Vongole, Vongole, Vongole

Trip Start Jun 19, 2010
Trip End Sep 01, 2010

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Where I stayed
The Depository of Summery Nostalgia and Wintry Hops

Flag of United States  , Washington
Monday, June 28, 2010

            DAY EIGHT:  We half intend to leave today, and look into the ferry to Seattle, but the air feels too damn good in our lungs and we laze some more.  Captain Filigree wakes up from rowing in his sleep, rows to the kitchen, rows to the toilet, but not to the shower, while we all prepare to watch Argentina's obliteration of Mexico.  I feel for my Mexican friends, but totally dig Maradona’s Scarface situation and Massi is too ridiculous even when he’s not scoring, and so the match is decent enough.  We’re too lazy to change the channel afterwards, and the show Downfall comes on, and it’s so unfathomably mindless and bad that we keep watching.  From the worthless trivia to the trivial destruction of thousands of dollars worth of middling prizes, we deem it far superior to simply turning around and staring at the wondrous flutter of life beyond the back porch.  Obviously this is what happens when you remain in paradise, and we decide that a change in scenery is worth the risk. 

            After a quick feast of my favorite recipe, Linguine alle Vongole, that one with clams and white wine and garlic, so simple and so good, and after I carelessly send the clam bucket to the bottom of the sea, we take a bloated hike to Twanoh Park, a emerald rainforest full of pine and pleasure, talking about Adam Sandler records and the positive aspects of Swedish culture.  We drive past Bill Gates’ summer home on the way to the Robin Hood Pub for a quick pair of pitchers Mac & Jack, some curried lollipop lamb chops and figs wrapped in bacon (where our waiter, a musician himself, is so smitten by the description of our summer, that he gifts us his band’s CD and rambles on enthusiastically and infectiously), then drop by the Union General Store for some dinner supplies and a few more beers (this one I’m currently finishing, the Black Butte Porter, is like drinking a smooth, rich kind of liquid obsidian).  The woman running the shop plays The Beatles over the stereo and smiles bashfully in conversation; some of us fall in love with her for the afternoon, and muse over the probability of getting her to love us back, as we work our way back to the cabin.

            The Beard deep-fries those oysters we shucked yesterday, while I work on a pot of Thai Clam & Crab Chowder (I secretly call it, to myself, Clab Chowder – get it?? -- while I’m walking up the pier, and I do amuse myself so).  It’s pretty quiet around here today, as Cornbread wades neck-deep in Randian Philosophies and Captain Filigree rows on the kayak for another seven hours (to be fair, though, Cornbread is, at this time, the only one that manages to kayak to the other side of the canal, and can proudly claim to have spanned one of only two glacial fjords in the entire continent).  The Beard strums faintly on his Taylor from the sage garden as Shmark’s computer plays Blind Willie McTell and, to its owner’s great reluctance, Jeff Buckley.  Shmark takes offense to those who gush over music too speculatively or prematurely, but I chalk it up to his typical misanthropy and continue to enjoy Jeff’s harrowingly beautiful voice, if from the grave.  From 'Please Send Me Someone To Love’, the coconut cream melts into the soup and we’re munching on The Beard’s delicious (if poop-filled) oysters until the music ventures to Otis Redding, particularly ‘Cigarettes & Coffee’, which tonight was, in my mind, responsible for the moon and her romantic, lonely glow.  Otis Redding, thank you for having lived.

            Now we all sit around doing our own thing.  Duck scribbles into the cabin’s log, reporting all about our trip and about Pearl – he has The Beard sketch her floor plan out for the next guest to see, and shares the link to this website for posterity, thank you very much – while Cornbread reads Rand, The Beard chats on the phone outside, Captain Filigree snores on the couch (from all the rowing, you see), and Shmark plays his guitar for about two consecutive hours.  There are moments where I can’t concentrate because of his incessant, very skilled (and, I won’t deny, mellifluous) droning, and occasionally I do feel like telling him to quiet up, but to be frank, he’s good at it and his passion is irrepressible, and I can’t help but really appreciate it, even when my head is returning from a weekend’s worth of gorging on shellfish and booze.  We’re all a tiny bit drunk, all reeling from bliss, and it says a lot that we’re able to sit in relative silence so comfortably and contentedly.

            Tomorrow we’re headed to Seattle, and from there, Vancouver, where we’ll add two more to bring our total to seven.  We’ve been lucky to have had the assistance of friends and friends of friends for the majority of our first week, hosting and showering us with goodwill, but moving forward, it will only start to dwindle, where we’ll be out of the king-sized waterbeds and organic kitchens and back saddled in the cots and the pitch cook-tops, tripping over one another’s smells and hustling frantically toward a toilet.  After all, while it’s great to be coddled, the aim of this trip was the smell and the starkness, and I can only imagine that we’ll get those, and we’ll get them soon.  As before, we move forward, still with a full summer of unpredictable, unquantifiable joy, or disaster, or something in between, and we do so full of wind and vague hope and complete blindness.  Whether failure or revelation, whither the condition we return, we are living in zig-zags and in full color and in complete earnest, and I don’t think that any of us would hope for much more than that. 

            Also, there was a painting of Erroll Flynn.
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