Sunday, July 20, 2008

it all looks so different

We're staying off Harvard Square in Cambridge, and what used to seem to me to be just about the most exciting and fabulous place in the world is seeming kind of, well, meh.

Probably a lot of the meh is that we're dead tired. My plan to take a redeye so the children would sleep the whole time failed spectacularly. The children stayed awake the whole flight, complaining in little whispers to me and waking me whenever I dozed off. Lucy cried twice, once when she realized that Bearie (a stuffed animal purchased once at Starbucks, now the most important stuffed animal in our lives) was not with us, and once, in the middle of the night, when she felt afraid of being so high in the air. The Sober Husband, across the aisle, appeared to get some sleep.

The children are hating the heat and complain bitterly whenever taken out of doors. "I could never go to Harvard," said eight year-old Iris Uber Alles. "The weather is too freakish!" "Oh, my sweet, sweet ankles," Lucy said sorrowfully.

They did enjoy J.P. Licks, a charming ice cream store with faux grass all over the walls and amazing sock monkey art. They also loved the Curious George store, where I picked up some sketch books and crayons for them (unbelievably I stupidly came without art equipment when the easiest way to entertain these children, aside from that blessed narcotic, television, is getting them to draw). We got them a book apiece, too, as consolation for having refused to get them very expensive books previously at Schoenhof's, the admirable foreign language bookstore (Lucy selected a Spanish book about mummies and Iris an Italian and English double version of Dickens, both of which were rejected by the parents on the grounds that the children would not use them enough to justify the expense). I was looking for "The Savage Detectives" by Roberto Bolano in Spanish, but Schoenhof's can't keep it in stock. I ordered it and another new Spanish novel I want, which will be shipped to me in San Francisco. Although I failed in my mission, I did get the satisfaction of buying Bolano's newest book, which is all the rage in Spain this year and won't come out in English until next year.

Tomorrow it's on to Maine! The children are dying to see a moose, but as my aunt said, "Moose is where moose is." The other day she had to wait for a group of five moose to leave before she could drive to work, but probably on the day her moose-craving great nieces arrive, the moose will all head for Canada.


hughman said...

alas, unless you are a doe-eyed freshman at Harvard, there is little to be had in Cambridge. pompous college students aren't a big draw for small royalty.

Anonymous said...

There's more to Harvard square than pompous students (said the recent graduate). But I'm afraid it has become sort of generic and commercial in the 20+ years I've been visiting. Meh is probably a good description.

I hope the girls get lucky and spot a moose in Maine. I spent my undergraduate years there and a lot of time in Nova Scotia and have never once spied a moose in the wild.

Silliyak said...

Whats the matter H? can't spell terradak...teridac..ptirridic...Dinosaur?

hughman said...

sillyak - is this me? i'm confused?

Silliyak said...

Sorry H, It was meant to go on a different post, an "Airplane" reference.

Leslie said...

Go to Alaska. We saw moose coming out our ears when we visited there! Best vacation, evah! Seriously.