The premise of the show is a guy, maybe two of them, who travel around eating at various locations. Anthony Bourdain, Guy Fieri, a sub plot in Master of None, or the main plot in The Trip, they are all the same show, and they are incredibly cliche’.
Just like me.
I suppose it is better to live those shows than CSI.
We drove down America’s Cup Avenue looking out at the marina and the rows of shops. We went down Bellevue past the Breakers, Elms, and the Marble house. We took the road till it ended and looked for a place to park. There are no places to park. We parked anyways.
Newport is salty aired luxury. Money with a splash of sea-foam. It is beautiful. Gilded, but beautiful. We climbed over the rocks with waves in front of us and mansions behind us, and we did… nothing.
Kaleo and I sat in this metaphor, adventure before us, wealth, responsibility and stability behind us, and we waver in between with no parking. This is what we do. We flirt with risk, dip our feet in the water, but cannot abandon the safety of the shore. We cannot inhabit the mansion, we not only can’t afford it but we have no idea who owns it. So we scamper about the lawn peaking in windows and talking to the grounds crew. We will likely never gain entry, and I think in some way we are fine with that. Envy is so much easier than ambition and we have convinced ourselves that the salt of the earth tends to lose its savor when placed on the top shelf.
But not Preston. Preston scampered over rocks like he had a plan. He has always had a plan and in so doing he will soon not need a parking space because he will have a garage. Kaleo and I will one day trespass his property and he will allow it. We will all be fine with this.
We had forgotten breakfast. It was our last day and we had still not finished off our cooler full of bacon. We set up shop by the old fort, cooking bacon while the holiday crowd launched their boats. Kaleo and I sat, eating greasy things, looking stoic. We are good at looking stoic. This fog of thought and sleep was interrupted by a pasty streak that came shooting from behind the car, over the rocks, and into the water with a splash.
Preston’s head came back up for air, and quickly the rest of him clamored over to hug a rock. His chest was bright red and he gasped with only marginal success for air. “C… huuuh… O.. huuuu… L…. huuuu… D!
Kaleo and I watched him soggily gasp for air, looked at each other, and we both sighed in disappointment.
I did not feel like swimming. I am a grown man who makes his own decisions. No one was telling me to do anything. No one had spoken a single syllable and here I was, Kaleo too, grumpily digging our trunks out of our bags. We are those special kinds of idiots called men. Preston knew what he was doing when he dove in the water. He threw down the gauntlet without warning and we had no choice.
Why did we have no choice? I have no idea. Like I said, we are idiots. Happy idiots.
Cold water challenges are great for the soul. We were all happy as we attempted to dry off and clean up the scraps of our breakfast. Nothing kills happiness like a ten year old.
“So have you guys been swimming?” the pudgy little guy asked as he walked past us, snorkel and mask in hand.
“We jumped in. It’s cold but we are manly.”
“I don’t mind cold. If you want something even mannisher… manner… manliest, there is a hole in the middle of the bay that no one has found the bottom of. My dad dove in it. That’s our boat over there.”
With that our manliness was trumped by a ten year old with a yacht.
Smelling a bit like a salty camp fire we sat in the car and drove south. Back toward the Bronx, the turnpike, and on to home. The conversation was mostly exhausted, we were tired, but mostly we were happy.
My phone thought we were in Canada. I got that warning text that any placed calls would be expensive, so I turned the phone off.
When we met up with Eric he came bounding through the rain to the car and with his ever present grin asked, “you guys are sure you want me to bring the boat?”
He shrugged in agreement, grinned, and bounded back to his car. That is what Eric does. He grins and bounds, and on this occasion he towed his boat to Lake Carmi on our behalf.
This was all Eric’s doing, The lake, the lean-to, the boat, and the grin. The rain was not his doing.
As is required in any camp, a fire is the first order. I’m not sure why. We didn’t need it to cook, we would not freeze without it, and it was raining. None the less we held a tarp over the fire pit, built a log cabin, and Eric handed me a box of matches reminding me that as an eagle scout I only get one match. It took me two.
Kaleo lit the propane stove with one match.
From our store he pulled five pounds of butcher cut tri-tip, a roll of fresh mozzarella, and a bag of apples. I produced a bottle of home brewed mint-lime soda. Soaking wet, smelling like camp fire, we ate like kings.
We slept like peasants.
Maritime adventurers, professional fisherman, and fools will all launch a boat in a downpour. After a good breakfast of bacon and eggs, we honored our position as fools. We land lubbers marveled as Eric bounded from shore to dock and from dock to boat. Following his lead we lubbed from shore to dock and stumbled from dock to boat.
We zoomed about a bit, played around a little, then decided on a spot to settle and cut the engine. Mr. were-bear and I set up shop in the back and broke out the bottle of craft soda, Eric and Preston prepared to fish. We of course failed to pack fishing gear, but Eric and his grin were prepared to provide. He pulled from the deck a rod for himself, and ever the gentleman, handed a Lightning McQueen children’s fishing pole to Preston. The good Dr. Preston caught Eric’s grin like the flu, and cast his hook into the deep.
Grins were all they caught.
Without fish but with frozen fingers, we eventually loaded the boat back on the trailer. Camp was broken and the four of us looked at each other blankly. “Now what?”
Ben & Jerry’s? Maple syrup farm? Apple cider factory? We were unsure and decided to first go drop off the boat at Eric’s house then just pick a road and figure it out.
We unhooked the trailer and Eric stuck his head in the door as a curtesy to his wife and kids. As is the eternal law of fathers seeking adventure, as soon as Eric poked his head in the house, one of his three children threw up on the floor. His wife encouraged him to get in the car with the mancation crew, but as is the eternal law of GOOD fathers, Eric just grinned, looked over at us, and sent us on our way without him.
The three of us back in the car again, looked at a clock for the first time that day.