September 6th, 2004 | Published in Uncategorized
Pleasant Labor Day weekend. We got lucky and scored a cottage in Pacific City on the Oregon coast. The place is under renovation, so in exchange for stuff like unfinished outlets and lighting fixtures hanging down from the ceiling and uncarpeted floors it cost us $30 a night, which is a pretty nice rate for a place that could sleep 12 comfortably. It was pretty close to the beach, too: Ten minute walk, tops.
Some rentals on the coast are professionally managed and more like hotels than houses. This one had the lived-in feel of a place rented to folks when the family doesn’t care to use it. Family photos were stuck to the fridge with magnets, personal art projects were on display, and there was a collection of beach shoes and jackets by the door. There were also some fine displays of beach kitsch.
I brought a few books along, but as with every rental on the coast there was a well stocked paperback library in the living room, so I poked at a few titles before settling on Peter Straub’s “The Throat,” which was kind of compelling in the way the mass market thriller authors can be: 200 pages in and you’re noting there are another 480 to go and you’re wondering why you even cared about everything that happened in the preceding 200: How could it matter in the big picture that is that monstrous book? It was also a fairly grisly tale in that way mass market thrillers are: No need to have the reader work anything out… it’s in technicolor prose. In all: Sort of sorry I read it, but also glad that the weekend was defined by a sense of time luxury that permitted me to wade through a 680 page mass market thriller. And sometimes I entertained myself by turning on a narrative voice much like my last fiction professor’s:
“One might think that John is hiding something, might one not? But at the same time, it’s so obvious something is being hidden that we might be inclined to wonder if the author isn’t playing a game. Hm. A little game, to be sure. Might we not? And once we realize a game is being played, we’re taken out of the story and the narrative flow is broken, is it not? So I’m not persuaded of the value of this particular game. Hm.”
Me, neither, Professor Tinsley. Thank you for being there with me.
We bought a little backpack carrier for Ben before this outing. He’s right at 20 pounds right now, so he’s a bit heavy for Al’s sling and the front-carrier was never particularly comfortable. The backpack thing, though, was perfect. Fairly comfortable and it feels like it will be sturdy enough to last for the rest of the season. Our one big mistake of the weekend was attempting to go straight up the side of a sandy hill on the beach with Ben in the backpack carrier on Al’s back. We made it a little over halfway before we both realized there was no way in hell. I even dug a little hole in the sand to be sick if I needed. Once I recovered, I watched other people going up the hill, slowly, painstakingly, like primate versions of sea turtles come to lay eggs at the summit. Why? Because. It’s a hill. It’s there. And people had a lot of fun throwing themselves down it once they reached the top.
Besides nearly orphaning Ben on the side of a sandy hill while the ten-year-olds ran past us laughing, we spent a lot of our time chilling out. Ben had a wakeful period of over four hours long without much fussing, which is pretty rare for him. Lots for him to take in, though. They say he’ll remember none of it, but that all the different sights, smells, and sounds are good for him all the same.
This morning we were pretty leisurely about leaving. We drove up Hwy 101 and stopped off at Munson Creek Falls for a few minutes before heading on up to Tillamook (home of the fighting Cheese Makers) and on over to Portland.
There are lots more photos over at the gallery. Personal favorite: The sea shell owls, followed closely by “Four Food Groups Picasso painting.”