Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tales from Rural Maine: You Can't Get There From Here

Peter and I have a joke that he doesn't pay attention to his surroundings. When I say "joke," what I really mean is that he doesn't pay attention to his surroundings--and this drives me crazy because he never knows where anything is, including himself--but since it is, I have come to accept, an irrevocable truth of his personality, we have decided that we can laugh about it rather than fight about it.

Today, we were starving and didn't feel like cooking, and he was going out to pick up our mail at my Dad's anyway (we're housesitting this week), so we decided he'd pick up a pizza for a late lunch/early dinner kind of thing. Given the aforementioned lack of awareness, you can imagine that I had some trepidation about sending him the three miles to Snowman's alone, but he said he could do it.

I had him recite to me the directions from Dad's place on the Upper Falls Road over to Snowman's.

"You just go out to that main road and then when it gets to the place where it bends, you go that way and then it'll come up on the right next to that fried food place," he said.


"Okay, well. Yes. Although, like I said, it's across the street from Crosby's. And..." (And I can't believe you still call Route 1 "that main road there) "And..."

I hesitated to mention it, but I just hated that he was going to go that way when there was a way I thought was shorter. And easier. And would take him past the golf course, which he had just that day asked about.

So, I said, "...And there's actually a faster way? You could, instead of going out to Route 1, just come back this way. And, instead of turning sharp right at that house we like, to go up to the Russell Hill Road, you just keep going straight. You'll pass the golf course and then Snowman's will come up on your left."

"Really...?" He seemed skeptical, but willing.

"Yes!" I was excited that he wanted to branch out, learn a new way. He's usually resistant. "Yes. You just don't take that turn and you'll come to a stop sign and bear left and just stay on it 'til you come to Snowman's."

"Okay!" he said. And left.

An hour later I was half worried he'd had car trouble and didn't have a phone--and was also about ready to eat my own fist--when he rolled in the door with a cold pizza and a story about going to Holden.

"HOLDEN?" I said, flabbergasted. "You went to Holden?"

"I took a few wrong turns."

"I should say so."

He explained that he had gone the way he knew to get to Snowman's from my Dad's (out to "that main road"), but that he tried to follow my directions to get home.

"But, honey, I gave you directions TO Snowman's from Dad's, not FROM Snowman's to here...You were practically in Brewer."

"I know..." he said. "I realized I'd gone the wrong way when I saw the sign that said 'Brewer 8 miles."

We laughed. How could we not?

"I can't believe you drove to Holden. From Snowman's."

He's such a sweetheart, though, he didn't eat the pizza while he was driving all that way.

"At least it was a nice, scenic drive," he said. "Until you get to Holden. No one's fixed the roads there since the seventies."

"I know! That's because no one goes to Holden," I said.

The rest of our big plan for the evening was to go see The Proposal at the Alamo. We've been looking forward to it all week. We thought we'd outsmart the crowds by seeing it on a Wednesday night. But, I called ahead to confirm the showtime only to learn that it appears to have only shown over the weekend. No shows during the week. Sigh.

The pre-recorded voice that told me the show times I'd missed was my friend Jane's. We went to high school together and she runs the theater or something now. (Jane once convinced me to jump out of a moving vehicle because it was a standard and she didn't know how to start again once she stopped. Tip: 5 mph is actually a faster rate at which to hit the ground than you might think.)

It was so delightful to hear her sweet Mainer voice, even though I just saw her last week, that I actually listened to her dash my evening plans, then went back to the main menu and listened to her do it again.

So, it turns out that my dinner was cold, Peter still doesn't know how to get to Snowman's from here--or more importantly, back--but he does know how to get to Holden, should the need ever arise. We can't go see a movie without driving to Bangor or Ellsworth tonight, which Peter already practically did, and oh--P.S.--a large is a medium at Snowman's. If you want a large, you have to order a "Family."

So, we're still hungry. But we are, each in our own way, learning (or relearning) the ropes around here. And he did manage to get the mail, so, even as comparatively remote as our life is here, two new Netflix discs found their way to us, quite rapidly, in fact. So, we'll add The Proposal to our Netflix queue when it comes out and tonight we enjoy...Paul Blart: Mall Cop instead.

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