Thursday, September 30, 2010


The power kept surging and is now finally off. This wind is
frightening. I had the air conditioner on to keep the sounds of the
wind away but apparently I am meant to be frightened right now.
Luckily I've moved to an apartment but somehow I feel almost less safe
than I did when I was sleeping in my car. Hurricane Nicole's remnants
didn't appear so violent on the Weather Channel's forecast. I can
only hope it means that this is the worst and it will just get
better? I just put on my rain boots. Will probably sleep with them
on, that is, if I sleep.

Power back on...wonder how long that will last. Charging computer
battery now. Amazing how complacent walls make us. Plugged in surge

It's probably sounded this bad for hours only before I didn't notice.
Maybe I can sleep through it. (??). Hopefully my little pill will help.

The Big Bad Wolf

This doesn't do it justice. No sleep for me tonight. I wish I had
charged my computer battery before the power went out. Say a little
prayer for me that the big bad wolf does not succeed.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Serendipity strikes again

I am now sitting in my new apartment watching direct TV where I am
warm (or in this case, cool) and dry after having had a hot two-handed
shower. I am exhausted, but happily so. I knew something drew me to
this cafe. One more night of sleeping in my car in horrid
thunderstorms would have been beyond abysmal, it would have been an
all new low. After one hour sleep, I woke up at 2:30am to go to work
at 3:30am where I made and sold some of the most popular pastries on
the island...and they just so happened to have an apartment for rent.
Funny how serendipity works. I have never been happier to make so
little money in my life.

Thanks to all of those for reaching out after my last post. Your
support is what helped me through.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The rain sets in

It's a dark and scary night and I don't know what the hell I'm doing
here. What point am I trying to prove and to whom? The wind is
whipping my tent walls so violently to and fro that I cannot sleep
there. It's hard to find solice in my car which is jam packed with
all the stuff I didn't leave behind. Right now, I just seems like
junk that is in my way and bogging me down. The roads are covered
with wonder everyone here has a truck. I should have a
truck but instead I have a car that has 186,000 miles on it, a broken
windshield wiper, a broken window (that just miraculously happened
yesterday) and a bike rack with no bike. I could get a motel, but I'm
nearing broke. The money I made to come down here is almost gone and
the bit that trickled in today won't last long.

The woman from the cafe called me today. She tells me I should plan
on coming to work real soon, but that her daughter, Marsha, owns the
place and is the one who does the hiring, so I'd have to talk to her.
She says Marsha left me a message but I told her I received no such
message. I hope this isn't getting off to a bad start.

God, the rain is really coming down. The power went out and the
ranger locked up the bathrooms, so when my service got cut off at the
campsite I decide to drive to the gas station at the end of the road.
All that plus the wailing winds was just too isolating. I was afraid
too make calls when it started lightening anyway, so I figured I could
write and go somewhere where I could be in touch with someone if I
really need to. The problem is, in moments like this, I end up
wanting to reach out to those I shouldn't to calm my fears. Doing so
would only perpetuate feelings that best remain buried. So, here I
sit, alone, in the rain, the wind, on an island where I know nobody,
and I am essentially, for all intense purposes, living in my car. I
contend that I am not homeless, but I am living in my car, a self-
imposed dillemma that I'm no longer sure if I'm comfortable with. But
I can't give up now! I've only been here for a little over a week! I
would feel like such a wimp, such a loser if I gave up now and went
home. I can hear the comments now about my 'vacation', which in all
honesty, has been anything but. I have spent my entire time worrying
about what comes next and how I'm going to get there. I had to stop
searching the Internet the other day when I was driving myself crazy
about jobs. What am I going to do? What am I REALLY going to do? I
had a good job. My boss was great, I loved what I did, I believed in
it, I threw my entire soul into it and was crushed when politics came
into play so I left it behind. Suddenly the lousy pay was lousy pay
and the benefits weren't worth the hassle. Plus, I can't see myself
sitting at a desk for the rest of my life. I'm afraid I may shrivel
up and die. If I don't ge a job, I may shrivel up and die from
starvation! (I am really far from starvation. I have lots of food
that will last me for a while in my car.)

The gas station is closing now but luckily the lights are still on.
It's so dark at the campground and I can't find one of my flashlights,
the one I know and trust will last for hours upon hours. Last night
in the whirlwind of transferring from tent to car, I lost track of
it. I know it's floating around the car somewhere but it's not easy
to move all this junk around and find it in the dark.

The rain just stopped and everything is quiet. It's amazing how
emotions run rampant with the storm. Peaked at it's most intense and
relieved at it's most calm. I still don't know how I'll manage to get
to work by 4am on nights like tonight camping. When will I take my
cold shower at the bathhouse?

I had grand plans of playing my guitar and reading in my car on nights
like this but I can't seem to let myself be at ease, I just worry and
feel insecure. That's the worst feeling in the world, insecurity.
I've suffered from it my entire life. Perhaps that's why I'm here, to
try to conquer insecurity by doing things that make me feel the most
insecure. Maybe I'm just sadistic. Who knows.

"Here comes the rain again," Anne Lennox sings in my head. Too bad
she already stole that lyric. I might have written a good song with
it tonight.

I went for a long walk on the beach the other morning. I had seen
Mark and Suzanna mulling around before I left but I thought I'd wait
until I got back to go speak to them. I had intentions of hanging out
with them the previous night but wasn't sure how. I thought I'd
invite them to dinner but honestly, I was not feeling creative and I
was cooking mostly leftovers that I wasn't quite sure if I should
still eat much less anyone else. I thought perhaps I'd invite them
down for a beer after dinner but it came to pass and I just went to
sleep. By the time I returned from my long walk, Mark and Suzanna had
already packed up and gone. That's the story of my life...paved with
good intentions. I really liked them and hoped to possibly keep in
touch but I blew it because I hesitated. I think I didn't want to
bother them as much as anything being newlyweds and all.

Talking to them the other night at dinner about how long they had been
together made me really happy for them but sad for me. I have never
managed a relationship beyond a year and a half. They were together
for five years prior to marriage. Talking about it just made me
realize how alone I really am and I just seem to keep doing things
that isolate me.

I went to the my favorite beach after my walk that morning convinced
that I would finally get in the water. Every other day I just sat in
my chair watching the surf competition. After about an hour sitting
next to empty blankets, a couple with surfboards in their hands walk
up; it was Mark and Suzanna! Apparently I plopped my stuff next to
theirs perhaps through some sort of strange, comic intention. I had
another chance to chat with them before they headed home and exchange
contact information. Moments like these seem random but I can't help
but think there is a reason for them.

The rain is picking up again but I am getting sleepy. Time to head
back to camp and attempt to sleep. I'm going to need to go to bed
much sooner than this for the 4am job...

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I've spent a good chunk of time each day watching the surf
competition. After the first couple of days, it wasn't as exciting.
The waves tamed down with the parting trail of Igor and the surf
whimpered. Thus, so did the surfing. It seemed that I kept showing
up right around the time the kids were surfing and I couldn't figure
out why, that is until after "ronniecarmen82" handed me the schedule.

Ronnie spent a little time as an 18-wheeler after the yacht-building
business tanked 6 or 7 years ago. Somewhere between Flagstaff and
Phoenix, he almost ended up in a tragic accident where 3 other
truckers lost their lives. "It really messed me up," he told me.
Upon his ex-wife's pleading, he moved back to the island. His kids go
to the local high school and she said they really needed him.

In the span of 15 minutes, I learned Ronnie's life history without
even asking. Why does that always happen to me? I didn't stop him
because it seemed like something he needed to tell. It was prefaced,
however, with, "I thought I'd get up the nerve to come over and talk
to you," as he handed me an ice cold bottle of water. It was a bit
flattering considering my I was letting my pasty white body hang out
in a bikini without reservation. He seemed a bit rusty on his pick up
lines and was "testing the waters" with me. That was his term. I
hoped that when he asked me if I had any kids 'yet' that my saying,
"no, I don't want to be bogged down by kids" would turn him off. Any
good father would say, "see ya later." Unfortunately, he continued
testing the waters. This is not to say he's not a good dad, or that I
was telling the truth. I couldn't glean enough from the conversation
and certainly didn't want to judge. It just was what it was and I was
not interested in him but didn't want to seem rude.

Ronnie said it was hard for him to talk to women. He had been out of
the game so long, he didn't know how to play anymore. I gave him some
advice and told him just to be himself. That made him go into a story
about hanging out with this girl he knew and watching a guy go all
around the place talking to every single girl and what a turn-off it
must have been. "Exactly. Pick-up lines are lame," I said to him in
a tone that I could tell made him think, 'hey, maybe this girl isn't
interested in me afterall.'

Regardless, he pressed on. He would be attending the big event dinner
for the competition and wanted me to come with him. My being nice
apparently made him think that I would say yes to dinner. For a
moment, I will have to admit I pondered saying yes just so I could
mingle with some of the hottie surfers. Unfortunately I'm just not
that kind of girl; not even the transitional me.

For some reason l told Ronnie I was a musician. I don't remember why
but I clearly remember a pop song coming over the loud speaker when he
said, "man, I love this song. What kind of music do you play?" "Old
country songs," I told him; clearly the antithesis of the soundtrack
that was narrating our conversation. "Cool," he said and switched the
conversation to surfing.

Earlier that day I was thinking how great it would be if I met a local
who would teach me how to surf. When Ronnie offered, suddenly I
became less interested. Maybe another local, but not Ronnie. He said
I "had the body for it." Man, he was slapping it on thick. When he
told me I didn't look a day over 25, I will admit I was flattered but
suddenly became overwhelmed -cough cough- by the sun and needed to -
cough- leave.

Ronnie wanted to make sure I knew where the dinner was even though I
told him most likely I would not be attending. "Hold on a minute, let
me find out where it is," he said. I waited for him to return because
I didn't want to seem like a total jerk, even though perhaps I was.
He returned with the schedule and said, "I told a white lie. It looks
like the dinner was last night. I'll probably go over to the grille
and sing some 'scary-oke' if you want to come. It'll be fun!" I said
yes to grabbing beers with Ollie because he was harmless. Ronnie
honestly seemed harmless, too, but definitely had more on his mind
than I was interested in entertaining, so 'scary-oke' was out.

"Alright, take care," I said and joked about being glad he could test
the waters with me. Ronnie asked me if i was on Facebook. "Yea," I
told him, but that was all. Luckily he only knew my first name. He
wanted me to make sure I looked him up. Then he said, "hey, do you
have email?" Once again I told him "yea" and he told me to drop him a
line at "ronniecarmen82". I was a little puzzled that he wanted me to
email him but didn't give me the server. Strictly out of
dumbfoundedness, I asked. "Gmail, yahoo whatever," he said.
ronniecarmen82 was a trip. I tried to look him up, again, strictly
out of curiosity. I couldn't find his Facebook page. I get the
impression he was not sketchy, but rather just wanted to sound cool.

When I looked at the schedule he gave me, I learned that the adult
surfing competition was over two days prior.

The names are changed to protect the innocent in this blog post.

Oh Canada

The days have moved quickly since Bruce left.  It's been a little lonely too. I really enjoyed his company.  I popped by to say hello to Ollie every day but each time, he was elsewhere.  If it weren't for the picture of him holding one of his grandbabies on the cash register, I'd think what he told me was all a sham.  I have a feeling I could find him around 4:30 if I really wanted to.

I don't do a good job relaxing so I ended up spending a fair amount of time in the library applying for winter jobs.  I want to have some source of income on the horizon, so getting started now I figured a good idea.  As for jobs here, the sign at the Cafe down the road keeps taunting me. Ollie's words of heeding are in the back of my mind. He says I'd have to go to work at 3:30am if I work in the kitchen and 6:30 if I work out front.  Both times kinda make me eek, but something keeps drawing me to that place.  I think maybe tomorrow I'll inquire.  I wish I was equally as confident about booking gigs as I am walking into that kind of place and picking up a job. Part of me thinks it's now or never and I shouldn't allow myself to fall back on what's easy.  Yesterday, it was really getting to me, so I talked to my dad about it and he said, "why not do both?"  He's right.  I'll procrastinate on booking gigs until I leave and by then, I'll be flat broke and just plain mad at myself.  This trip is all about stepping out there, taking chances and making opportunity yet I think my fear of performing is the most difficult obstacle to overcome.  I got used to performing with Chet...he was there to pick up the slack when I lost a line or a chord, not to mention round out the sound that now feels empty.  Performing by yourself is completely different.  All your mistakes are out there for the audience to judge with no buffers.  My sound system isn't so great, and my guitar sounds tinny.  Those things coupled with low performing self-esteem does a good performance not make.  Maybe if I got better equipment, I'd feel better.  Then again, that costs money, something I am desperately lacking.  Another obstacle with booking gigs is the fact that I have nothing recorded to hand a potential booking agent.  That was one of those things I should have done before I left, but I was in such a rush to leave it all behind.  Note to self: don't hurry when you're not in a real rush.

So if i get that job at the cafe, I'll have to figure out where I'm going to camp when this campground closes.  I'm hoping I can stay at the one up the road owned by Kevin, one of Ollie's biker buddies who stopped at at the bar  last week for a beer.  His place has hot showers but it costs more money.  That will be a real perk once it starts cooling down.  This camping business isn't as cheap as I'd like it to be.  I'm thinking I might look into effencies or rooms to rent.  If only I had an RV or an Airstream...I dream about Airstreams.

Even though it was tempting to take the campsite next to the young couple up the road, I decide to stay.  It's exhausting moving all the time.  I did befriend them.  Mark and Suzanna are their names and they are newlyweds from Canada.  They just moved from Vancouver to Ontario for Mark's residency.  He's going to be a family doctor.

The night after Bruce left, Mark and Suzanna invited me out for dinner.  Even though it was outside of my peanut butter and jelly budget, I was thankful for their offer and took them up on it.  After having company, eating alone was kind of lonely.

Since neither of us had enough room in our cars for all, we decided it best to caravan.  I followed them up the road to the bakery up the way.  They sell donuts, brownies, gingerbread men, and also pizza.  After working at Lolas, I always love trying new pizza shops, but in the back of my mind I know that none will compare.  They did have whole wheat crust, however; something I wish Lolas would consider.

Over dinner, we introduced ourselves...where are you from, what do you do, etc.  That's when I found out they were newlyweds and had been down here just a few months prior, on their honeymoon, I'm guessing.  I asked Mark about Canada's health care system in comparison to the US.  Isn't it funny how we just assume everyone knows what's going on here?  After I talked comparison, I wanted to shoot my America-centric self.  How annoying.  The way Mark boiled it down, it sounds like all people are treated equal regardless of money.   Imagine that...people who have money don't get treated first because they have more money.  I love it.  He said you may have to wait longer for something like a knee replacement, but he spoke highly of it overall.  Isn't it funny how in America equality is seen as this crazy commie notion that should make you run for the hills?  I want to move to Canada.

Suzanna has a degree in outdoor recreation an is working at an outdoor store.  It seems to work for them right now but I get the impression they will be happy to move back to Vancouver once Mark's residency is over.   If I get this job in Washington, there's a possibility that I'll be spending time in Vancouver.  I'm extremely excited about that.  I hear the music scene is killer.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day Four- Pt. 2: Fried taters and corn

On the way back from the beach, I stopped off at the grocery store last night to grab some potatoes and corn. That was much cheaper than the grits that my friend Sheila said would go well with shrimp.  Bruce met this lady down in Hatteras proper who owns a seafood shop.  She cooks up the shrimp for him if he asks real nice.  (I can't imagine him not sounding nice.)  I thought cooking something to accompany his meal was the least I could do to say thank you for helping me with the previous day's move.  Besides, I don't think either of us minded having some company.

I cut up the potatoes, put some oil in the pan and pretended my coleman was my grandmaw's stove and that my pan was sitting next to a pot of pinto beans and some homemade corn bread was about to come steaming out of the oven.

Right around that time, Bruce rolled in from his day on th beach; motorcycle fastened firmly on the bed of his truck along with his beach chair and cooler.  I asked him how fried taters and some corn would go along with that shrimp of his and he said great.  He had to go pick it up in about a 1/2 hour.  Everything takes longer on the Coleman so that timing would work out just right.  Besides, you can't rush fried tater perfection.

My pan was only big enough to cook so many at a time, so when Bruce made it back with his shrimp, I had only about a spoonful for each of us finished.  I figured seconds may be appropriate, so while we ate, I threw some more on the stove.  Bruce brought over paper plates for us both to eat from and his own silverware so as not to dirty mine.  Of all the things I packed, apparetly I forgot the ketchup so he brought me a couple of packets of that, too.  He seemed to have the simplicity thing down.  I sure could take a few lessons from him there.

Over dinner, we talked quite about our families and and lives past.  Seems Bruce was an alcoholic but when one day he realized what it was doing to his family, he decided to sober up.  That was about 26 years ago and another difficult feat to hurdle.  His resiliency is astounding, and I don't think it comes from military training.

The vegetarian conversation always comes up over food so we closed that gap.  I told Bruce about the 20/20 special I saw as a teenager and how it was as much a health choice as anything.  He seemed to be worried that I would starve.  I don't know if it was solely because of the vegetarian thing because that's when he asked me, "so is your dad worried about you [being out on this journey]?"  It was becoming apparent that was thinking about me as he would his own daughter in the same situation.  I told him, "of course my dad's worried about me.  My whole family is worried about me, but they live and support me in whatever I do, and I felt I needed to do this."   I also told him that I hated it that my family worried about me and that was the reason I try to be as cautious as I can be.  

Throughout dinner, I kept popping up to check on the taters.  At this point, they were ready to be served up.  Luckily, Bruce was ready for another helping, as was I...they were mighty good taters.  It makes me happy when people like to eat what I cook. 

I divulged a little about myself and my reasons for coming to be here, mostly about how stress was starting to have a negative impact on my health and how I was worried that I'd keel over soon if I didn't do something about it.  Seemed he knew from personal experience what I was talking about.      

Bruce is an account by training.  He only had so long to take advantage of the GI bill, so when it was coming to an end, his coursework lent itself to an accounting major.  My mom wanted to be an archaeologist, but when she got pregnant with my sister, accounting seemed to be the path laid out or her.  I didn't tell Bruce about that, but I should have.  Also like my mom, he didn't want to go on and get his CPA, so he became the controller for a company.  He had it pretty well there because he was like the second in command and the head honcho didn't care if he wore jeans to work.  (I knew I liked Bruce for a good reason.)  When bosses changed, Bruce couldn't wear jeans to work anymore, both literally and metaphorically.  It affected his health so much that when he was fired, he was never happier in his life.  His wife said that he was the only man who came home from being fired with such a huge grin on his face.  That's when he dusted off his woodmaking tools and started his furniture business.  I guess I need get out my guitar so I can learn "Jesus Was A Capricorn" or write a tune or two of my own.

There's something about that Bruce that made me want to talk to him all evening long, but it was nearing the time when I make my nightly round of familial calls and I still had some cleaning up to do.  Even with his paper plates, I managed to dirty every dish and utensil I brought; but, that's me.

As he headed across the way, he said he'd have some milk leftover and would give it to me when he pulled out in the morning.  Once again I thanked him and told him not to worry, that I would not starve to death.    

I've spoken more to my family in the last week and spent more time with my friends on the last month than I have in three months combined.  Being so busy all the time made me feel like a bad daughter, granddaughter and friend.  It feels good to be getting better at that.  Unfortunately, it makes my family miss me more than they ever have.  When Bruce leaves, I have a feeling it'll make me miss them even more, too.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Crab hole

Day One of Surfing Competition

Where are all the surfers?!

Day Four: Where are all the surfers?

After a good night's sleep, a shower and about ten phone calls later, I finally made it to the beach to catch some of the surfing competition.  So where the hell are all the surfers?  The answer: Playing games the sand.  The waves are still treacherous, violently and haphazardly colliding into one another...if only I could capture that from my iPhone.  I did bring another digital camera but I realized that for blogging purposes, it's not as easy.  Besides, the images it takes aren't much better than the iPhone, anyway. Anybody know of a good free app?  Afterall, this trip is all about peanut butter and jelly and free apps.  

I invited Bruce down to watch the competition with me but then realized that I had some other stuff to take care of so told him I'd possibly meet him here.  Bruce is my new neighbor; a Vietnam Vet out joy riding on his motorcycle and living the good life.  His wife passed away about 16 years ago at the young age of 49.  She was his childhood sweetheart, he told me, and they had three children and six (I think) grandchildren.  They were together for 30 years until one tragic day at the beach her heart heart out on her.  I asked him if it was hard coming to the beach after that and he said it was
for a while, but that at some point, you have to choose to shrivel up or go on living, and that's what he chose.  I told him how sorry i was and that it takes a lot of guts to learn to live again after something like that.  

His story seems so sad, but he seems like such a happy fellow.  He's such a kind man. I pulled across from him after I decided to move sites again and he asked if he could lend me a hand.  I told him I hated to ask anybody but if he wanted to, I'd sure take it.  

Poor Bruce didn't know what he was getting himself into.

I wouldn't even have considered moving again, especially with my little near heat stroke episode the previous day and the beautiful view that Michael & Annette helped me achieve; however, when you're a woman camping on your own, it's important to pay attention to your intuition.  After all the surfers bolted, the campground was near deserted, leaving me with only two fishermen near me.  They made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, so I decide I should probably listen.  Truth is, the thought of their potential creepiness is what made me not sleep moreso the previous night than being awoken by my other neighbors.  It kinda hurt my pride to tell Bruce that, so I just told him that I wanted to be near more people since I was camping alone, and he seemed liked good people.

Bruce helped me haul my tent gear up the hill to the new site.  He held ole Kelty steady as I put her poles together and put her up.  The wind was not quite as ferocious as it was on the beach earlier yesterday but not too far off.  I put some stakes in the ground so he could let go and left the rain fly for later after I went back to the old site to get the mosquito canopy.  I told Bruce thanks, that I appreciated his help but he said he'd hang in there with me.  In fact, he said, why don't we just use my truck to get the rest of your stuff if that would be easier.  I know it makes some stomachs drop to know I said yes, but I did because it would be easier.

I should have said yes when he asked if it would be easier to pull the solar shower out if his truck bed.  See, I have a hard time accepting help.  I don't know why, I like to help people, but when the tables are turned, I feel like I'm bothering people.  I know I need to get over it, and maybe one of these days I will.  Until then, I'm constantly trying to make it easier on the people helping me, which just ends up making it more difficult in the long run.

When we got to the old site, Bruce said, "Geez, you've got a lot of stuff!"  "I know," I said.  "if you can just hold the mosquito net while I break it down, I'll come come back for the rest."  "No sense in that.  We'll just get
It all."  I sucked up my pride and said, "okay, thank you, Bruce.  I really appreciate your help!  You probably got yourself in for more than you bargained!". Luckily he didn't mind.  He didn't have anything else to do and probably enjoyed the company as much as I did.

Just now a crab popped his head out of a hole on the sand.  I turned to take a picture of him and he flinched, back into the hole.  I threw a little twig down after him.  Mean, I know, but I wanted to see him again.    

Once again, he held the net as I took it apart, disassembling poles as he could simultaneously.  We put the net in the truck, and of course, he ended up having to move the solar shower bag anyway so the stakes wouldn't pop it.  One of the fisherman from next door walked by and asked Bruce how the Eagles did because he saw the license plate on the front of his truck.  The guy didn't sound so creepy as he seemed earlier, but still, I was glad for my decision.
We loaded up the rest of the stuff and headed back to the new spot.  We climbed up the hill and once again, Bruce held the net to keep it from flying away while I put it together.  The whole time, he told me about how he had helped his daughter build her log house that was put together with wooden pegs...I can't remember what kind of construction he called it.  It sounded beautiful with 18 foot high ceilings and huge windows.  Sounded like my kinda place.  I went on to ask him what branch of the military he was in.  "Air Force," he said.  "My dad was in the Air Force, too, during Vietnam.  He built generators or something like that.  We don't talk about it much."

By around this time, the net was up, the stakes were in so, once again, I thanked him graciously for his help.  He said no problem and that he was glad he could help.  I asked him if he liked brussel sprouts.  He said he didn't know, he had bever tried one.  "What are they?" he asked.  "They look like little cabbages," I said.  "Tell ya what, I'm going to cook some to go with my leftovers.  I'll bring some over so you can at least try them."  "Alright he said, that's a deal."  Earlier, he asked if I ate meat I told him no. He told me he had a big steak waiting for him back at his camper and was going to offer me some if i wanted it.  I told him I was having leftovers, but didn't offer any because I didnt feel like having the vegetarian/fake meat conversation with this guy.  Brussel sprouts seemed like the best I had to offer.

I finished tweaking my tent and net and started supper.  Bruce yelled from across the way that he threw his steak away because his fridge had gone out and he didn't trust it.  He offered to take me to dinner but I told him "thanks" but I had already started cooking.  I offered to throw together a pot of spaghetti but he said he had some other things he might throw together instead.  And he did.  He put on his "cooking hat," which was this fuzzy topped tennis cap that cracked me up and made some beef stew.  As promised, I took him over some brussel sprouts.  I told him that if he liked them, great, but if not, at least he could say he's tried them and that my feelings would not be hurt.  I just hope he didn't think of them as punishment!  

I slept like a baby last night.
The crab just came out of his hole holding my twig.  He swiftly threw it on the ground next to him as if to say, "damn tourists.  Hmmph."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Mennonite ladies

Day 3: Living in the Present

"Living in the present."  That was my ephipany at about 3:30am when I couldn't go back to sleep because the people who pulled into my old spot woke me up coming in at 12:30am.

It's days like today here I am extremely thankful for Otterbox.  (Thank contributors!!)   I am typing on the beach where the wind is brutal and the waves look even more brutal.  Apparently I showed up at the right time.  This week is the US eastern surfing championship and I am beyond stoked.  For those of you who know me well, you know I have stumbled upon heaven.  I have been in love with this sport for as long as I can remember.  As a child, among other things like Naval Aviator and beautician, I wanted to be a surfer.  I tried I once when I was 30, at this very spot nonetheless.  However for now, I will live vicariously through others.  Perhaps I'll pick it up, but that water...unbelievably brutal.

Oh my god, wind surfing!!  That's where it's at.  This guy is floating on the water. He knows what it's like to fly...over a wave to glide down the next.  What a beautiful sight!

God I wish I had a great camera right about now.  Four mennonite women were mezmrized watching the wind surfer.  When he got out, they walked up to talk to him.  If only I could zoom from here.

So beers with Ollie was interesting.  The conversation began with small where's Petersburg and how many kids do you have. It quickly progressed into politics.  Ollie doesn't want a Muslim in the White House.  I really was not anticipating political discussion to happen so soon, and it threw me for a curve ball.  "Well Ollie," I said, "last time I heard, Obama was a
Christian and goes to a Christian church."  "Well maybe I'm just among the brainwashed, then," he responded.  I asked him what he had against Muslims and he said he didn't, he just didn't think one belonged in the White House.  Man, I'm thought about how amazing the Right propaganda machine is and that perhaps I should take some lessons so I can better ward off this conversation. Instead, I just told Ollie that I think we (people who believe in a higher power no matter what it be called) have a lot more in common than he thinks.  The topic somehow changed to music.  I think I asked him if he knew of anyplace where I might be able to book a gig.  By the look on his face, he was surprised I knew how to play the guitar.  He asked what I played and I told him a lot of old country tunes.  When I mentioned Kris Kristofferson, he busted out into the first stanza of "Jesus was a Capricorn," which I found ironic considering our previous discussion on Obama.  "'Cause everybody's gotta have somebody to look down on...". That line is stuck in my head.  I've only ever sung along with Chet on that tune...guess I'll have to learn it so I can dedicate it to Ollie, the Obama hater.

Here come the Mennonite ladies again.  Only this time, the surf caught them by suprise and they are giddily trompling through it, laughing.

They make me smile.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day Two - good people

Saturday, September 18, 2010           
Ugli Mugs, Avon, NC

Today, I met Ollie.  He owns the gas station in Buxton where I have spent the most money on the island.  It’s my favorite place to buy gas and ice because the folks who work there are so friendly.  Last time I was here, the guys told me to scoop up the ice on the ground in between the freezers because it was clean and what’s the use in it going to waste?

I walked in today to pre-pay for my gas and I asked the man behind the counter if he knew where the man with all the bikes on Buxton Back Road was.  The ranger at the campground this morning told me about him when I inquired about a place to find a cheap bike.  At first she told me about Island bikes, then the smirk on her face led to the story of the crazy on Buxton Back Road with all the bikes.  Said he rides his bike up and down the island, an old, crazy, island looking guy.  I could probably give him a donation in exchange for a bike.  She said I could try there after a bit of hesitation.  I figured it would be a great journey to write about nonetheless.

After this morning’s near heat stroke (more on this later), I decided maybe I should spend some time inside figuring out this blog thing and that on the way, I’d hit Buxton Back Road.  She said I couldn’t miss it, but I did.  The end of the road lead me, go figure, the back way to Buxton from Frisco.  I decided to go ahead and get gas and some ice at my favorite locally owned gas station…which is where I met Ollie.  I asked the man behind the counter if he knew where the old crazy guy with the bikes on Buxton Back Road was because somehow I missed it.  With a question-mark in his eye, he told me that was the kind of place where he would take me but wouldn’t dare send me on my own.  I asked him why and he said that Daryl, that’s the guy’s name, is a little crazy; that he comes in his store singing and saying things like “whore-monger” and the like.  Okay, I think.  He just sounds schizophrenic.  I have talked to schizophrenic people before…they don’t scare me.  Ollie told me it’s just two minutes down the road and that he would take me there.  I waved the customer behind me up to the counter so he didn’t have to wait on our conversation.  I told Ollie I’d go pump my gas and get my ice and check back with him.  So that’s what I did, and next thing I know, there’s Ollie pulled up next to me in his truck.  Tells me to go park around front.  As I went to hop in the truck (I had absolutely no hesitations about doing so), he told me to watch out for the water bottle that may fall out when I open the door. 

Ollie is probably in his later 60s and from Petersburg, VA.  He used to be a teacher and coach for football and basketball.  Some of his old players have made it professionally.  He came to the island in 1983 and owns the gas station, a trailer park, and a couple of beach houses.  If I ever want to get a good view of the ocean, I should call him…he would open one of his places for me.  He asked me what I was doing here and for how long and I told him I was here for a little while taking a break in between jobs but that I might be looking for something here.  That’s about the only conversation we could have in the two minutes to Daryl’s.  Ollie told me to stay in the truck, so I did.

After he did, I could see why.  Daryl wouldn’t stop talking from the moment he walked out of his trailer.  After about 5 minutes, Ollie finally tired of his talking and came back to the truck.  He told me there was a bike shop in Avon that I should try.  Apparently Daryl didn’t want to sell any bikes, though he had quite an array…and they were each very unique.

On the way back to the gas station, Ollie told me more about how he decided to move here in 1983.  Once back on the main road, he showed me his house and told me about how Earl really hit the economy and how when they close the Buxton campground, he takes a hit.  His gas tanks were under 2 feet of water and didn’t get back up and running for 6 days.  As we pulled back into the gas station, he told me I should come to Pops.  It’s the bar where all the locals go up near Frisco.  They go there everyday around 4:30 and they have great food.

At one point I had mentioned maybe finding a little job.  When he recollected this, he asked me the kind of work I did back in West Virginia.  He told me his mother-in-law owns the motel down the way and that she is looking for someone 3 evenings a week from 2-10.  She does things her way, he said, and that she doesn’t want to pay a lot, but I could spend my days on the beach, and it’s just 3 days a week.  I told him I saw that the cafĂ© down the way was hiring and thought about looking into that.  He said work there starts around 3am.  Whew!  Not sure I’m up for that.  He said that’s when the cooks start, anyway.  I told him I’d think about the job at the motel and check back with him.  He gave me his phone number and told me that if I needed anything to just give him a call, that he likes helping people.  I thanked him for everything and told him that if I didn’t see him at pops, I’d definitely be back around.  He told me I should come to Pops.  When I told him I was trying to pinch pennies and would probably spend time around the campground tonight, he told me I should come anyway and that he’d bring an extra dollar to buy me a couple of beers. 

So this morning, Michael and Annette, my neighbors, helped me move to their campsite when they left.  I wanted the view, especially if I was going to stay for a while, but the thought of going through what I went through yesterday was too much to bear, so I thought I’d just stay put.  When they offered to help me move, I took them up on it. 

The set-up was windy and ridden with prickly pears that dwell close to the sandy ground.  It was a relatively easy move until all of the sudden, I thought I was going to throw up.  I just over-did it, I thought, and that the sun had taken it’s toll.  I paused for a minute, but a minute turned into about 15 because I started getting woozie and completely drained of all energy.  In all honesty, I don’t want to say it because I know it will worry some people, but I almost passed out.  Luckily Michael set up my chair in the shade and Annette came to my rescue with my jug of water.  It was embarrassing but I had to abandon the set up and leave it to them to finish!  They were sooo nice about it, though!  There was nothing I could do, and I am unbelievably gracious for their kindness, both in the move and helping me through what I think may have been a near heat stroke!  Note to self: do not mess with the sun.  It is bigger than me and will crush me.

Off to meet Ollie at Pops.  More to come…

PS- So because I need to be safety conscious being a woman traveling along, Ollie’s last name is Jarvis and Pops is in between Buxton and Frisco.  I can't remember the name of the gas station he owns, but once I pass it, I'll email and let you know.  I’m sure Pops will be another great story...

Day One - post traumatic travel syndrome

September 17, 2010
Frisco Campground, Cape Hatteras National Seashore Park

I should have started this blog from the moment I made the decision to make this huge transition.  The biggest aspects really were the few weeks leading up to my departure.  

It’s amazing how much piles up when you always say, “I’ll just do that tomorrow.”  I had about three weeks worth and probably should have spent a couple of extra days completing the remaining, but I really wanted to get on the road.  Why?  Because the build-up was more than I could take and I didn’t want heckled.  I was also afraid that I would blink and we would already be well into the richness of a West Virginia autumn and I wouldn’t want to leave.  I spent more time with my friends and family in the last month than I have in a year.  It’s been nice and made getting in my car and setting my sights to a far away land that much more difficult to stomach.

I should have known things wouldn’t turn out as planned.  Part of this plan was to not make plans, and the ones I did make have fallen nearly flat on their face.  My favorite campground closed Labor Day weekend; one week prior to my arrival.  The Annual Pass I purchased from the National Park Service for $80 is apparently not good for discounted camping as I had originally anticipated, making it more costly than living in my apartment.  Only here, all I have are these cloth walls for protection and a drawstring on a cold shower.  Thank goodness for the mosquito net canopy my friends bought me.  It has been a nice respite from the sun bath I got today.  Stupid me for not wearing sunscreen.  Stupid stupid stupid.

So sleepy.  Must sleep.

I'll upload pictures later.