Thursday, May 22, 2003

More Calm, More Storm

The double-deck magic ice cream bus!

On the schoolyear's penultimate Thursday, Hoggerfair closes the dining halls and turns the lawn outside Crossley, the largest coed prep school dormitory in the country, into a tented wonderland of grillsmoke and finger food, of ballons and inflatable obstacle courses. It's fun, and Darcie's mom and I did do a runaround for a halfhour or so with the baby while Darcie dealt with an emergent but resolvable crisis of prom-night proportions (if it rains, should we move everything into the dining hall?) but we didn't stay long: Darcie's never liked crowds; neither does her mother; I grew up in mall culture, and they grew up in cow country, but after years living the rural existence the human mass isn't as comfortable as it once was, nor as real anymore. Could discomfort in crowds be contagious? Or have I just learned to appreciate intimacy?

Still, it was worth going. Can you believe I never had kettle corn until a few years ago? Man, that's good stuff. Herrell's burnt sugar and butter ice cream, too, served out the wondow of the double-decker magic bus you see above. Willow ummmed some raspberry sorbet. I won a half-sized plastic gumball machine.

Back home mostly full, found Darcie eager to avoid the same lines, so we waved goodbye to grandma and wandered out to The People's Pint. Invited school farmer spouse Sarah and her yearling son Jack to join us when we spotted them; Sarah used to work with Darcie at uber-rural Newfane Elementary School up north in Vermont, so the connection's comfortable. The kids shared an organic turkey burger and some pub bread and seemed happy, if a bit shy each in their own way. Darcie doesn't drink anything with bubbles, so it was nice to tap beer glasses with someone for a change.

Back home, Darcie gave me some time of my own after the baby's bath, so back out to Greenfield I went, this time to Cafe Koko for a cozy armchair latte and a startlingly good literary magazine someone left behind. Lost a good 45 minutes or so halfwatching the counter girl wrap up the dayold pastries and organic salads in the counter case; drove home.

It's easy to blame the baby for a total lack of time on my own this year, but the truth is, I'm still afraid to wander off lest I start snagging cigarettes once out from the watchful family eye. It was really hard not to cap the day off with a smoke and a second latte out there on the Cafe Koko streetside tables. You know what I miss most about smoking? Tamping the cigarette pack against the fat of the palm. The scratch-hiss of the match, the sweet blurry butane hiss of the lighter. Catching a flipped lit cigarette between my lips without burning my beard. That moment in the dark in the rearview mirror when the cigarette strikes the pavement, explodes into fire. Everything.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:31 PM |

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