Sunday, August 23, 2009

Envy Strikes At Midnight

It's midnight and I can't sleep.

Not because I'm over-tired, not tired enough or drank copious amounts
of coffee. No, I can't sleep because there's a raucous party going on
next door to us at Adventure Bound campground in North Truro, Mass.

They're whooping and hollering, laughing and belting out songs from
the '60s. I now see 1 a.m.

I met some of the partiers earlier in the evening when we pulled into
our campsite.

"We walk through there," a very slender, very tanned mid-50s woman
said to me, nodding to the land behind our motor home. With each nod,
silver earrings jingle jangle just beneath her bobbed, blackened hair.
She's carrying a beer snug inside a coozie. We're just about to block
HER pathway so we can hook up our essentials (the power, water, TV,
and sewer).

I'm taken aback. Shocked, in fact, at her nerve. My mind smokes:
"We're paying $52 a night to stay here. YOUR walkway cuts through MY
lot." Instead I say, politely, "I don't think our electric line will
reach if we don't back up more."

"Then use an extension cord," she smiles. Actually smiles at me. Cocks
her little head. Twinkles her eyes. Then takes a sip of her beer.

I fume. Fume!!

Instead of blurting out what I thought (HOW DARE YOU!!!), I offer a
closed-mouth smile of my own and shrug my shoulders. By that time,
Allen rescues me. He's pulled our electric cord and water hose around
and proves each can reach, no problem, without us having to block HER

The smiling petite beer drinker invites me to a tour of her
"neighborhood." Although I'm unhappy, I go, because, well, she smiles
a lot. It's contagious. I meet some of the people who use the pathway
behind our motor home as THEIR walkway. They all smile, too, and say

I count about six families, all who live here for the summer. They
have a community cook kitchen inside a tent (complete with hanging
pots, a Jenn-Aire, freezer and frige), landscaped gardens, and a
community dining room of about six picnic tables set up end to end and
all painted a brilliant blue. A tarp covers the tables. Along the
sides of the tarp Christmas lights twinkle.

They have fun all summer long, she says.

And at midnight.

As the party escalates, I pull the pillows over my ears and vow to
march down to the campground office at daybreak and demand my money

I toss and turn and eventually sleep.

And then awaken in the morning.

As I lay here thinking about the party last night, I remember how
pleasantly the smiling petite woman conducted the tour of her little
neighborhood. And how nice all those people were. And I knew my
frustration last night was not because I could not sleep. It was
because there was a grand party going on and I wasn't a part of it.

And I know, FOR SURE, that had I thrown on some clothes and meandered
over there, they would have welcomed me to sing along. And in time, I,
too, would have been belting out a few songs.

What the heck. It's summer. The time for fun. For everyone to have
fun. I'll sleep some other night.

Sometimes, You Get What You Want

We're walking the streets of Boston and it's got to be 95 degrees.  


The 100 percent humidity threatens to steal my breath, but instead, it cascades down my face and soaks my shirt.

The heat helps us decide to hop on a motorized tour of the city instead of taking the Freedom Trail, a walking tour I've wanted to do for years.

I'm sad, yes! The Freedom Tour immerses walkers in the American  Revolution, brings them alongside Paul Revere, Bunker Hill and the Boston Massacre. I want to brush up against history. But, it's too darn hot.

So, we hop on THE DUCK, and explore Bean Town through the eyes of a sarcastic 50-something who shouts out "Hey!" to all his buddies along the route and cracks sick jokes about bombing the Teletubbies and
failing to notice Jennifer Lopez's physique. Ergh.

OK. It's not that bad. We're in Boston, after all. And we've got a steady breeze in our faces to cool us down. We get to cruise on the Charles River and see a lot of the city from the back of that Duck. Then we enjoy a fantastic tour of Fenway Park, where we get to crawl through the entire stadium and watch workers prepare the field for the upcoming series against the Yankees.

At the end of the day, we're still too darn hot. The sun is relentless. There's no breeze. We return to the famous Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, where I lose my battle with the heat. I'm wiped. I  seek shade, preferably from a seat.

Oh, look. Over there. Benches. Shaded benches. Thank you, God!

We head that way.

But wait.

Oh, no. There's a man sitting there. In odd clothes. Sipping a Pepsi.
In all this heat, he wears a three-corner cap, a multi-button vest
over a white shirt with long billowing sleeves, trousers, knee-high
tights. Wool/cotton clothing covers this man from head to toe.

I get it. He's not odd at all. He's wearing the clothes of a patriot
and, after all, this IS Boston.

I head his way because I have to ask: "Why are you dressed this way in
all this heat?"

Turns out this man, Cliff Odle, leads tours of the Freedom Trail
(yeah! The Freedom Trail!). He wears period clothing and portrays a
real patriot, Barzillai Lew, a musician and soldier who served in the
American Revolution.

It's the end of the day, a very hot day, so we can't take the tour. But Cliff engages us with  tales about Barzillai and himself (he's a playwright, actor and historian). And admits that he, too, is too darn hot.

On the way out of town, I consider the day's fortunes: the Duck, Fenway, my Boston patriot, and, oddly, the heat. Because without it (and my intense curiosity), I would not have met Cliff Odle and his character, the revolutionary Barzillai Lew.