Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Foliage Tour - Part 3

Say this for Concord’s Fairfield Inn: they offer a reasonably nice continental (if by that you mean non-cooked) breakfast. There was juice and fruit and bagels (albeit really generic-looking ones, lacking anything resembling even a sesame seed) and individually packaged portions of cereal into which one needed only to pour milk, and cheese, and a waffle machine. I fancied some cereal, but only until I read the ingredients listed on the convenient packages. It’s breathtaking to me how Cheerios and Start Smart, or whatever that new (at least to me) Kellogg’s product is called, can market themselves as health-promoting when they’re so full of chemicals. I decided instead to brave the waffle machine, in spite of the fact that one usually need only utter the word machine to make me cower piteously. But then I remembered the previous evening at Nonni’s on Main Street, and how I’d ultra-manfully presented the bartender with the glass of merlot Claire had found wanting, especially for $7, and suggested, in a virile growl that invited no dispute, that he replace it with pinot noir.

I guess I should have sprayed the iron with no-stick before pouring the batter in; getting it out was harrowing for one who believes deep down that the real world is intent on humiliating him at every turn. But I did it in the end, and ate it, and we headed, willy-nilly yet again, for Brattleboro, Vermont, in which I once enjoyed watching a World Series game on a motel TV set when Nancy and I had a foliage tour of our own late in the last century.

The GPS started toying with us. I have had my doubts about her ever since realizing that she may be a Brit trying to pass as an actual American; she will tell me to stay “on,” rather than “in” a particular lane, and is forever referring to The Motorway. She misguided us in Brattleboro, and then somehow managed to miss the center of Northampton, famous for its lesbians, by miles; we found it only when we gave up on finding it and were trying instead to get back on Interstate 91.

Northampton’s lesbians don’t stomp to and fro wearing glowers that demand, “You got a problem?” as in Provincetown, but occasionally you’ll see a pair of them holding hands, right in front of impressionable children, and it’s disgusting! I’d filled up on pizza leftover from our nite of sin at Nonni’s, but Claire, who adores the stuff, craved soup, and to pee, as I did too, so we traipsed around in the bitterly chilly breeze until finding a suitable place. Then it was back in the Forester, heading toward Springfield, where basketball was invented, and in whose environs the excellent novel Morning I recently bought at Idolatry for $1 was partially set. The more we listened to Accidental Billionaires, the more the writing made me cringe, but we managed to make it home in plenty of time for the long walk for which I’d yearned, having gotten so little exercise the preceding 48 hours.

We had a pleasant dinner, once more rued my having recorded a Spanish-language version of the pilot episode of Boardwalk Empire, and wound up watching Taking Woodstock, which wasn’t as bad as a lot of people had said, and not very good either. I am old enough — and then some (and then some more!) — to know that you can’t have it all.

I have been working on a mordant new epigram to join such earlier triumphs as To each his onus and I do indeed see the glass as half full — of poison. As it stands, the new one reads God never closes a door without also shutting a window, but I’m not sure I’m delighted with it yet. Any suggestions will be carefully considered, and, if sufficiently wry and pithy, summarily appropriated without attribution.

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