I’ve had one of those experiences. You know the ones, the ones that you obsess over for days afterward, trying to figure out the signifcance of. Sometimes its an experience with a person, where you feel a connection on some level and you analyze every moment you spent with them: Cataloging every smile, glance, hair flip, touch, sigh and storing it away for your next experience with that person. Sometimes it was good conversation with someone, where afterwards you go over everything that was said, what was right, what was wrong, what worked, what didn’t, what made them smile. Storing all this information for the next time, And you absolutely obsess over the details, find significance in the smallest of details, the briefest of sentences, the shortest of breaths.
Sometimes though, you can have this experience with a place. For me, last friday, I had this experience with an island. My friends H and J took me out to Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine. I was supposed to have already visited thisland last year for their wedding, but I had to work and could not get out of it and I am so humbled that they actually forgave me for that.
We met up on thursday nite, driving through fog so thick, all I could see was the tailgate of their car. We pulled into Moody’s diner for a treat I was unaware we were in for: whoopie pies!!!!!! Oh man, these things were amazing, and weighed in at about 2 lbs a piece! H shells out about 6 bucks and were off and running through the pea soup again. After another hour, we stop at the place we are staying for the night, which was H’s mom’s apt. Settling in for the nite, we drank tea, ate parts of our whoopie pies and smoked a little. Then I settled in for a 5 hour power nap so we could catch the early morning ferry to the island.
Unknown to my friends, I had not been on a boat since one fateful whale watch from over a year ago. Some people have something called ‘sea legs’. I do not possess these…in any form at all.
In the morning, the fog had still not let up. We picked up coffee and headed for the Port Clyde.
I knew I was in trouble as soon as I set foot on the boat. Memories of the glorious whoopie pie came back with a vengeance as it churned in time with the waves we were hitting as we set out for the island. I tried desperately to disregard the feeling that I was getting. I engaged in idle chit chat with my good friends, letting their conversation wash over me like a blanket, hoping I could curl up in it and be safe from the turmoil that was coming. I looked around desperately for landmarks to keep my eyes on, hoping to steady myself by looking at a fixed point but the fog obscured everything. I tried in vain to distract myself, but the harder I avoided what was happening to my body, the more it rebelled. Then, the flop sweat started. I knew it was over when I was suddenly drenched in sweat. Jason was making a comment about someone we all knew, something about how there was no way to change someone and he ended with “But what can you do”. Without looking at my friends, I said ” I know what I’m going to do,” and ran for ‘The Head”.
Now at moments like this, I’m not about to describe the horrors of what came out of me,. I’m not above vulgarity and gross outs, but when it comes to vomit, it all feels the same way: the renching feeling, the horrid taste and the relief, then,repeat. For some reason, the door to the head would not shut, so I was left with my ass sticking out for everyone to see me leaned over losing the coffee and whoopie pie that constituted a poor excuse for breakfast that morning. At some point, some woman asked for my arm and attempted to apply pressure treatment to points in my arm and hand to help with the sickness. While, earlier, this may have been appreciated and helpful, I was beyond help at this point. Nonetheless, I gave her my hand, and all she succeeded in doing was successfully cutting off circulation to my hand as she squeezed my pressure points ruthlessly. Finally, as we were approaching the island, H came over, gave me a hug and told me, that we were about to reach land. I hugged her back, resting my chin on top of her head and finally, the sickness was gone. Guess I should have just asked for a hug in the first place.
Still unsure if I could do it, H led me out of the head and onto the dock. Finally, I was on land. Immediately, my stomach stopped doing somersaults, instead downgrading to lite tumbles and gurgles. I took a deep breath and proceeded up the dock. The captain of the bought gave me a sympathetic smile as I passed him. I tried to smile back, managing a giddy grimace at best. My friends smiled and chatted with me, hoping I was allright as they led me away from the dock and onto dry land.
So how does all of this become one of “those experiences”? Well, I’ll have to finish this story another time…