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A Tidy Surprise July 24, 2008

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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During company prep yesterday, I went into the guest room to make sure all was well (or well enough). The little spiralbound book I keep as a guest book was on its side and open to a blank page. I’d noticed this before, but hadn’t bothered to check it out.

A few weeks ago, there was a marvelous impromptu happy hour at our house, during which three young ladies (ages 8, 8, and 9) asked if they could hang out in the guest room. (These same three were to later represent, in fact, one third of my circus posse.) Permission granted!

Yesterday, when I went to right the guest book, I found this note:

Hey [Indigo] and Tim your house is so awesome and cool.
With friendship
Kristina, Najwa, Aidy

I really love those guys. Finding that note was so awesome and cool.

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On Route 153, Dreaming of Portland: In Portland, Dreaming of Route 153 July 23, 2008

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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It is difficult to live in the moment. Every moment I am doing something is a moment I am not doing something else. Some calmer personalities are able to handle this quite easily, whereas others of us were the kids who never wanted to fall asleep for fear of missing something.

I am working for three clients at the moment. Well, I am working for two—one is getting put off until one of the others is checked off the list. I give the jobs my all, but deciding who gets my attention at what point can cause a little stress. Where does one start when facing equally important piles?

Add to that the need to catch up with the regular bills, etc., that accumulated here during my week in Portland. And my shortened work week in the face of visiting friends. And the need to feed these friends as well as figure out what delightful nosh to provide at another friend’s champagne-and-art party Friday night. Today is Wednesday. Dana and Chris arrive tomorrow. Hmmmm.

But this isn’t simply a matter of triage. Certain things I am not doing in a particular moment will get done in a different moment. It’s those choices one makes to be in one place and not another—in moments one will never get back—that are harder. If I am in Portland, I am with my Portland friends, but I am missing my Route 153 friends and Route 153 happenings and everything that makes me happy that Route 153 is my home. If I am on Route 153, I am missing my friends all over this crazy country, and as I sit at my computer working on some textbook or other, I find myself dreaming of hanging out in their urban, tropical, deserty, mountainous, coastal, or landlocked lives. I miss other crazy countries too, as my mind wanders to a café in Verona or to the cliffs at the northern tip of the Shetland Islands. I remember that green kingfisher in Belize. I get all yearny.

Monday night, a neighbor’s relatives were in town, and I missed a game of kickball that will never come again. I regret that, but meanwhile, Tim prepared a lovely red snapper on the grill, and there’s no rushing that, and it took a bit longer than we’d expected, and then we were quite tired. Still. There are invitations from good friends that we have to turn down because we’ve already accepted invitations from other good friends. There are big events I’ll be missing in August while I’m clinging to my last week at my twenty-two-summers-running vacation spot. Like a spoiled child, even when what I’m getting is great, it hurts to miss anything. I’d throw a tantrum, but I have to get back to work.

Singing for My Supper July 16, 2008

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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They have names like Vignola, Evangeline, Bresca. They beckon me with their perfectly presented plates, with their come-hither menus. Once again, I’m in Portland, and I have eaten some impossibly good food three nights straight.

Can I withstand this much pleasure in a 52-hour period? Turns out I can.

One night, upon taking in our surroundings, perhaps upon tasting the duck with mascarpone polenta, in a moment of fully feeling the utter bliss that had become us, Tim made the obvious Judeo-Christian pronouncement: “I am going to hell.”

It is questionable whether I can afford this habit. It is especially questionable in light of the home heating oil contract I just signed. So, during the days, I’ve been working frantically on a textbook in the hopes that I can at least offset what I’ve eaten here. It is perhaps fitting that it is a textbook about oral diseases.

At night, supper; during the day, singing for it.

But that’s it. No more high-end eating this week. There will be no Back Bay Grill, no Street and Company, no Fore Street. There will be no Katahdin or Local 188. This excess has got to stop.

Yet still another temptress beckons: Louise. Tonight she is hosting an intimate happy hour on her famous dorch (Is it a deck? Is it a porch?). She has cast out bait that looks suspiciously like a Hendrick’s cucumber martini. It looks like I may bite.

A special thanks to Sewa Yoleme, who urged me to get off my ever-widening ass and post something.

Circus Girl July 10, 2008

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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Last night I went to the circus with nine of my close friends and associates. And at long last, I got to ride a camel.

This small traveling circus comes to the area nearly annually. I went for the first time three years ago and rode an elephant with my friend Aidan. I wanted to ride the camel then, but I was told I was too big. I found this so traumatizing that the next year I didn’t even ask to ride the camel—Aidan and I rode the elephant again.

The circus didn’t show up last year.

Last night I headed to the big top with renewed hope of riding a camel. My sister, who has already ridden a camel, had her sights set on an elephant.

But, oddly, there were no elephant rides. Only elephant-and-you photo ops.

Curious.

So I get in the camel line with Aidan. Only kids were getting on the camel—often just one kid at a time. Aidan and I watch a major drama unfold immediately ahead of us as a kid, when his brother gets off the camel, is obviously too terrified to take his turn. So his father tries to get him to get on with his brother. Brother gets back on the camel, Kid still won’t get on, but Brother, already on the camel, gets another ride. Aidan and I roll our eyes. Hey, it’s almost for time for the circus, and some of us want to ride the camel!

I ask the ticket taker: Can I get on with her?

He looks at Aidan. With her? he asks.

Yeah.

OK.

He probably thought I was Mom and that this was Aidan’s idea. I don’t know if he would have let me on alone. I didn’t ask any more questions. I wanted to ride the camel.

And we did. A man led the camel up and down the pen a couple of times, during which I learned (from him) this piece of trivia: No one could ride the elephants because the state of New York had made it illegal for the circus to offer elephant rides—something about their status as exotics. I guess camels don’t qualify as exotics. Who knows? This is what the camel guy said. I have not looked into it further.

And because of the chit-chatting, and because I had to watch my legs, what with being led a little too close to some metal posts, I didn’t really experience the Zen of Camel or anything, but it was fun, and hey, I rode a camel.

The circus was great fun too, if only because there’s something utterly surreal about it. It’s hard to believe that these small circuses still exist and that they play a different town every night. I look at the performers and animal handlers and wonder how many of them think they have the best job ever and how many of them can’t stand the thought of one more show. Of course, one could look at any workplace and wonder this. We all have our balancing acts. We all have balls to juggle and hoops to jump through.

The Times July 2, 2008

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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Sign in front of a bar in rural New York:

Beer is now cheaper than gas.
Drink, don’t drive.