Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Head for in the mountains

Friday, June 27, 2003

I've come to hate long drives. These days, most everything on my to-do list involves typing on a computer or holding a meeting, and I can't do either of them effectively in a car. I'd like to say that a long stretch of highway is a perfect place to relax, but I can't calm down at all; I just sit idly, waiting impatiently for the miles to go by, and watching the guy in the Four Runner next to me pick his nose.

My father's aunt Carol dutifully calls us on the first Tuesday of every month--first my father, then my brothers and I, in descending order by our ages. It's good being in the middle; when I'm tired of hearing about what was on sale at the supermarket that day, I can remind her that she has another call to make.

Once or twice a year, when my father can no longer shoulder the guilt she's heaped on him for not visiting, he somehow browbeats my brothers and me into a trip to the mountains. Telling ourselves that it will be different this time, that it will actually be fun, we load our car and pound due north until our ears pop from the altitude, where civilization stops and the road cuts a clean path through an endless sea of trees.

This is a great place to be for a skier. And if it's winter. Unfortunately, I'm not, and it isn't. If this area was going to be developed into a thriving city, it already would have been. But it hasn't, so until the next ice age, the "center of town" will be nothing but moose-themed gift shops and rustic bed-and-breakfasts.

I insisted on taking my own car this time, and dad told me I was nuts. But work is going well for me, and I have a lot to do this weekend. I really can't spare the time, so, at the first sign of lameness, I am gone--and, lame or not, this is the last time I'm coming up here.

The Twin Mountain Lodge
Coos County, New Hampshire

Dad tried to convince us to stay in one room, but we didn't. What, are we twelve?

I cross the parking lot toward the health club, with a cool breeze in my face. The western sky glows pink and orange, and I can't help but stare at it. I stop where I am and breathe deeply. Maybe this trip will suck less than I anticipated.

I mumble a hello to the girl behind the counter as I sign in, then turn back to look at her again.

Clearly, she bought her "Team USA" t-shirt before she became a woman. Now, it's a prop from a sexy calendar shoot, faded and stretched tight across her ripening bustline.

Wow! You guys sure take this Twin Mountain theme seriously, don't you?

I turn away and stifle a chuckle. "What?" she says, sheepishly. "Did I... say... something dumb?"

Obviously, the common sense train left the station without her on board. The girl has not said one word to me, so how could she have said something dumb? Not that I'm complaining...

"No, of course not. I was just... thinking of a joke." That's usually enough to make it go away when someone sees me laughing.

"Oh, what was it!" she chirps, sitting up straighter in her chair.

For a moment I'm lost in her flawlessly white teeth and huge blue eyes. Damp brown hair hangs lazily, covering part of her face. She's relaxed and sexy, the way your girlfriend looks after coming out of the shower. I have a hotel room here; I wonder if I could convince her to-

"Did you forget it?"

"Huh? Oh, the joke? Well, it's just kinda dirty, that's all."

"Tell me!"

This is a good sign. She's either a complete slut or not offended easily. At the very least, she'll be fun to talk to.

I tell her a joke. She chuckles loudly as soon as I utter the word "dick", though I haven't even reached the punchline yet.

"My God," she says, rolling her eyes. "This one time, I was at a party at my girlfriend's house, and I passed out in her room. And when I woke up, she was giving some guy a blowjob three feet away from me."

Okay, that totally was not a joke. And you know what? I want to get you naked anyway!

"And they asked you to join them, right?" I ask, spitting out the first thing that comes to mind.

Her face goes blank. "Were you there?" she says, and she seems honestly confused.

"What? No, I was just... kidding..."

"Ohh," she says slowly, obviously still processing.

Michelle is on semester break from college, working at the health club for summer cash. A steady stream of swimmers walk past us as we talk, dotting our conversation with thank yous and have a good nights. One man asks what time the pool closes.

"9:45," she answers.

"You're gonna let me come by at 10 though, right?" I ask.

"Umm, yeah, that sounds cool."

...To be continued...