I escaped NYC last week for a land of blue skies, blueberry bushes, and patchy cell phone reception. A trip to the one state in the union actually nicknamed “Vacationland”. A beautiful, picturesque Maine vacation.
I spent at least a week every summer of my childhood running around the woods and rocky coast of Maine. My family has a cabin right on the coast. It’s beautiful, with a perfect porch, a giant front yard, and a drawer in the kitchen devoted to lobster trays. It’s the place of summer vacation fantasy. I woke up on a sweaty 90 degree day in NYC and realized I hadn’t been there in seven, count ’em, SEVEN years. WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME?
Not having a driver’s license. That’s what was wrong with me. You can’t get up to this cabin on public transportation. So what’s a New York Cliché to do? Get a boyfriend with a car? I tried that three years ago and he dumped me three weeks before we were supposed to take the trip. Get a friend with a car? Which one of my starving artist friends can afford that? Let alone taking a week off work?
I asked my parents. Because that’s what 30 year-olds do, right? Ask their parents to drive them places?
It was a week of asking my mom to drive me places instead of taking the subway. Worth it. Lobster boats congregated like taxi cabs at rush hour. I ate lobster every other night for a week and had my own personal chauffeur. This is the life!
A fire tower at the top of my aunt’s property was the only structure remotely resembling the skyscrapers that surround my New York life. Here wide open spaces and silence, hardly any sign of civilization for miles.
The only resemblance of the crowds I see everywhere in the city were the clusters of wild blueberries covering the mountain side. I ate handfuls of them straight off the bush.
Those boots? They were my mom’s in the ’70s. Classic LL Bean vintage. I put them on instead of the sandals I had brought, sandals that would’ve left my feet covered in ticks after a hike in the woods. Sandals that are positively sensible in NYC but made my Mainer uncle scoff at their fancy-ness, “Won’t find anything like those up here,” he said. I bit my tongue, mustering all my strength to not joke about the white socks and Tevas he was wearing.
“Maybe we should walk a mile in each others shoes.” I wish I’d said that.
Walk a mile in my shoes, uncle, you’ll see I’m not just some stuck-up city girl.
Look, I love lighting 50 cent Maine sparklers more than I love the New York Festival of Light.
It was strange to be somewhere where “New York” has a negative connotation. In Maine it seems, New Yorkers are associated with buying giant houses, cutting down too many trees to maximize a view, and what? Probably being beer snobs at local brewery tours? Not being able to handle the Maine brand of small talk that lasts 15 minutes instead of 5? For being cranky as fuck when they FINALLY get their morning coffee that they had to DRIVE 10 minutes for?
Well shit. The negative connotation makes a hell of a lot of New York cliché sense.
I didn’t walk a mile in socks-with-sandals, but I did walk out to the porch. I found a perfect porch proves superior to any rooftop bar. Where night life is moths flocking to porch lights and mosquitoes drinking your blood while you drink beer. It’s staring at the sky, like I usually do my computer screen, watching lightning storms and blood-moon rises. It was better than any show you can binge on Netflix, more brilliant even than Broadway shows I’ve seen.
Now in the light of day, I took off the socks, took off the sandals, and freed my feet from being a fashion abomination.
I jest, Uncle, if you’re reading this, I jest. If you can’t tease your family, who can you tease?
It was wonderful to see family I hadn’t seen in years and spend so much time with my mom and dad. To catch up with my cousin who just turned 30 too. If you like my pictures of Maine, you must go look at his. He loves Maine so much he moved there and the way he captures the landscape really shows that love. He has a pretty sweet polar bear of a dog too.
And two little girls who I have to come back to Maine to meet.
Guys, I went on a family vacation and by the end of it not only did I not hate my family, I loved them more. Even harder to believe, my family had a discussion about politics around the dinner table and it didn’t turn into a horrible fight. It was civil and interesting. THIS IS SO THE OPPOSITE OF CLICHÉ, I DON’T KNOW WHO I AM ANY MORE.
Thanks for a great vacation, family. Thanks for the beautiful weather, Maine. Thanks for enduring 10 days of silence from this blog, readers! I brought my laptop but didn’t touch it once. Instead of waking up early to write, I woke up to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic.
Who wants to drive me up next year??
Now I’m back in NYC. Well rested and even a little tan. Feeling happy, ready to strap on my fancy-pantsy shoes and make the most of what’s left of New York summer!
Tell me about your summer vacation! The one you just went on, the one you have planned, or the one day you get off a week that you’ll make feel like a vacation, damn it. Enjoy summer, friends.