What I did on my September vacation

A photographer friend of mine whom I see rarely and who also lives alone, invited me to the Highland Games (Scottish folks celebrating their Scottishness) She had to shoot pictures of men in kilts throwing very heavy objects and I’m always up for that. She drove 3 hours from where she lives in Massachusetts and I drove 2 hours from where I live in Maine, and we both met up in Midstate NH for the weekend. It was probably the longest ‘vacation’ I have had in 20 years. I have been doing the ONE DAY vacation thing. I can never get anyone to mind my pets, and I am always minding everyone else’s pets and parents.

packed extra migraine meds and instant coffee
unpacked superfluous long pants and sweater
drop-clothed furniture with nylon sleeping bags.
landmined kitchen with water and overflowing food bowls.
barricaded door with three clean litter boxes
abandoned confused dog with sympathetic friend

drove unfamiliar yet comfortable overland route to midstate NH
listened masochistically to Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen Year
lured into 1st thrift shop for Singer rescue
lured into 2nd thrift shop for pee break
gripped wheel resistance against further stoppage
nodded vow to disappointed antique shops
landed at hard scrabble 1 and half star hotel
shrugged off small potatoes with bff

reintroduced to New Hampshire notches via gondola ride
ignored hand cramp from death gripping subway handles
enjoyed crisp cool mountain air without sweaty effort
watched tourists recalculate world perspective from new view

visited Ice Age rock pool Basin formed by unrelenting cascade
climbed slippery grey rocks to photograph other slippery grey rocks
refreshed by deep green moss under still green canopy
induced by rushing waters to heed call of nature
dawdled on side roads glimpsing variety of camp styles

splurged at Food Network revamped view endowed restaurant
feasted on delicious fusion food and even tastier booze
mocked then forgave ditzy teenage waitress

discovered hotel internet mirrored shower pressure trickle
slept as one who was dead

woke unwillingly early by bladder and roommate
experienced sad breakfast buffet claimed by no continent
shoved luggage raisin bran and instant coffee in gob.
unpacked rain gear, added water-filled coke bottle
plonked silly straw hat on head, walking shoes on feet

bussed from highly organized tiered lot system
slogged through quarter mile of rope line with other peasants
crossed river moat to venue of Brigadoonian proportions
heard first painful wailing of skin bags surrendering their breath

discarded bff distracted by colorful clothing and shiny objects
watched female shot putters throw rocks setting new event record
crowded by crowds, gave up hillside seat stick spot
explored tent city, seeking unexpected offering
enjoyed Anglo-Saxon cos-players at play
admired commitment to tenuous ancestry and clutching at wisps of heritage
tallied fleeting glimpses of non-white faces
devoured crumbly sticky Eccles cake and adequate pasty
bought every package of Bourbon creams

flirted with heat stroke from last spasm of summer
escaped concentrated drumlines and overlapped wailing
stalked and bagged an actual chair with permanent shade
rewarded with straight on view of kilted thighs pointlessly lifting boulders

resisted urge for caffeine hit, seriously jonesed instead
conceded to afternoon of dizzy heat migraine
retreated into the ‘just in case’ yarn bag
knitted blindly many sloppy inches of memorized scarf
people-watched parents pandering to offspring
judged strangers mercilessly for life choices

rescued bff from overtaxed spinal column
slogged back across chasm to beautiful blue buses
broke in new swim togs plunging knees into freezing algeanated hotel pool
picnicked on prosciutto, provolone, pita, pretzels and pepper hummus
teased again by unfulfilled promise of Wi-Fi
yelped my disappointment into the void

loitered over leftovers until desire to breach the highlands had faded
Googled up potentially amusing antique shops.
suppressed urge to strangle one handed driver unable to follow gps directions
surrendered to harmony preserving potential fiery death
rooted out the only extant shop on Google’s proffered list of five
bought grannies apron right off the display
discovered delightful department-store-like thrift shop
looted vintage textiles and pillaged bag full of handwritten recipes
relished grilled chicken and goat cheese sandwich at trendy bistro
wandered aimlessly through more mountain midlands
looked fruitlessly for more vendors to take our money

overdosed on New Hampshire ambiance
exhausted from each other’s company
raced ridiculously pink sunset back to Maine
spun up more of Reichl’s covetable recipes
face-washed extensively by dog slobber
topped gas station Caesar with leftover fusion steak
set 58 hour personal best free from cirque de chats

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