Thursday, July 07, 2005

Summah Interlude

Maybe Clydesdales aren’t supposed to go on vacation. It’s too confusing.

We bolted, ladies and germs, up to the Cape, or the “Cod,” as I cleverly like to call it, for the July 4th weekend. Look out Muffy! Here comes the “blended” Catholic Muslim family ready for fun, lockjaw and Kennedy-esque respite-ry. Ooooooooooo the Cape, where everyone goes to get in touch with their inner WASP, hence all the Jewish therapists who live there year round.

Nick’s after-a-fashion namesake, Nicholas (the "Will" to my "Grace") met us at the Provincetown pier and so began our luscious sojourn among the brightly brimming fleurs, magic flat blue ocean and seductive curvy grass-topped dunes. The Cape messes with your mind because every era and style is relevant there. The ‘30’s, the ‘50’s with that mock Neutra style, the grey shingles, the white cottages, all of it. It is a place you want to be. It is a place you want to “summah.” It is a place you want to tell everyone you “summah.” It is a place you want to stake a claim on, no matter how small, how dingy, how sea weathered. Because the Cape is sea weathered, in a beautiful, muted way. The shingles all turn a lovely silver gray, as we all know, and the dunes have been smoothed to a lovely beige and grassy ripple along a sun soaked sea.


Um, I like the Cape. Can you tell? I think the bug was planted during the movie “Julia” when they showed Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett living in their house on the Vineyard. I wanted that--the writing, the sea, the arguments, the art wrought from love and rewriting and the brutal but necessary editing of a lover who also happens to be a master.

Nicholas scooped us up and placed us in his new spiffy black Acura SUV with leather seats, a navigation system, Bose speakers and a talking steering wheel, and we ascended to his crow’s nest, cozily ensconced on a steep hill amid lots of scrubby pines and plump vegetation. I love Nicholas’s house—it’s all airy and comfortable, mango colors,
hardwood floors and walls graced with husband Marc’s gorgeous warm Cape landscapes. The windows are all open and the air is light and breezy, always flowing through the open floor plan. The house has a Very Good Feeling.

Ian broke their exquisite King Charles Cavalier Spaniel Mabel’s bowl in about the first five or six seconds of arrival. Always a calming feeling! Ian is a force of nature, an out of control li’l beastie boy who is governed wholly by love and attention and his insatiable need for both and his desire to distribute both, constantly. We kissed naptime goodbye and braced for an evening with fully traveled, un-napped todds. Fun!

Nicholas and I slipped out to the Wellfleet market, which I LOVE because it’s WASPy, Witches of Eastwick, New England-y FUN. In the market, all the staff wear adorable little straw boaters, so you feel like you’ve just wandered into a WASPy version of a Renoir painting. That’s the other thing about the Cape—you like how you look in your mind cinematography a lot better. Better, say, than barreling down Interstate 270 as I do every day in a hamster 8-track loop.

Yes, walking insouciantly through downtown Wellfleet paints a much more desirable self picture than the mundane world I actually inhabit. I wore sunglasses and walked in stride with tall, buff, WASPy Nicholas and felt, dare I say it? Impervious. Brilliant! We bought delectable Wellfleet market type items that are doubly fun to buy from straw boatered Eastern European summer help, like Saga cheese, Port Salut, crackers, pinot grigio, pinot noir and creaked along the agreeable wood floors, dodging other jaunty summer wayfarers in a quest for a suitable array of potables and hors d’oeuvres to toast a summer twilight.

We made cocktails out of vodka and tangerine crush, sipped (swilled?) wine, and ordered in Italian carry-out of veal, mussels, fish and pizza. We stayed up late talking and went to bed exhausted but encased in a convivial bubble of open hearts. Next day was a trip to Corn Hill Beach, so named for the corn the pilgrims thoughtfully stole from the Native Americans back in the day and attributed to divine intervention—that God had looked out for them and magically provided with a hill of carefully harvested and collected corn. Good one.

The day was spectacular—all crystal clear skies over a gently lapping saline bay, licking the warm sand. The kids were in heaven, as only cute rubbery kid bodies can be in the delicate surf. That night we went to the Bonfire of the Lesbians on the beach, prefaced with a brief trip to the Pamet Harbor Yacht Club
for a brilliantly Americana plate of hot dogs, baked beans, red cabbage cole slaw and cold canned Bud. Nick was especially excited about the bonfire as he harbors tremendous California/surfer fantasies and this was the perfect Moondoogie event. Hang ten! The lesbians were all very friendly and the food was yummy—lentils, potato salad, grilled London broil and a big spinach salad with strawberries.

Next morning, Nicholas and Marc took Nick and me on a boat ride on their new boat, docked at Pamet Yacht Club. We went through Cape Cod Bay to Provincetown Harbor, past the famous tip of the Cape that curls around in a beckoning crooked finger—all Edward Hopper tilted sailboat images.
MZA and the babies were landlocked at Corn Hill Beach building sand castles and going Geronimo into the water. Nicholas made an impromptu picnic of rosemary ham and Jarlsburg sandwiches that we ate on the boat before Nick and I swam to shore so MZA could help out with putting the boat on a trailer.

We revitalized in the hot tub, soaked in the sun, Nicholas took Nick to Longnook Beach, beneath the high orange cliff dunes to boogie board. It was all too short, and yet perfect. Our last night we made grilled chicken and vegetables, had Ben and Jerry’s, put the babies to bed and watched two episodes from the first season of the Mary Tyler Moore show.

Next morning we got muffins for the journey and hopped the ferry back to Boston and a water taxi to the airport to fly back to Baltimore. Somewhere in the Amelia Earhart terminal of Logan airport I thought I had certainly lost my mind as both babies ran in circles around me, Cowboys 'n Indians style. On the puddle jumper Embraer “jet,” Daisy lurched back and forth, dropped her bear and/or sippy cup into the aisle about 500 times and then, unbelievably, fell asleep on my lap.

The reason it’s confusing for Clydesdales to go on vacation is that sometimes they return from their sojourns deeply depressed and inconsolable about the nature of their routine-driven lives. The overwhelming schedule, the logistics of commuting, making the bus for Nick’s camp each day, coming into the dysfunctional, displeasing atmosphere of an office led by the autocratic, appalling, tactless Maralago—these are the reasons maybe it is better for the Clydesdale to remain on the deeply grooved, trodden path with the blinders firmly secured, so as not to see the wide, mango colored, art splashed world by the sea that is so elusive.

Thanks Nicholas and Marc for a lovely respite.

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