My beach retreat is almost over. There’s one more day, which I’ll spend cleaning and doing laundry and replacing various household items that I used up and ate. At the beginning (last Tuesday) Keith drove me to a Wegman’s the size of several city blocks, where I bought $200/worth of groceries, which I have almost completely eaten. I’m impressed with myself about this. Mostly I cooked myself normal, healthy meals. There was one weird bean improvisation whose leftovers I unrepentantly trashed and one pretty lackluster baked chicken thigh dinner but 90% of the time I was a good host to myself. I am happy to be self-sufficient in this one tiny way. Oh but at one point I did put yogurt on pasta, let’s not discuss it.
Other than today, when I dicked around on the Internet on my phone for hours in the morning, I have been disciplined about getting through my revisions. I also took a lot of long, weird, deserted walks through the charming/eerie beach suburb where I’m staying, went to yoga three times at the local studio, and spent several blissful hours checking email and planning Emily Books things at a pretty cafe I was especially grateful to find after having previously done my wifi time in a coffeeshop slightly closer to my digs that had signs saying they would happily pray for you. Yikes! Also the second place brews La Colombe, my favorite. And there’s a vintage/custom jeans store across the street where I ran into the only person I know who lives even slightly near here, which seemed like magic, and I talked to him for probably much too long. As usual it took me about 10 minutes of solo isolated living to become a terrible spaz who has no idea how to interact with other humans. I encountered a broad spectrum of sociableness in my Asbury/Ocean Grove interactions, too, though. Some people seemed just as starved as I likely did, as if I was the only person who’d come into the shop in days (which, possibly, yes.) Others, the Christian coffeeshop owner among them, were downright cold. Maybe they could sense my desperation for chat/distraction.
I saw several eastern towhees, a hermit thrush, and of course a lot of shorebirds. This morning I saw a seagull eating a piece of styrofoam and made it stop, then had to carry around the trash in my hand til I found a trashcan, much later.
I thought about the Alanis song where she accuses the listener of being petrified of silence, then offers up a few bars of dead air. “Did you think about your bills, your ex, your deadlines, or when you think you’re gonna die?” Like all her songs this is a pretty goofy one. However I did think about all those things. I also thought about my book. It’s bizarrely short right now. The scenes I’ve cut from it are probably longer than it. A lot of those scenes, especially the ones I’ve worked on over multiple drafts, seem like *things that happened* to me now. I’m glad they’re gone, but it’s odd to have them in my head still, all these fake memories, like dreams.
The boardwalk in AP is still under construction and I didn’t feel like walking all the way to the one functioning staircase, which is in the middle, so instead I climbed over the railing at one end. The Italian restaurant there has outdoor speakers that blare Classic Rock all day and at just that moment they were playing “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane. I was the only one on the whole boardwalk except one distant jogger and one slow-walking couple. I felt like I was in not a dream but a dream sequence, specifically one of Tony’s Atlantic City recurring nightmares. I laughed out loud as I walked off the boardwalk and back towards town while behind me the song’s final exhortation blared: “FEED YOUR HEAD! FEED YOUR HEAD!”