Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thoughts and tidbits

We drove north up New England to get to Maine. It did actually take a total of 8.5 hours total, each way, as promised by the online directions.

When I'm on my own on a roadtrip, I'll just keep driving. Out of stubbornness and also, somehow, laziness. Through stiff backs and numb bums, I'll stay parked in that driver's seat, gritting my teeth to arrive at my destination that much sooner.

This roadtrip was a little different. Thank goodness. The BF hasn't been a regular driver for years, but agreed to take on a share of the driving. So this trip, on all the legs, we stopped every two hours to stretch. It made such a difference--the breaks from the car, and the breaks from driving. Because I'm old, my bum knee starts to stiffen up pretty quickly when stuck behind the wheel.

Also, it continues to fascinate and delight me that I can use the bathroom every two hours! Those of you who have never been a teacher might be grossed out by it, but I still find it so liberating to remember that I can pee whenever I want to, during the summer!

On the way up, we stopped overnight in Portland, where I had arranged a stay with someone from couchsurfing. I steered us toward the waterfront, assuming there would be something interesting there. Indeed there was plenty. Full of wharves and piers, and what clearly were the original seafood warehouses now transformed into hip shops and restaurants. Most pleasant!

When we went kayaking, I couldn't bear the thought of leaving all photographic equipment behind. No way could I leave the experience and scenery undocumented! Additionally, of course, no way would I ever EVER even dream of bringing a DSLR onto a tiny plastic watercraft. So here was my ingenious and free plan, since I don't have hundreds of dollars to buy waterproof housing. I brought my Sony (the bridge point and shoot that I only bought in May 2007) and tied it into a plastic grocery bag. That protected it from the splashes while paddling, and then I could take breaks, untie the knots, tuck the bag into my lifejacket, and take photos and videos. I was quite pleased with the results, too. Which is good, because when the guide mentioned what to do in case of capsize, I was envisioning myself fumbling around underwater, frantically trying to escape the splash skirt's hold on the boat while freaking out about the camera, probably forgetting to breathe. Yikes. But of course, nobody on our tour even so much as tilted too far, let alone capsized. Phew!

I definitely noticed differences between people and habits in Maine versus New York City. For one, not once did I see high heels and designer clothing. Now, to be sure, it's the high tourist season, and I'm sure 'those people' do still exist, even up north. But everyone I saw was in casual wear--tshirts, fleeces, shorts, sandals or hiking shoes. It was all so wonderfully laidback.

Even the driving was laidback! Nobody honked, nobody cut me off, nobody blocked me from entering a lane. There were a couple times that I was expecting those things to happen, and immediately another driver let me right in. That does NOT happen driving around these parts. To be fair to my own bad traits, I got plenty annoyed at people driving too slowly on the park roads where it was impossible to pass. Like the woman driving a huge truck with four kids in the truckbed, inching down Cadillac Mountain. I couldn't help be on her tail the whole time, cursing at the rudeness and stupidity, not to mention illegality. I never said I was perfect. :)

I grew up in the Northwest. For years I lived in a house bordered on wild evergreen forest, with views of majestic mountains and foothills. The green seeps in from all sides--pine trees, ferns, moss, leaves--it's always there. Being in deciduous New England depresses me--the world turns brown for months, not to mention always being fairly flat. I don't often think about it; I suppose I get used to it, as you do. Until I go somewhere where I remember what the world should be like. Maine is indeed very similar to the Northwest--evergreen trees, craggy cliffs and mountains (albeit much smaller than on the West Coast), ferns and mosses, and of course, the ocean pounding away on the shore.

Being surrounded by all that green was like being home again, to the soul. I didn't take enough time to really sit and be present in it, and it's cheesy as all get out, but really, it felt healing.

Speaking of healing and peace, here's a video of our kayaking (note, of course, that I'm not paddling while filming, so thanks again to the BF for being patient and strong!:D). Turn up the sound for this one, so you can hear the quiet.


Anonymous said...

This is going to be weird, but I love the audio on that clip.

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

The job, the job!!! What about the new job???

erin said...

Long time reader and first time commenter--I couldn't let your Maine trip pass without a comment. I moved from NYC to Portland 7 years ago, and you hit the nail on the head about how laid back people are up here. I kind of go a little crazy whenever I head back to the tri-state area and all its insanity. Yeah, we have our crazy tourists here (the woman with kids in her truckbed?) along with our share of fashionistas -- but somehow it's all okay.

And congrats on the new job!

dramamath said...

I'm all about peeing in the summertime. >:)