New Years in the Woods
– Driving on the Northeast Extension, 476, behind an Oversized Load Tractor Trailer, kicking up pebbles with its dirty wheels, one flies into our windshield — like a little bullet-hole. The lawyer in me realizes that we should get the license plate and the phone number and website so I drive up behind the truck and then parallel to it — having the Little Bumblebee Girl write down all the infodata.
– Wegmans parking lot, Scranton, young teenage girl in a Honda hits us in the parking lot, Little Bumblebee Girl takes off running across the parking lot. I go running after her, but cannot find her. I meet her back at the car. Miseries. I call the special bakery and get directions.
– The special bakery. The register boy can’t make change for a twenty. The women standing behind him scowls and takes over, handing Little Bumblebee Girl her money.
– Arrive in Hawley. Wait for ten minutes in the Second IGA (not the first one).
– Go to a diner. Order a BLT and coffee. I am sitting next to Little Bee, kitty-corner to Yogi Avishai, and across from Brooklyn Law. Much eating, little talk, discussion of stealing a salt shaker.
– Second IGA. Grocery shopping. Interminable — can’t make a decision about anything — how many avocadoes go into a guacomole — me and Mr. Don begin playing the weighing game — weighing a lime, a lemon, a tomato, a canteloupe, a clump of bananas, and a newspaper. Later, a woman walks by with a small dog in her chest — Excuse me, do you mind if we weigh your dog? Thoughts: Measuring things, holding one thing in one hand, one thing in the other — relativism, figure and ground, foreground and background.
– Cabin. Dead animals all around, awesome.
– Fancy dinner at the Sleepy Inn. I order the Filet. Long table — difficult to talk to people. Surrounded by the girls.
– Back at the cabin. Some drama about Rectal Exam’s boyfriend — when he is coming, when we will pick him up, etc. etc.
– We play a game of Kurducken at some point.
– We go out and look at the ice-covered lake. It is absolutely dark. Emptiness true.
– Little Bee’s friends all around.
– Mr. Don is applying to MFA Fiction programs.
– Fights about who’s sleeping there. Someone wants a couple’s room, and someone doesn’t. No one is budging — girls (young women) refuse to be assertive — I attempt to draw lots with letters, but girls do not see the necessary fairness of this — Little Bumblebee (my lover) wins — and I make a decision, deciding whose claim is more meritorious
– we sleep in a narrow bed separated by a little space from another couple asleep in a narrow bed. A Zebra skin hangs on the wall behind us. We are bundled, and it is not too cold. I toss and turn in the night, searching for the best position in a small space.
– The next morning, I wake up at ten and call the public library. I have procrastinated heavily and put off applying to jobs to the last minute, and at the last minute, the website died. So now, on New Years Eve, I have to drive into town and find some internet and apply. Brooklyn Law is in the very same boat. The library closes at 1PM, the voice on the phone tells me. It is 11 and change. I wake up Brooklyn Law, people start to gather, I get a map from Mr. Syracuse. We go — it has snowed heavily the night before — I cant get the car out the front, so I have to back up, with the car door open and Brooklyn Law directing me from behind. A snowplough has just gone through. Driving down the road, I experiment with downshifting and upshifting — it seems to work. The drive through the woods is beautiful — it is a narrow road, and the white ground, and evergreen trees makes me think of sleighrides in Siberia I’ve never been on.
We drive into town and stop at the library, where we find out the deadline has been extended. I sit and read about the war in Gaza, and try to communicate with my girlfriend. She sends us to the grocery store where we buy paper plates, purell, and cough drops. Then we head to the wine store, only to learn at the last moment that Mr. Syracuse’s parents do not like wine. What did we go for? Across the way is the Arby’s where we pee’d at yesterday. There is some issue with the septic tank overflowing, and we are attempting to limit our output, as Mr. Syracuse put it. We spin around to the Arby’s, where I get a roast beef sandwich and Brooklyn Law gets a coffee. I go and take a long and difficult shit. When I’m done, we drive back to the cabin.
The directions back are generally pretty good except for the last moment, a fork in the road. I don’t know what to do until I see the “Slow Children” sign. I had made a joke about it to Little Bumblebee the day before when we had driven in. My asshole-nature saves me once again. We get back to the cabin safely.