're in gorgeous scenic Ogunquit, Maine, near the beach and the Marginal Way and Perkins Cove and no end of scenic wonders, and it's POURING FUCKING RAIN and we're holed up in our hotel room eating salt water taffy (I've had so much sugar I feel ill) and watching cable TV. We tried a tapas restaurant, which we found rather disappointing, and I left a note for the chef explaining how to make a tortilla a la espanola.

Thank God we could change our room. The original room we saw overlooked Route 1, and it turns out that watching stop-and-go traffic inch along is almost as stressful as being in stop-and-go traffic. This room faces some maintenance sheds, a small lawn, and a few flowers and trees. MUCH BETTER.

We spent the last couple of days visiting my aunt and uncle up in Embden, Maine, which was really pretty fucking delightful apart from getting horrifically lost on the way up, in rural areas where we had no celphone coverage. I stopped to try to get a giant snapping turtle out of the road, which was a failure. That turtle wasn't going to budge unless it were to take a hunk of meat out of me. I have been trained to calm animals by throwing a towel over them and quickly and efficiently wrapping them up, and I imagined if I threw a big towel over this turtle, it would pull into its shell, I'd move it off the road, and then perhaps it would lick my hand in gratitude and turn its head over its shelly shoulder to watch me depart. Instead, as I tried to throw the towel over it, it lunged drastically and bit at the towel. I changed tactics and tried, toreador style, to lure it off the road. Around this time the Sober Husband's celphone suddenly got a few seconds of coverage, and my worried aunt called, who had expected us hours before. The Sober Husband described what was going on, as I performed my towel dance with the turtle, and my aunt told him to get me to walk away from the dangerous snapping turtle. However, the celphone coverage vanished before he could get better directions.

The subject of directions was a sensitive one, as the Sober Husband felt the emailed directions were a bit inadequate and I'd cautioned him against seeking directions from the locals. "They see that Mass plate" on the rental car I said, "and they'll think you're a Masshole. They're gonna give you the wrong directions."

Finally we found a store with a payphone, difficult as that was, and arranged for my uncle to meet us and show us how to reach his vacation home. After a day spent largely cooped up in the car, with the stress of being lost in remote central Maine, we finally arrived, where we were feted properly. The grown-ups ended up staying up late and getting quite drunk.

The next day my uncle introduced us to the joys of ATV riding. I was a complete loser at this (despite arguably being the best car driver), driving into a tree and losing my nerve. The Sober Husband, however, took to it fairly quickly. He ended up going on an hours long off-road trail ride (after a few bourbons) with my uncle and niece, including quite a lot of riding through deepish water. He came back elated and wired.

We also had a giant lobster feast. I explained to Iris Uber Alles that a lobster is an insect and that I didn't consider eating a lobster different than her swatting a fly (and Iris Uber Alles was indeed vengefully hunting flies with an electric flyswatter in Maine). This rationalization was promptly rejected by Iris and Lucy, who refused to taste the lobsters. "I just can't see why you want to sit around EATING CORPSES," Iris said caustically in the midst of our meal. (I am often criticized for raising my children as vegetarians, but no one ever seems to realize that I am not the alpha vegetarian in my home. I am the delta vegetarian at best, but at least I rank ahead of the Sober Husband, who actually eats dead mammals on a fairly regular basis).

"We're going to turn these girls into little rednecks", said my uncle, and the girls are indeed ready to move to rural Maine, aside from the lobster-eating. "But how can I go to the School of the Arts if I move to Maine?" Iris puzzled. "Life is full of compromises," I said unhelpfully.

If only it would stop raining, how happy I would be. Tomorrow we'll be attempting to enjoy scenic Ogunquit and hopefully meet up with an old friend of mine from junior high and high school. Five year-old Lucy keeps showing me on the iPhone how the weather is sunny and warm on the West Coast. "You're killing your mother with that thing, killing her," I said.


hughman said...

wait... you eat LOBSTER? this opens up a whole seafood side of you i hadn't dared imagine.

Missy said...

I'm with ate lobster! I'm totally envious.

I think the Sober Husband should have filmed you with the turtle, and posted it to YouTube.

emily said...

Yes, the weather's just been lovely, hasn't it? Hope it clears up for you a little tomorrow :-)

JKG said...

DH: It sounds like things are filling up for you, but if there's time, do get in touch. It would be a shame to miss you since you're here--but there's only so much time.

In other matters, I recommend reading "Consider the Lobster," an essay by David Foster Wallace. It's funny. And it may also alter your position on eating bugs.

FWIW, I regard the fascination with lobster as an early indicator of humanity's swath of destruction: There used to be laws in Maine stipulating that prisoners were to get lobster no more than 3 meals per week. Canned lobster was shipped 'round the continent to the gold-rush in your new home town as cheap protein for miners. Now it's a delicacy (or at least a suitable vehicle for garlic butter).

At the current rate, we'll soon be lining up for sea squirts and kelp.

hughman said...

jim -

i don't see lobster as wealth or status. i just see it as DELICIOUS!!

i loves me some lobster. espcecially raw on some sushi. YUM. i could eat it all day.

or just roasted with some butter. that's fine too.

hughman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M said...

that's really funny to hear that you eat lobster because it is an insect! I can't bring myself to do so because being boiled alive seems horrific to me (I've seen it done by my east coaster relatives many times.)

then again, being classed as an insect is not gonna make me want to eat it (quite the opposite, that's really creepy to me)! and yet, I do gladly horf down fried chicken (which I admittedly think isn't much smarter than the lobsters.) then again I never claimed to be internally consistent.
thanks for the update! BTW the Bunny Birfday party is coming up on Saturday 8/2 - we're doing a Hitchhiker's Guide themed party since we are both turning 42.

hughman said...

the deleted comment was by me since for some reason my same comment was posted twice.

also, "m", that's funny in so much that lobsters may (according to PETA) suffer less than chickens in our quest for food. either way, i eat both. some things are to be eaten and some aren't. i don't judge lions and gazelles either.

Caroline said...

On behalf of the East Coast, I apologize for the weather. We had a beeeaaaayoooooteeeefullll early July. Shoulda seen it. Then a hot'n'humid mid-July. Not so nice, but fun to be in the water. And now? The animals are lining up two by two. Yeah. You can blame global climate change; I sure do. I've lived here all my life and we NEVER had such extremes of wet and dry in my youth.

the Drunken Housewife said...

This weather is sucking so much. It's breaking my heart; the first time I've been to Maine in 12 years and we're getting such bad weather.

As for the lobster, I'm just like Peter Singer, the author of "Animal Liberation" who sparked the modern animal rights movement. He eats shrimp, arguing that it doesn't have a central nervous system, but the truth is that it's because he's from Australia and shrimp are such a part of the culture and cuisine. I argue that a lobster is a bug, it has an exoskeleton and eight legs, so it's no different than swatting a fly; but it's really because I'm from Maine.

I haven't eaten a bird or a mammal since 1986--- over 20 years of perfect vegetarian abstinence there -- but I have gone back and forth on seafood. For years I didn't eat it, but when I got pregnant, I craved seafood so much. My position now is that I try to eat only bugs, no fish.

There are a lot of people who would bitch me out for calling myself a vegetarian when I, once in a blue moon, eat shrimp or lobster or crab.

Epiphany said...

To quote Kurt Cobain:
"It's okay to eat fish cause they don't have any feelings."

Enjoy your lobster, vegetarian boundaries be damned! And I hope you get some nice weather. We're having hurricane season down here in our neck of the woods, but we are overjoyed to be getting the rain....

M said...

well, lobsters really *are* insects - I looked it up. and, I do eat shrimp as well. I have a super creepy memory of watching the things trying to climb back out of the boiling water, and I felt so badly for them. I had to eat them that time, because the relatives were so enthusiastic about treating us to a lobster feast (and I will admit they are delicious!) but the boiling alive thing freaked me out and I've never knowingly eaten lobster since.

I know I'm inconsistent in my choices. I do my best to know what I'm eating (and how any animals were treated while alive) but at the end of the day I'm just not that pure... Bruno's fried chicken is too great a temptation (especially right there on the edge of the desert, when I am either embarking upon or wrapping up a week of insanity and relative deprivation) for me to pass up.

BTW I have experimented with a vegetarian diet, and found it impossible to give up seafood, so that's mostly where I'm at - chicken is an occasional treat, beef only rarely. the older I get, the less I feel I have to adhere to any standards other than my own. ;-)

BTW I am so sorry to hear you are stuck with the suck in MV. I'm wishing you smooth days and relaxing nights, and lovely unexpected diversions. and for the $ to work itself out (which I am sure it will in time.)