THE HOMESICK MINIVAN
We’ve had some warm weather recently. Eerily warm. I don’t trust it. I won’t let myself get too comfortable with these sixty degree February days. It will get cold again soon. I’m sure of it.
My wife, Bella, loves this warm weather. She loves every minute of it. She is curvy and has dirty blond hair and when I met her she loved to get stoned and pet bumble bees. This woman needs to go out and frolic. To frolic hard. She is an expert frolicker. She frolics up mountains. She frolics into cold oceans. She frolics into trendy bars and down dusty backroads. Sometimes I frolic with her. I’m decent at frolicking. But sometimes I prefer to shop at antique stores for hours at a time. I love antique stores with all my heart. I especially love the kind that smell like cigarettes and body odor and stretch marks and sweat pants; the kind that are cheap, because I’m broke most of the time. I buy ugly paintings. Well, I don’t think they are ugly. Other people think they are ugly. I like to think of them as humble. Or as a little senile. Sometimes I try to convince my wife antiquing is a form of frolicking. She never falls for it though. She needs to that deep frolic.
On one of these warm days, we decided to frolic all the way to our old college in Poultney, Vermont. We love that town. It’s quiet in a way that’s hard to find on the east coast. Or anywhere.
The town is only an hour or so away. We arrived while it was still morning and we shopped at the used bookstore, got a soda at Stewarts, visited campus, the walked a small foot bridge that crosses the Poultney River. I told her a story about how my buddy Enzo and I once bought a bunch of wine and sat at this bridge and drank and read pretentious Beat poetry out loud all day long. We loved Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues and Enzo wanted to read the whole book out loud. It took a long time because we got very drunk. At one point, while we were reading, a bunch of other students showed up. They were with an Images of Nature class and were trying to have a class outside. The bridge was a perfect place for this. Drunk and feeling inspired by corny poems, Enzo and I took over the class and rambled on about poetry and the beats. For some reason the professor let this happen. We even read some of Mexico City Blues to the kids. I imitated Kerouac voice as I read which must have made me sound doofy and I noticed that all the students looked bored but I kept reading anyway, acting even more wild, doing my crappy imitation of Kerouac.
Bella laughed hard even though she had heard the story many times. She loves stories about me embarrassing myself.
For lunch, my wife and I got a sandwich at a diner called Perry’s. I used to go to this diner frequently when I was a student. My whole being would be sloppy and bruised, from drinking boxed wine and snuggling with naked friends. I’d eat an egg sandwich and nurse this hangover and I’d feel happy.
There were no students there that day though. Just old people and I was preferred it that way.
We sat at the counter.
“Should we move here one day?” Bella asked.
“You want to move into this diner?”
“No, dumb face, I mean Poultney.”
“Sure, I could finish college. We could move into one of the dorms.”
“Oh never mind.”
The daughter of one of the waitresses came in and sat at the counter between myself and a chubby old man in suspenders. She looked young, maybe eight or nine years old. The old man joked with the child. He chatted with her about school and how boring it is. Then the old man helped her build a tower out of creamer cups. The tower became tall and it looked like it could tip over any minute but they kept working on the thing and it was very fun to watch. I ate my grilled cheese on rye, occasionally dipping it in a cup of soup. Finally, the tower fell and everyone at the counter had a good laugh.
After lunch we walked around some more. Though we loved it there, it was hard to stick around for too long. We made one more lap around town and argued about what we were going to eat for dinner. Both of us agreed we should diet. But I thought we could fit pizza into this diet somehow. She did not agree.