I just got back into town today. I spent the past 8.5 days in the mountains, in a cabin, with no cable and no internet. Which is nice, in a way, because it’s mostly quiet, and I watch a lot of things I have recorded, and I read a lot of books, and I visit family and friends. And the best thing is, I am mega-poor, so hey, free vacation! But DAMN do I feel cut off from the rest of the world. Whoo.
So, without further ado, because I know you’ve been jonesing for it, here is:
***VACATION RECAP 2011***
(I made that fancy by adding the asterisks and bold-facing it. I know you appreciate the added fancy.)
I Was Born in a Small Town (but Got the Hell Out as Soon as I Was Able)
The town where I vacation is tiny and if you do a search for it on the internet you can barely find it. You have to drive about twenty minutes to get to the next biggest town, which is still pretty small. It is also full of strange things. For example:
- When you first drive into town from one direction, there is a farm with a boulder with “HEllO” written on it. Just like that, too. With the two L’s lower-case. So it looks kind of like a schizophrenic wrote it. It’s like jolly graffiti. I noticed the second time by it that, kind of faded out beside it, it says something about having a good day, too. Well! HEllO to you, too! I feel like this is the kind of place where they’d lure you in with cheerful boulders and then they’d serve you for dinner with a side of home-grown zucchini, or something.
- The only place in town where I could get internet access (except for the dialup at my parent’s house, which is another town over and, well, dial-up is…have you ever had your fingernails removed with a pair of pliers while someone kicked you repeatedly in the kidneys with a steel-toed boot? That’s the physical equivalent of the mental torture of waiting for a page to load while using dialup) was the local library. There are four computers in two groups of two, quite close together. I chose carefully. One had a tough kid listening to headphones; one had a lady who was muttering audibly and looked to be possibly indigent. I chose the tough. I chose well; he ignored me and did his thing. I left my things there for 3 minutes at one point and ran to the bathroom, which is just across the lobby. When I got back, a weirdo was in my seat. The tough, who apparently had decided we were buddies, gave the weirdo (who was pale, like a cellar-dwelling psycho, and had crazy eyes) a very mean look and said, “This guy STOLE YOUR SEAT YO. He put your PURSE on the FLOOR. I put it at the FRONT DESK FOR YOU.” The weirdo didn’t move. I thanked the tough and moved to the seat next to the lady, who, for the next half hour, kept talking to the computer. Mostly mutterings I didn’t catch, but at one point, to the top of her lungs, and not to me, to the screen: “THEY WILL STEAL YOUR HOUSE.” Who? Who will? The people in the computer? I don’t know. I sat very still, thinking if I didn’t make any sudden moves, perhaps she wouldn’t know I was there.
- Waving. I will never get this. Everyone waves at everyone there. I guess it is a small-town friendliness thing, which I should celebrate. I think it makes you look foolish. You wave CONSTANTLY there. At STRANGERS. I am repeatedly shaking my hand around like a goofball while wondering “Do I know you? Or are we just being friendly? Maybe when I lived here we went out one time? I haven’t lived here in like twenty years. Maybe I don’t LIKE you. I don’t know if I WANT to wave at you.” So I did an experiment; I didn’t wave at one guy who waved at me. AND HE STARTED CUSSING AND SHAKING HIS FIST AT ME. So it’s like a requirement! If you don’t wave like a doofus, you get cussed out and possibly burned at the stake! Good to know!
- You have to drive for an hour, almost, to get anywhere. This is one of the things I truly appreciate, living where I do. I like knowing that, within fifteen minutes at most, I can get dinner, see a movie or a play, visit friends, go to work, or go shopping. You have to block off your entire day to do anything there. This would make me crazy, and also eat up my entire salary with gas money (since gas is about 25 cents a gallon more expensive there.)
- The local paper has so many misspellings that you kind of cringe every third sentence. Also, the captions under each photo are very often wrong. And the misspellings are things that could be caught with a spell-check program in Word, so I’m not really sure what’s going on there. And the article titles are trying to be bad puns but are failing badly. Like, the fair was in town, and it was free on Thursday, so the title was “Free-for-All.” And that made me think it was like a brawl, but really it was. Free for all, I mean. So, yeah. It’s kind of embarrassing. Also I found three errors in the crossword puzzle one day. Which doesn’t really instill confidence in anyone or anything.
Into the Woods
The cabin is in the mountains, and in the woods, and is fairly quiet. However, this does not stop odd things from happening.
- My neighbor ran a very loud wood chipper for about 8 hours one day. I was fairly sure he was chopping up his family until I was informed he was gay and therefore didn’t have one. My helpful comment of “maybe he’s chopping up his lovers?” was not appreciated. Listen! If you are in the woods alone with no internet for a week, YOU MAKE UP YOUR OWN SAGAS.
- One evening, hoodlums arrived! Wait, that’s exciting, so let’s make it so. There! Were! HOODLUMS! Some teenagers were peeking in the windows and when I went outside to see what all the hubbub was they said “SHEEEIIIITTTTT” and ran off and then shot at each other with toy guns in the woods behind my cabin for about 45 minutes. And their dog came and hung out with me because I assume he was as annoyed with their childish antics as I was. Oh, and they were probably in their late teens, so toy guns were not really age-appropriate. Also they kept leaping out from behind trees at each other and saying “Dude you scared me.” “No dude YOU! Scared ME!” over and over. Um. Yeah. This is fun? But can we stop? Because you’re annoying the piss out of me.
- Sometimes there was wildlife, but not enough wildlife to make it interesting. Like, a bear would have been exciting, but the most exciting thing I saw was a hummingbird. Oh, and two dragonflies doing it.
Helpful tips I would like to pass along to you because I am HELPFUL
- Do not watch “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” with your mom, because there are some mega-graphic sex scenes in that, and talk about awkward. Whoo. This is especially true if it’s in a live theater setting. Because they’re RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU AND THERE’S MIMED CUNNILINGUS AND THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU WANT TO DISCUSS ON THE VERY LONG DRIVE HOME.
- It is apparently embarrassing to people if you go to the movies and you’re the only one in the theater so you get up in front of the theater before the show starts and pretend you’re going to put on a little skit. Come on, how often do you get THAT opportunity? FUN.
- Explaining Foursquare to your technophobe father is a HOOT. “So you’re telling people where you ARE?” “Yes, Dad.” “But then they know where you are.” “Yes.” “Are they going to come here?” “No. Well, I mean, I guess they COULD, but they probably won’t. Since most of my Twitter friends don’t live anywhere near here. And I’d actually love if they DID come here.” “But the stalkers might find you.” “Yeah, I guess. But I’m not interesting enough for stalkers, really. The stalker would have to be super-bored. And then if he kidnapped me I’d be all talky and he’d give me back. He’d probably pay his own ransom just to get rid of me.” “Don’t tell it where I am. I don’t want it to know.” “It doesn’t know where YOU are, Dad. Just ME.” “Well, don’t. I don’t want a stalker. Also, don’t Tweeter about me.”
- If you watch 8.5 days of bad television back to back all alone, you learn a lot of really important things. Listen, I watched almost an entire SEASON of Celebrity Rehab. Do you know what I learned? Celebrities are ANNOYING and also NEED A LOT OF ATTENTION. And Dr. Drew looks really hot in a t-shirt. Also, my taste in television is kind of appalling, and if someday, an archaeologist were to come along and look at what I watched, they’d probably write off the entire human race. Also, even though it’s kind of stupid now, Grey’s Anatomy still makes me cry like I lost my puppy.
Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?
There were two things I wanted to show you that I found at camp. I took photos of both. OK, first, a little background. My grandmother bought this camp, fully furnished, in the late 70’s. The knickknacks are still there. And they are kind of horrible and kind of awesome and I’m fairly sure that someday I’m going to go on Antiques Roadshow with some of them and be that person that the antique dealer tells in a snooty voice “Do you know what you have here? It’s a Bakelite Thingamabobbie. Only four of these were made. It’s worth $500,000.” And I will scream and probably drop and break it and the dealer will be horrified.
First, listen, this is very upsetting. The first thing? WAS TOTALLY AWESOME AND PROBABLY HAUNTED. I took a photo and it was there and NOW IT IS NOT THERE. So I am fairly sure, since all of the OTHER photos I took are still there, that it is a haunted thing that does not want to be seen. Or like a vampire whose image cannot be seen by the naked eye.
It was a decanter for hard liquor with shot glasses hanging off of it, and it was in the shape of a horribly dead-eyed clown which was in black-face, and its hat was the stopper, and the glasses were hanging off spikes sticking out of its waist in weird spots, and it was like it was looking into your soul with its dead and vaguely racist eyes.
This is the closest I can find online, but mine was worse. And probably haunted since somehow he got into my phone and deleted his own likeness.
This thing was watching me for over a week and I didn’t know it was there until I was over by the television doing something and there were these EYES and I was all HOLY WHAT THE… and it was this. Only scarier. So, yeah.
Next: we have a lot of old children’s books up there from when we were kids. This one…um…
Yes, you are reading that right. It is about a witch that ran out of jizzle. JIZZLE. What the hell?
As you can see, she would like to go to “the nearest jizzle station.” I’m pretty sure a strange adult who comes asking kids that without their parents around = Bad News Bears.
Ignore the foolishness about how Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm (yeah, apparently the books at our camp were not the most haughty literary choices, bite me, Snobby McUpperCrust) only talk in baby babble. The important part is the continuing jizzle conversation. Now they admit they have never heard of jizzle. What will happen, what will happen!
Sorry. This one’s blurry. I blame the scary vaguely racist clown. “What can we do about some jizzle” is JUST want you want strange adults saying to your children, though.
So I’m back! And internet, I have missed you terribly. Work – well, not so much with missing work. But as I barely escaped with my life from the dead-eyed clown, I suppose I should just be thankful I still have my soul.