Vacationing in Maine taught me a lot of things, not the least of which is: “Always go to Maine on vacation in the summer.
Don’t ever try to go anywhere else. Ever.”
But it also taught me a few other things I didn’t know (or maybe just forgot) about the world outside New York, and also how incredibly stupid I look when beautiful birds are flying by and I have my face buried in my smartphone.
- For instance, I learned to my absolute horror, that I have not looked up at the Big Dipper in almost ten years. That is not even a joke. That is true, and that is sad, sad, sad. The Takeaway: Um, look up, sometimes? There’s this thing called “the sky”, and it’s quite lovely, have you seen this thing?
- I learned that I should probably go go on the internet and figure out what Poison Ivy looks like, and really seriously commit it to memory. It’s not good enough to vaguely remember something about shiny leaves, because then later, when you are picking wild blueberries by the side of the road, you will spend so much time avoiding plants with shiny leaves that you will help yourself to a monster dose of Poison Oak.
- I also learned that I should consider going on the internet and learning what Poison Oak looks like.
- I learned that the police in Maine will pull you over with their lights flashing and terrify you—but only because they saw little kids in the back of your car and they wanted to give them Junior Officer badges and cards with personal affirmations on them. When that happens, your icy heart melts into a sugary puddle, and you start earnestly perusing the Maine MLS instead of actually interacting with your family.
- You know those kicky pink neon shorts I bought at JCrew? They’re sort of nautical and cute, but in a grown-up way that says Yes, the 80’s are forever imprinted on my soul, and though I would not go back to that era for all the money in the world, I am not afraid to acknowledge that at the time, I truly loved the music of The Bangles.’ Yeah. Those shorts. Well, guess what I learned? I learned that those shorts will cast a love spell on all flying insect life, including but not limited to bees, wasps, deer flies, horse flies, lady bugs, butterflies, and other unidentifiable bitey things. That is correct, all of those creatures tried to mate with me and/or nest in the safety of my on-trend neon cotton gusset during my fitness hikes. Haha! Fun! The Takeaway: dressing like Blossom does not really work for me in any situation.
- I wish put to rest the notion that the journey is the destination. It isn’t. At least, not when you have tiny children. (Unless you live on a boat, I guess.) When you have little kids and you have to drive 8 hours in a minivan to get somewhere, here’s what the journey looks like: a highway conveyor belt consisting of a constant loop of Roy Rogers, Dunkin’ Donuts, and McDonald’s locations, and hot children in the backseat demanding more Scooby Doo’s in escalating vocal tones. If the journey is the destination at this stage of life, that’s only because the destination sucks. (Nobody even whisper to me about car bingo, because just in some children this causes car-sickness. This I also learned, and no, I don’t want to talk about it.)
- Eating a second slice of blueberry pie is always more important than swimsuit confidence.
- There is no limit to the double standards I will entertain. Why does it seem so adorable when tiny crabs scuttle over my feet in the ocean and take little pinches at my toes? If I was standing in a driveway and a bunch of cockroaches scuttled all over my feet and took tiny pinches at me, I would never stop throwing up. The Takeaway: I am really complex.
- The sea is a fickle mistress. Also, if I am on a boat on the ocean I will eat any salty snack you put in front of me—I literally can’t help myself. “Here, have some stale Corn-Nuts I fished out of the bottom of someone else’s purse, and a warm Tab”. Yes please. “Would you like to try this piece of baseball glove that we deep fried and rolled in Dorito crumbs?” Can’t wait. Oh, what’s that? “It’s a creature that was clinging to the side of our boat and then we hit it with a stick and put salt on it…want some?” Thanks, I’m starving.
- I learned that unplugging once in a while, for a week or two is the single greatest thing that I almost never do.
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