Several of my lunch hours in this short week after my arrival home have been spent sitting in my car, scribbling furtively on the two pages in the back of my planner designated for 'notes'. This part of the vacation account has proven hardest to write, and I suspect it is because my vacation was exactly what it was meant to be; a complete disconnect from my everyday life, a deep plunge into no date, no schedule, and no demands. I was scolded more than once during the weekend for asking what time it was. It was as it should be.
My friend had rented a house in the woody bit of Georgia to the north of Atlanta. Having never traveled in that direction I was amazed how quickly we drove from EVERYTHING to NOTHING. But I am getting ahead of myself. Before we could embark on our journey, we had to obtain provisions.
I can tell you that from the time I was a wee snip of a girl until we were too old for family vacations, the shopping list was pretty much the same: hot dogs, hamburgers, rolls, cheese, condiments, chips, eggs, bacon or scrapple, Tang, macaroni salad, fruit salad, popsicles. Camping, family reunions, beach weekends; this list might vary based on length of stay or cooking facilities, lunchmeat replacing the hot dogs and hamburgers when there was no grill, but this was about as fancy as we got. This time we were being cooked for by my friend's father and his best friend, two people who probably should have been chefs. There would be no plastic containers of potato salad.
This was a MISSION. Seventeen or so people in a house for a weekend required a military operation in which we filled two carts at BJ's, visited a world market so vast in scope the employees wear tags listing all the languages they speak, sought out cheeses and fish in jars and stopped just short of caviar because apparently no 'suitable' caviar was to be found in the greater Atlanta area.
And then there was the wine. Various wines had been carefully packed and brought along by one of our weekend chefs, but more was needed. We pulled up in front of a supermaket-sized store called 'Total Wine".
Now. In Pennsylvania we have 'Wine and Spirits', and one of the more curious STATE jobs you can get is working there. So we have no such animal as 'Total Wine', which is staffed by over-caffeinated headset-wearing young people who appear ready to burst into a choreographed 'Up With People' number at any moment. All I wanted was a bottle of Red Cat. I approached a man in an embroidered golf shirt bearing a fistful of signs.
"Excuse me, where are your, um, New York Finger Lakes wines?" I asked.
"I'm just a distributor, I don't work here, but he can help you," he said, pointing to a young man who came bounding around the corner in a shirt and tie, headset at the ready.
"Do you have Red Cat?" I asked, feeling foolish in this literal warehouse of wine, aisles and aisles of things I'd never seen, arrayed under bewildering categories.
"YES we DO!" he enthused. "GOOD CHOICE!"
Good choice? I wonder if he would have said that no matter what I asked for. Wine is a mystery to me. I don't get notes, I don't get 'nose' or 'bouquet'. I can't praise or complain of oakiness, or a hint of moss and strawberry, or a faint flavor of an H & R Block office on April 14th. Its just wine. I like it, I don't. I should have said "Show me your finer screwcaps, nothing so piquant as a Two-buck Chuck but let's not go all the way to Boone's Farm-- something with the insouciance of a horny cheerleader but with enough smoky mystery that suggests second base is a distinct possibility but far from a sure thing."
Anyway, I got my wine.
Cars packed, we headed out. And I am going to say up front, I am completely lame. I did not take nearly enough pictures to document the weekend, mostly because I was having too good a time. First, the house.
Apparently its for sale, so if you have a million or so lying around you may want to snap this up. The views are spectacular. The company was even better. It was like all the kids in high school that were generally classified as dorks but were actually cooler than the cool kids grew up, got jobs, and came back together for a weekend with all gaming skills and Monty Python references intact. No reference was too arcane to be enjoyed. Several times, we burst into song. (I inadvertently typed 'snog' there first. No, it wasn't THAT kind of weekend.) We laughed, we celebrated, we proved that Smart People Are Fun. Most of the humor during those days is of the 'you had to be there' variety so it won't do any good to explain how I derailed someone's Rock Band efforts with a well-timed Jar Jar Binks impression. It was a fantastic weekend.
More adventure lay ahead, of course, especially since I essentially fly 'steerage'. But we'll talk about THAT next time.