in conversation with e.k.h.

G: The barista at Water Street just gave me my coffee before an annoying woman who was pacing by the counter, I think on purpose. She ordered before me, and her drink was way easier.

E: Probably. That barista is the hero we all need at this point in 2016.

G: After I got my coffee she promptly chirped at the barista that her Americano was for here. She looks like a retired bank manager who liked to write people up.

E: She’s probably had an urban garden space since 1973.

G: I’m cackling.

I snuck a picture and texted it to Erin.

E: HR Manager

G: Assistant*. But wielded more authority than the regular manager anyway, because of her haircut. Free reign to write up whoever. Untrammeled power, at Denso Manufacturing.

E: Also because she’d been there for 45 years, and ain’t no 24 year old communications major gonna take her job. She looks like she would have a smug smile every time her manager had a question that she knew the answer to.

G: And she didn’t attend two years of business classes at Davenport to be upstaged. Total smug smile. Unmoving hair. She was born with that haircut.

E: Had it since the age of seven.

G: Sells Avon and uses the money to buy religious presents for her grandchildren.

E: But then gives them a dollar in their birthday cards, too. Knowing full well a dollar ain’t shit.

excerpts from ibz, #2

Monday, July 18, 2016
Ibiza, Spain

Beach #2: The Tropicana. We went with Lola and met her cousin Juliano, who looks like a blue-eyed Javier Bardem. Gruff, but pleasant and kind in that way that Italians are (they know a guy!) At the end of the day, they just want to look after you and make sure you’re having a good time. This is why I love Italians.

—–

Beach #4: Sunset Ashram, Cala Comte. I needed to pick up a blanket for Erin and Carolyn. I sort of assumed we would swim at the beach right there, the one Joao and I slipped into in the middle of the night last year while cocaine-fueled, middle-aged Germans danced to electronic music above. But Raica took us on a short walk to another beach that sat down in a cove — private, more intimate. There were a bunch of naked people. It was perfect.

The beach itself was a little rocky, but once you got in the water? Only sand. Finally!

We swam and watched the sunset. It’s totally cliche to call it breathtaking, right? But that is the simple reality. Watching the uppermost tip of the sun sink below the horizon has this way of taking everything out of you in a single whoosh. And when you recover, and the sky quickly changes color, you feel this connectedness to the earth and for a (very) brief moment you turn into a total goddamn hippie. I haven’t felt that way too many times, but this island (and Cala Comte in particular) seems to bring it out.

It’s ethereal; it’s mystical; it’s calming.

I close my eyes and blue spirals fly everywhere. That is, of course, a terrible explanation. But it’s all I’ve got…

Why always blue?
A deep, dark blue.

—–

Later that evening we hung out on the balcony. Conversation that was simultaneously breezy and deep. We shared memories from the year before. This is a group with whom I have memories! They’re special, these people.

And slowly the group of five dwindled down to a group of two: me and Joao. We were still on New York time. 4 a.m. — completely relaxed, completely not sleepy.

We played music for each other while the trees rustled around us, trying to decide on a wedding song. Tom Waits, maybe? Radiohead?

Let’s see in two years.

virg’s

Diane called me: “Are you and Joao taking pictures on the side of the road? We just drove past and thought it was you.”

“Yep, that would be us,” I said as I hopped over a massive snow pile to get back to the car.

She cackled and hung up the phone.

But, seriously? Virg’s Barber Shop has sat on Red Arrow Highway for decades, probably, and today is the first day I’ve ever noticed it. A small, cinderblock building with an unconvincing sign in the window: ‘Open for Business.’ It was everything Instagram dreams are made of.

Meanwhile, Joao photographed an auto dealers sign that said “Lube Express.”

obrigado pela lição, putas

I was receiving top notch lessons at the dinner table. Blue Ribbon Sushi. Along with Natalie Portman and Laura Prepon, neither of whom offered their support or encouragement.

“Eu gosto de peixe,” I said, proudly displaying my new and sophisticated command of the Portuguese language. “Eu gosto de chocolate.”

“Say ‘eu gosto de buceta,’” Raica prompted.

“Eu gosto de buceta!” I said, flinging my wrist like an Italian. It came out so naturally. “It has gusto!”

They snickered across the table.

“Say it again.”

“Eu gosto de buceta!!” I said with joy.

More snickering.

“WHAT?!” I cried. “What does it mean?!”

“I like pussy.”

“Oh…” Well once more for good measure, then.

“Eu gosto de buceta!”

lake george + perry ray

127005281301The Ray family lived on the unfortunate side of Lake George Trail, an unkempt road that followed a ridge that separated Lake George from Spider Lake.

Lake George itself was one-tenth the size of Spider Lake, and half of that was swamp, anyway. Cattails and other aquatic plants rose from the shallow north end of the lake. There was a turtle the size of a table, and an ancient old catfish, long as the Ray’s own dock, that slithered lazily through the shallow water, occasionally sneaking to the surface to to tragically alter the life of an insect whose only crime was taking a quick dip in the water to snag a drink. These creatures ran the joint, and made sure you knew it too—moving around you completely unfazed as you sat in your rowboat with the line from your fishing pole resting on the surface.

It wasn’t the type of lake, though, where you could spread your wings and zip over the surface with one of those new Caille motors from downstate. Perry Ray would hear them from his family home, a small but tidy house which sat at the south end of the lake.

Zzzzzzzzzz…

The buzz was similar to a stalking fly, scoping you out from a distance. When Perry Ray heard this, he’d dart across Lake George Trail to his favorite vantage point: a felled tree that juts out into the part of Spider Lake where all its various arms and legs join together.

The body of the lake.

the great spider lake boat races

The first outboard motor for built for use in boats was a small, eleven pound unit designed by Gustave Trouvé in 1870. Bolstered by the tailwinds of the industrial era, the Caille Motor Company of Detroit began to mass produce these motors in 1914, where they slowly made their way Up North by the 1920′s.

The roaring twenties. That indefatigable decade which saw such technological, cultural, and economic change. Even in the largely rural swath of northern Michigan. People had more free time and money to devote to pleasure.

And thus was born the Great Spider Lake Boat Races of the 1920′s…

 

england

We settled in for the evening and fired up an episode of The Crown.

“Oh! He’s in that other show I’m watching, that guy. I think England must have a total of 20 actors that they just recycle through.”

“And they’ve all been in Harry Potter.”