It's not about the house.

Monday, August 16, 2010

...And Red All Over

Remember how my trip to Massachusetts started as a day at the summer camp I used to work at, painting or banging or screwing something or other? Well I guess the banging and screwing must be reserved for counselors (when camp's in session, at least), because it it turned out our job was to paint what used to be the kitchen when we worked there. It’s not the kitchen anymore, because the old dining hall burned down and all that’s left of it is a concrete slab and fieldstone fireplace:

Sad, huh?

But the old kitchen is still standing somehow, and from the state of it I'd say they use it as a staff room or something, because it’s gross. Full of cobwebs; dirt of who-knows what origin in every corner; nasty, puke-colored hand-me-down upholstered furniture with moldy-looking cushions; and just generally decorated in the nouveau-crack-den style. I can’t believe the unsanitary things we used to do to one another in conditions just like those. Everyone but me, of course, because back then I used to be a good girl.

But we weren’t there Saturday to do the inside. Last weekend some other folks power-washed the outside of it, and we were there to hit it with a coat of brown stain and white trim.

"We" turned out to be four of us, spanning two camp-generations – meaning there was less than five years’ age difference between us all. Camp generations are shorter than real ones, see, because at camp you’re teenagers, and to a teenager eighteen months feels like a thousand years. So when someone you meet at reunion, for example, tells you they thought you were two generations older than you are, it doesn’t mean you look like Betty White. You’ve just got some grey hair and he’s drunk, is all.

Of the four of us that were there on Saturday, Ann and Yvette are both one camp-generation older than me – they weren't there when I was, and somehow I didn’t meet them at reunion -- and Rickie-poo’s a half-generation in between. I knew of Rickie-poo when we were there more than I actually knew him, although I will admit I had a crush on him just like every other pulsing teenaged girl. In fact, if you went to or worked at camp, then you probably had a crush on Rickie, too -- he was the cute, blonde, tan one with the guitar? I think it’s mandatory that every camp-generation everywhere must have one. Oh, and nobody called him Rickie-poo back then. I started doing it this year because it makes me laugh, and now I think it might be catching on. Sorry, Rickie-poo!

Now, before I go any farther, I would like to state for the record that I was told by Rickie-poo himself: “We'll be starting at 9am but get there when you can.” And that is a direct quote from a facebook message. Well, I mean, the italics are mine – you can’t put italics in a facebook message, and I do gravitate toward the dramatic, after all. But the point is I was told I didn’t have to be on time.

And I wasn’t really even all that late. I left Dad’s house at five past nine, detoured to Dunkin’s, and pulled in at 9:37 sharp. Spent a few minutes gathering shit out of the car and trying to untie the damn grocery bag full of CDs I’d brought along, and was hollering hello at quarter of.

By which point Ann and Yvette had finished scraping.

Well, good. Because I fucking hate scraping. Actually, I fucking hate painting, too. It’s a measure of how stirred-up, bat-shit, Shining-crazy I’m starting to go in Maine that I was willing to drive two and a half hours down to do this with three people I don’t even know. I know them now, though. Boy, howdy, do I know them now...

So anyway, we painted, blah blah blah.


...and after... a gratuitous shot of me doing something paint-related. 
Not as proof of my efforts so much as because it's hot.

See? We really did. But that isn’t the important part at all. The important part is our discovery -- and it's not much of a revelation, really -- that people who work at camp are good people, no matter what camp-generation they belong to. A little of this happened while we repaired the kitchen, but most happened afterwards, when we repaired ourselves to a local establishment called the Black & White.

The Black & White was where we always used to go for burgers and ice cream on nights out. Well, not always. As Rickie-poo pointed out, once you had a car -- or a friend who had one -- you went anywhere else but. Because even to a camp-starved, growing teenager, the Black & White was a thousand generations removed from anything that could be called gourmet. The burgers had knuckles in them just like the ones at camp, the fries were worse, and what I remember most about the ice cream was its distinct sawdusty mouth-feel. Blech. But it was close enough to walk to by way of a trail in the woods, and they even kept a hitching post out back for those of us who rode.

I gather that the Black & White has been closed for a while, but it recently reopened with the same name. And, this time around, it has a bar

The food’s better this time, too, if you don’t count the baggy-tie Yvette got in her burger. But the manager apologized for that profusely, comped her meal and a whole round of drinks. It just so happened that was the round we weren’t sure we were going to have, but once we did it seemed like a good idea to have a couple more. The conversation turned to things you talk about at camp, which means I’ve promised not to reveal any of it here...

But (maybe because I do gravitate toward the dramatic, after all) I can't seem to stop myself from showing this:


Yes, it's what you think it is, and it wasn’t just for giggles. It was illustrating a Very Important Point someone was making (okay, me. But for those of you who know me, don't despair: I wasn't talking about anyone in particular. If it looks familiar, then that's all on you). Rickie-poo drew it (which, quite frankly, put the nail in the coffin of my teenaged crush because, I mean, look at that thing!). And Yvette for some reason (extra-credit studying later, perhaps?) tucked it in her purse and took it home.

There is a teeny-tiny chance that none of us should have been driving by the time we got the check – which was really embarrassingly small. I do know, however, that we all got home okay. I also know that we were there so long I was hungry again when I went by Hot Dog Annie’s on my way home, so I stopped and had myself another meal.

And, last but not least, I know I really, really wish that one of my new friends had thought to make me lock the damn BlackBerry in the trunk of my car!

I was feeling so warm and fuzzy inside after that fun day and my long-anticipated Annie’s hot dog, see, that I decided I just had to share it with a New Potential Friend. But I got the NPF's voice mail. And the voice mail kept cutting me off after three seconds. “Hey, it’s Erin, Iclick.” “Me again, I just got disconnected, and I—click.” By the third or fourth time I called back I wasn’t feeling warm and fuzzy anymore. I was feeling like a flustered jackass and wishing the ground would open up and swallow me whole. And, naturally, that’s the moment NPF's voice mail chose to let me jackass-blather on...

It’s okay. The person I jackassed all over was pretty well convinced I’m psycho anyway, so it’s not as though there’s any damage done. I may have lost my New Potential Friend for good there – I hope not, but at this point there's no more this drama queen can do. If NPF's out there and interested, however, I do have three New Actual Friends willing to vouch that I am "crazy, but in a good good way." And that's another direct facebook-message quote. But if not, well...

By my New Friend count, I’m up by two.


atlanticmo said... went back in time to the future and made three new old friends? Woah

EGE said...

Pretty tricky, eh?