Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Second Sunday Drive, Week Two

The Pool at Roseland--no naked men at this time of the morning

There is no question that our lives today are stress-filled.  We try to cram as much as possible into our days, filling our lives with activities and worried that we won’t accomplish all that we set out to do.  I, personally, have never had a problem curling up with a book and getting lost in it, but even I stress out from time to time telling myself that I have to do this or that, and then beating myself up because I forgot one of the self-imposed agenda items.

Kevin could see that my stress meter was reaching the critical zone when he suggested that I pick up the car and head east, instead of returning home immediately.  After all, I’m retired and have no real obligations at this point in my life.  And I had been saying that I wanted to get back to West Virginia for a visit.  As Kevin and I are in the process of reinventing our lives, we discussed buying a fifth-wheel camper trailer or possibly a large motor home and spending as much as six months on the road.  We even looked at a number of these modern day Conestoga wagons, but in the end decided that traveling with five small dogs was, to put it mildly, insane.  That plus the fact that with gas prices what they are, filling the tank of a pickup capable of towing such a unit would cost more than flying to a resort somewhere and paying for a motel.  We would never have been able to visit Miami Beach, as one example, if it meant pulling a trailer and finding someplace to park it.  As we continued our discussion, I said that I wanted two trips a year, minimum.  One might be a cruise, or a trip to Puerto Vallarta or France, or some other destination, but one trip every year would be to West Virginia.  My family is important to me, and I’ve been cut off from them for far too long.

Ya Gotta Take Time to Smell the Roses--or whatever

But even the prospect of a relaxing time with Ron, Sharon, and any others who might turn up, did not keep me from over-planning things.  As it turned out, I didn’t really spend any time exploring Wisconsin.  All I really saw of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is the view you see driving down U.S. Highway 2, which is to say trees with the occasional glimpse of Lake Michigan on your right.  My drive Sunday across the Lower Peninsula was even worse, as there was nothing to see other than trees on the route Nancy chose for me.  And even though I said I was going to Saugatuck, I never entered that city’s limits.  Never saw the (in)famous dunes or the artsy-fartsy shops that follow gay gentrification of a community.  If Campit Resort, nice as it is, lies in any proximity to the water, you couldn’t prove it by me.  No, I was on a schedule, and that schedule meant “Drive, damn it!  Drive!”  

The five hours spent on southwestern Michigan’s back roads Monday afternoon did not help my mood, and kept me from another agenda item.  Ever since I met my cousin Vicki Bosely, I have wanted to visit Bowling Green, Ohio.  There is supposed to be a family Bible there with a Spellman family genealogy.  I would like to find that, or at least talk to every Spellman I can find in the area and see if they know anything about such an item.  Bowling Green is not far off the route I chose across northern Ohio, but I had no time.  I was running late.  I had to press on.  And who is setting this crazy schedule in my head?  Myself, the guy who’s retired and can do anything he wishes.

My new, more relaxed, look

With all that in mind, my first week at Roseland has been a blessing.  What have I done?  Precious little.  I’ve spent hours baking alongside the pool, or when my body got too hot from the sun’s heat, floating on a cushion in the pool.  I’ve read three books and started two more.  I’ve made two trips into New Martinsville, the closest town, to shop, and one trip to Parkersburg to see Sharon, pick up some stuff at Ron’s house, and get my hair cut.  What I haven’t done is write.  So far I have been unsuccessful in getting any internet connection set up.  My cell phone service is sketchy at best, and for two days the phone told me “No Service” when I tried to make a call.  All of which should have helped me to relax,  but in fact only caused more stress, as I saw my e-mail messages rising to a mountainous height and the artists I’m watching on DeviantArt and Red Bubble posting more and more photos that I couldn’t see.  And don’t you know I HAVE to see that art.  I HAVE to read my e-mail.  I HAVE to share things on Facebook.  The world might come to an end if I don’t.  The hardest part has been my inability to talk with Kevin.  

But those frustrations pass when I’m lying naked poolside, or hiking the nature trails around the resort.  They pass when I’m talking with interesting men from Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Washington DC or Wheeling West Virginia.  I even met a Bimbo.  (Yes, I meant to put that “B” in upper case.)  Everyone calls him Beau (or maybe Bo), but his driver’s license and birth certificate say that his real name is “Bimbo.”  Parents do awful things to their children, don’t they?

I have relaxed so much that on Wednesday last, I got my lowest blood glucose reading ever.  I haven’t been able to duplicate that reading since, so it may have been an anomaly, but I’m certain that if I stay here a while longer, spend as much time as possible by the pool or out hiking, I might even get that glucose to behave.  I’m seriously considering buying one of the trailers that’s for sale here.  Would that be any different than the log cabin my parents owned one-thousand miles from home which they visited one month each year?

The Trailer Across the Road
See what those gay boys can do with a campsite!

What are my plans now?  I don’t really have any.  I have promised Sharon that I will drive her to the southwestern corner of Indiana where her husband ‘s body is buried.  I want to take some more day trips around the area.  I’d like to go as far as the eastern peninsula of Maryland to see where the McAtees started out in America, passing through the Shenandoah Valley en route to see where the Stephens got their start.  I’ve asked Crescent City friend Paul Cloer about visiting him in North Carolina, and I’ve researched staying at gay resorts in Tennessee and Arkansas on my way home—whenever that is.  But for now, I’m happy to just sit on Ron’s deck, lounge by (in) the pool, and hike the trails.  Could retired life get any better?

Oh, and the books I’ve read?  Well I finished Charles Glass’s Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation, which tied in well with my doctoral work.  I read the first volume in Alexander McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie series, The Sunday Philosophy Club, and Jessie Chandler’s Bingo Barge Murder, which certainly fits the “light and frivolous” category.   I’ve started David Bishop’s The Third Coincidence.  All three are murder mysteries, although very different in style, and the last two are on my Kindle Fire, which means I can’t read them at the pool because of the glare on the screen.  So for poolside reading, I’ve pulled off my shelves a treatise on getting more done by doing less, Richard Carlson and Joseph Bailey’s Slowing Down to the Speed of Life:  How to Create a More Peaceful, Simpler Life from the Inside Out.  With any luck, I’ll learn something.

The Wetzel County, West Virginia Courthouse, Built 1902
New Martinsville, West Virginia


hotproof said...

it's amusing how just a word can spark a memory. You mentioned the guy whose name is "Bimbo". In the mid 1950's, my mother used to sing a song titled "Bimbo" to me & my sisters. I searched for that song on Youtube just now. The song was recorded by country singer Jim Reeves. Next time I call Mom, I'll have to tell her that I remembered that today. She'll get a kick out of that. Thanks Bryan!
And I'm enjoying your writings, as always.

redwinecarl said...

Hi Bryan: Perhaps your mantra should be "It doesn't matter", because most the things we convince ourselves we have to do really won't matter in the long run. I don't know if I've mellowed by a newly found insight, or if I just don't give a shit anymore, but I'm happier and more at peace now than ever. I wish the same for you.