Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Fun in the Sand and Snow
Ah, long weekends. So very, very pleasant. So rare. So round, so firm, so fully packed. (Wait... Okay, scratch that last one.)
My wife and I hardly ever have long weekends together. It's a little bit better now that she's working for the state and gets all those juicy public holidays like I do. We decided that we'd really celebrate Presidents' Day this year. In honor of George W. Bush, who has done so much for the gay community, we went to Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Going to a beach town in the middle of winter is actually kind of cool. You get to see it without the hordes of people swarming the street. You also get fantastic deals on accommodations. Two-thirds of the businesses are shut down, but are you really gonna miss fifteen extra T-shirt stores? Not so much. We were pretty pleased with our unique idea of off-season vacationing.
Except that we were very much not alone in this idea. Provincetown was, in fact, flooded with couples looking to get away from whatever city they reside in for a weekend. The result of this is that the handful of restaurants in town that weren't closed were jammed with people. Which meant long-ass waits even if you had yourself a reservation. My wife and I never had a reservation, because we're so disorganized that it's a struggle to get our teeth brushed before bedtime, let alone laying down long-term plans like where we're going to eat five hours into the future.
So we spent a good bit of time tromping forlornly from one crowded dining establishment to the next, looking for the place with the shortest wait time.
Our first night, we went to a place recommended by the manager of our inn, only to be told that we had about an hour to wait. We left our name and then wandered off to see if we couldn't get a better deal. The next place we stopped by had a much smaller menu, but we were told the wait would be about fifteen minutes. Forgetting that restaurant hosts often lie, we decided to stick around.
The place filled up even more after we got there. The one waiter on duty looked like he desperately wanted to leave and get a beer somewhere. We felt superior to other out-of-towners who got pissy/snippy with the staff and started whining about the wait. That was nice. It's good to be able to shake your head and whisper "What an asshole" to your spouse because you're marginally more amiable than someone. We were not as amiable as the two couples next to us who turned their wait-time into a meet-and-greet. They ended up changing their requests for two tables for two into one table for four and they sat together and enjoyed a meal while they got acquainted.
I guess I wish my wife and I were like that. It'd be nice to walk into a place for gazpacho and leave with friends for life. But we're not. We're the sort of people who were dreading the idea that we'd booked a room at a B&B, which might mean having to socialize with or--even worse--eat breakfast with, our host and/or fellow guests.
I wouldn't call myself an openly hostile person. I'm pretty friendly, once you get to know me, but I'm not the type of person who enjoys meeting new people every second of every day. And I hate situations where I'm forced to make small talk against my will with people who could very well turn out to be enormous asshats. My world, I'm sure, is the poorer for it.
Luckily, the place we stayed was more of an inn than a B&B, so the bagels and coffee just sort of miraculously appeared in the kitchen in the morning without someone there to grill us about our plans for the day and tell us that we really ought to go to their cousin's organic juice bar and try the carrot-pomegranate smoothie. The owner was out of town and the manager was a very nice lady who made us feel welcome and then vanished from sight the rest of the time we were there.
The one note of real frustration for me was a complication of our packing stupidity. My wife and I have a tendency to over-pack for trips. "Well, I'm bringing this ball gown. Who knows, we might be invited to fly to California to attend the Oscars." "Good idea. I'm taking twelve pairs of underwear for two days, just in case I'm suddenly incontinent."
This time, we made a conscious effort to bring less, which of course meant that I lacked warm clothing and shivered half the weekend. My wife, meanwhile, forgot to bring a sports bra and so ran in the bra she'd been wearing. But we figured we'd be able to pick one up in town. There were a number of clothing stores in town, several of which seemed geared to sports apparel.
So we spent some time on Saturday navigating through the frozen streets of Provincetown, tears of frustration freezing to our faces as we were told in store after store that they had no bras and we should try Bob's Sports Bra Barn a couple of blocks over. The clerk at Bob's Sports Bra Barn would then offer some other lame excuse and tell us to try Sports Bras R Us, which also be inexplicably out. Apparently, the women in Provincetown like to run bare-chested, in celebration of the spirit of the Amazons. We ended up duct-taping my wife's bosom during our exercise.
That duct tape really is good for just about everything.