Sunday, June 1, 2008
A weekend out in the country.
This picture was taken yesterday afternoon at I believe half past 1 when it was rainy and chilly outside and the best place to be was tucked away in bed with a fluffy sweater on. This was not in muggy Baltimore but in a house that belongs to my NY friend Elaine in what she calls 'the country', which to Baltimorians is a 5 hour drive up North to Yulan, NY.
I was sleeping because of the unavoidable effect that going to the country has on you: you become overwhelmed by weariness and fatigue. However, our main reason for going to the country was to help out Elaine with all sorts of chores on the grounds, but the rain was preventing us from working outside. And so I ended up doing exactly what everybody does when they spend time in the country; I took a nap.
The nap was unintentional. I was actually reading a good book for a change. It was NOT the novel I spent 25 bucks on in Barnes & Noble, a book called "Enlightenment for Idiots" which the blurb on the back of the cover promised to be "a very entertaining read".
This is not a self-help book but an extremely sappy story about a wanna-be Yoga teacher who writes about traveling for Idiots - like the dummies series - for a living. The protagonist is a woman in her mid 30's who has a mindset of a 16-year-old and is preparing herself for a spiritual journey to India in search for enlightenment. But not before endlessly wondering if she could leave her boyfriend and all of the drama behind for two fucking weeks. I gave up on page 75. At this point she was still deciding if she should get a convenient, state of the art travelling bag or a simple giant black suit case. She wrote about it in her diary, talked it over with her friends, family and had about a 3 page discussion about this topic with some generic store clerk. I mean: how long can it take for you to buy what you need and get on a motherfucking plane? They should have changed the title of the book to : "An indecisive idiot." Big yawn.
So I surrendered to this bright, yellow book that was standing on Elaine's bookshelf that, as you can see in the picture, is resting on my belly. The book is called "How to be Good" by Nick Hornby and is an absolute page-turner. Again not a self-help book. It begins to tell the story of a female doctor who is doubting if she should stay married to her ever-complaining and utterly sarcastic husband or just leave him and be done with it. Then it elaborates on her dealing with her husband who's suddenly become enlightened by a spiritual healer. From being an egoistic and aloof character, the husband turns into an emphatic goody-two-shoes, nurturing a wish to cure the world from starvation. He suggests that every family in the world takes a homeless person in and provide him with food and money. To set an example, he invites a local bum into his own house which leads to various strange - but funny - situations for everyone. You see how this guarantees an entertaining story about how to create a better world.
Anyways, sleeping was not all I did that day. We went to the recycling center and visited some surprisingly authentic old towns in the neighborhood. It's a different world out here in the woods, there are different laws and it really is like in the movies where everybody knows each other and the sheriff pulls you over for no apparent reason. Well, you're likely to be pulled over for speeding, cause here you have roads that you could easily drive twice the posted speed.
And here and there you come across these typical family restaurants and saloons or antique stores where you can still buy wooden golf sticks. And finally, exactly when a thunderstorm of hell broke loose, we checked out of the local supermarket that made me think of the old corner store in the town that I grew up in.
Later that night I tried a new sweater that Elaine had dug up from her closet:
The skunk outfit didn't really fit me of course; the sleeves barely reached my elbows. But it kept me warm for our BBQ that night. Aki wore a hillbilly outfit and professionally grilled corn on the cob for us. We also had steak and shrimp and bell peppers and squash. The perfect meal after a day out in the country.
Today, Sunday, we stopped in Scranton, Pennsylvania to take a look at that church they show in the opening credits of NBC's "The Office" with Steve Carell. I absolutely love that show, the American version of the British original series by Ricky Gervais. It's about a paper company in Scranton called "Dunder-Mifflin". And even though it's actually filmed in Van Nuys, California, coincidentally the neighborhood where I used to live in LA, they mention Scranton and show us buildings from the town.. take a look at the album.
Posted by Dennis at 11:34 PM