Staying out of trouble, sort of...

orSheesh, I REALLY needed a vacation, didn't I?Provincetown Vacation, Day One (Saturday, June 27th):Omigosh, this was just the best day EVER!!!  Slept in late, had a beautiful sunny drive all the way to PTown.  We stopped in at the grocery store to stock up the motel mini-fridge and ice chest.  George thought it would be smart to get gas.  For the car, not beans!  The gas station is next door to the grocery, and it's pay before you pump so I open the gas cap, stick in the nozzle, walk in to the convenience store, hand them cash, come back out, the pump isn't coming on.  Nor for the nice young woman operating the pump on the other side of the same island. Being the considerate guy that I am I go back in to find out for us both what's going on.What's going on is the cash register girl, who is very fair-skinned, is turning SEVERAL shades of Panicky Red because the system is not letting her authorize the pumps OR return the cash.  As she paces back and forth with her cell trying to contact the manager one of the local regulars chimes in.  "We saw him.  He was downtown eating a hot dog a couple of hours ago." Sweet.Meanwhile Panicky Red's co-worker, Blonde Twink With A German Accent, asserts that they are out of gas.  (For my non-gay friends who aren't familiar with the slang, "Twink" is slang for a young gay male who looks like Ambercrombie and Fitch models.)  Pump Woman has come into the store now, rolling her eyes since she has already had a "day" - this was her second trip out to fill her tank because she forgot her purse on the first trip. As we stand there P. Red has finally managed to get Mr. Manager.  "There's a stick figure with a hard hat saying 'no access,' what do I do?"  There's still a hint of hysteria in her voice but she's starting to calm down a little because she's actually talking to a live voice.  It seems she has to call some 800 number to get Central Official Somebody to help her re-set the system, it will take about 10 minutes, and the register's frozen.Sweet.Pump Woman decides she's going to go to the grocery store and come back, I have no choice but to wait.  Twink says "we can't REALLY be out of gas, that's just what the alert means.  I've never seen us run out before."  And while he's not really reassuring me, the register unfreezes.  I yell out the door to Pump Woman, because she's just made it to her car and George is making some commiserating comment.  She comes back in, we both get our cash.Sweet.I run back to the car, get in, start it up, drive off... and we hear the most godawful flump-biddle drag drag clunk.uh-oh.  I get out and look.  Yes, it's the gas hose, hanging OFF the car and no longer attached to the pump.Sweet.Run back in, this is really not Panicky Red's day.  Twink has to explain to her, with his accent that I can barely understand, what I'm saying because my words simply are NOT going in.  The hysteria comes back into her voice, about a half-octave higher now: "I think I've got to call the Fire Department!!!" she wails.  "This has never happened to me before!"Sweet.After apologizing profusely, I head back out to the car (minus the hose).  George has moved over to the driver's seat, I tell him to floor it, and we make our getaway.  We later find out that all the firetrucks were in the parade AT THE SAME TIME THIS WAS HAPPENING because it was the "Blessing of the Fleet" Festival, a local Portuguese celebration.I wonder if it's time to call the Witness Protection Program and a good plastic surgeon...Provincetown Vacation, Day Two (Sunday, June 28th):A lovely day... ...more or less.Today at the gym I was a good doobie and did the spray and wipe on all the equipment I left icky sweat all over.  Except for the one machine that I totally missed because I was so brain-dead I had the nozzle pointed at my face.  And didn't notice.  Until after the squirt.  And yes, someone DID see...Sweet.I told him at least it wasn't as bad as the gas station debacle, which I described to him briefly.  "You're dangerous, aren't you?" he said.Sigh.  Yes.  Yes, I am.Last night we saw stand-up comedian ANT (yes, that's what he's legally changed his name to).  He's always been one of my favorite comics, so to get the chance to see him live was truly outstanding.  Today he was on the street talking to passers-by to get them to buy tickets to his next show, so I actually had the opportunity to speak with him for a few minutes.  Geeky fan heaven! I've always admired ANT (he's a hot little hunklet) (  http://www.antcomic.com/ )  He did some courageous new material about the loss of his partner (who died last November).  The respect I had for him tripled that night... so it was really nice to run into him on the street and to be able to tell him in person just how meaningful his show was.  Kinda overcast today, which was fine by me, poked my nose into the art museum and a whole bunch of galleries.  The big thrill tonight was the show we went to see.  Naked Boys Singing.  Name of the show pretty much says what it is.  They did sing.  They didn't spend much on costumes.  It was actually quite cute.  What surprised me was the number of lesbian couples in the audience.  Go figure.Tomorrow?  We might bike one of the short paths nearby.  We'll see!Provincetown Vacation Day Four (Tuesday, June 30th)(because I forgot to write about it on Day Three)So yesterday I was finally feeling like maybe I'd exhaled the stress of June, and to complete the process I signed up for a massage. It's really cool - the spaces are all simply and beautifully arranged, lighted, conducive to relaxing.  It's a "less is more" almost zen kind of atmosphere.  Definitely no clutter.  To get an appointment all you need to do is walk in the front door and sign your name on the wall chart for the time and therapist of your choice... and then show up.Larry was the therapist who worked on me.  I'd actually been to him before, the last time I did the Boston to Provincetown bike ride, which might have been in 2005 or 6, I don't remember for sure.  He more or less worked miracles of recovery on me then.  I was thinking that maybe this time I wouldn't need so many miracles.Apparently not.After filling out the paper work he escorts me to the massage room.  Yes, it looks just like the pictures on the website.  It's a nice Oakworks spa table that changes height with a mere tap of a foot pedal.  Cool!  He wants to do a visual assessment of my posture before we start (gee, this sounds familiar, we did that in class last week), so he has me stand barefoot in front of him.  What he sees is the lateral rotation of my feet, and "definitely some pronation there." "??" I think, but don't ask aloud, "maybe I'll check that out later."Then he says, "talk to me about what it's like to be in your body."  Eh.  Where do I start?  So I babble way too much about everything to which he replies, "you think too much."Damn, I hate when people tell me that!  (I suppose it's true.)  But it does mean that now I'm a little on the defensive, and I'm not sure how he wants me to answer when he asks "so what do you want?"  - a question he repeats several times throughout the session.  I THINK (there's that word again) what he is trying to do is get me to visualize the results I want from the session, to start feeling that result (at least in my mind) before we start.  As the session progresses it turns into a "what do you want for your life?" sort of question, and I don't really know what to say to him without giving an answer he will think sounds like "thinking too much."  (Dang, there I go, thinking again.)Sigh.But as for the work itself - that was as good as I had remembered.  It's like a yoga session being done to me on the table.It's hard work to stop my muscles from resisting the stretches.  I'm constantly taking deep breaths, just trying to keep up with letting go.  When he finishes, my hips feel more open than they have in a long time.  I marvel at how much relief I feel from tightness I hadn't been aware of in my day-to-day functioning.The work on the arms is similar; since the shoulders are not as tight as the hips (he says) there seems to be better range of motion - full extension in them (unlike what was happening with the hip joints).  Again the work is fairly aggressive -  he beats me up in that it-hurts-so-good way.  Certainly the positions he places me in are not ones I can assume independently.  He has a way of manipulating my hand so that my palm is on the table beside my head, fingers pointing to my feet, and he deepens the stretch by pressing my elbow toward the head of the table.Woo.Once he finishes with all my limbs there are only 5-10 minutes left and he works on my back.  When I roll over he immediately tractions my head and places it on the face cradle.  I wasn't expecting that!  The back work is a lot of forearm strokes and some scapula-grabbing, which again makes me wince.  He laughs a little and says "I won't be selfish, I'll save that for the next therapist." Gee thanks!I feel GREAT after the massage, but it takes me the rest of the day to process the CONVERSATION I had with him.  Can't tell you how that went, I'm still thinking about it (DANG - again...)George and I have a lovely meal at a cafe after, waddle home early (Motel, Sweet Motel) (Be it ever so humble, there's no place like a-single-queen-bed-in-a-room-about-the-size-of-my-bathroom-at home) and call it a day.++++++TODAY++++++We both wake up with the birds.  Maybe because we went to bed early last night.  Or maybe because our window (which overlooks a salt marsh) lets in a lot of light.  This isn't a bad thing, so I go to the gym early - it's a ghost town except for a handful of lesbians.  The gay men don't straggle in until much later in the morning.  Hmmm, which demographic stays up later, do you think?  When I get back from my workout George is dressed and ready so we go rent bikes to ride the bike trail.First of all, let me state I am strictly a Road Bike Rider.  It's what I'm used to.  George hasn't been on a bike in about 20 years.  He kept buying crappy yard-sale bikes that would fall apart on him.  "It's a sign from God," he said, "that I'm not supposed to ride a bike.""No," I told him, "it's a sign that you should stop buying crappy yard-sale bikes."That and he didn't like having to work so hard at keeping up with me (guess I was a little too intense).  And he hates sweating.  Bottom line - we haven't had a ride together in ages.We get to the rental shop nearest our motel, they rent helmets and locks with the bike (which I think should be required, can't get over how many riders I see around town who aren't wearing a brain bucket).  It's only hybrids, mountain bikes and "comfort" bikes - no road bikes except by special arrangement.  I'm actually okay with that, because the last time I travelled this trail was on my road bike.  It wasn't especially fun because of the sand and the numerous frost heaves and divots on the sections that haven't been recently re-paved. So here's my chance to try out a mountain bike on a reasonably short path with not a lot of traffic.  I ask the cute sales boy (yes, he's a twink with the most adorable smile) to explain the differences between our choices.  The "comfort" bike has the fat-ass saddle and the rider sits upright "like an easy-chair."  George didn't quite hear the whole thing - "it's like your old Schwinn" I tell him.  George nods and smiles, that will do for him.  I go for the mountain bike with the sporty feel. "Okay, let's go get your helmets," says Cute Sales Boy, and he takes us out to a rack.  I find one fairly quickly.  George picks one that has a knob on the back to adjust the snugness of the fit.  I turn it a couple of times and ask him if he has a headache yet.  He responds by crossing his eyes and making gagging noises.  Cute Sales Boy starts giggling, and that's all it takes.  George is on a roll now, the wisecracks just keep on coming.  "I fed him once," I say in an aside to CSB, "and he's followed me around ever since."  He teases me relentlessly while I sign the paperwork at the register, blaming me for the fire alarm that went off this morning at the motel.Oh, did I forget to tell you?  The fire alarm went off at our motel this morning.  It happened after I got back from the gym - the klaxon is right outside our door.  I went down to the office to find out if we needed to evacuate.  No, apparently sometimes the steam from a hot shower can set it off.Sweet.  But I digress.CSB brings out our bicycles.  George is a fairly easy fit - the seat tube has a quick-release lever that lets you change the saddle height in seconds, he's ready to roll.  My bike has shock absorbers on the front fork - and nearly bounces me off with the first pedal.  Fortunately they are able to lock that feature - so it's not so much like riding a... (hmm, what to compare it to?) ...not so much like riding a bike version of one of these:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayaVEi_BQ58&feature=relatedAnd off we go.It is SO much fun - George is actually enjoying himself.  He's got to walk up a couple of the hills because some of them are steep.  I get a little cocky - I go up past him on the longest, steepest hill, and instead of waiting at the top I coast back down to climb it again.  "Hill repeat!" I shout at him as I descend.  "You suck!" he yells back as he pushes Bertha up the slope.  Fun times.Now, I know all of you are waiting for the other shoe to drop.  "Where's the slapstick?"  Hold on, I'm coming to that.There are two things you need to know before I tell you that part.  The first is that Cute Sales Boy has warned us that the brakes are GOOD brakes, and that the front brake is especially grabby.  "Go easy on it, or you'll go easy over it," (meaning, over the handle bars).  The second thing you need to know is that George HATES snakes.Okay, on with the story.Oh, no, it's not what you think.  Nothing happens to George OR the snake in this story.So we're at a hill top near the Visitor Center, and there's a little amphitheater set up next to it adjacent to the bike trail.  Sand and grass and some hardy conifers on either side.  We've just come out of the parking lot for the Visitor Center (because you can get there by CAR too) and I'm coasting v-e-r-y slowly waiting for George to catch up.  There are several people around and considerate man that he is, he is not mowing any of them down with Bertha.  So as I gently drift down hill I see a fairly large black snake crossing the path.  I chuckle in my surprise and point.  George is behind me, I don't know if he sees what I see.  He's far enough away that it shouldn't bother him, but he's sure to give a gratifying reaction if he sees it.Meanwhile, because I've taken one hand off the brake to point, I start rolling faster.  This isn't good, especially since snakes don't look all that good with tire treads through the middle of them, and probably the store doesn't want snake-bits in the spokes when we return.  So I grab the brake again.  Quickly.Wheeeee! My octogenarian uncle has named his knees.  He calls them Buckle and Snap.  Today, mine have names: Bloody and Bruised.Right over the handle bars, palms first on the ground, knees and shin banging after.  I'm okay, just a little scraped and embarrassed is all.  Yes, once again, there were onlookers.  Fortunately I was wearing my gym gloves, so the gravel that would have been embedded in my thenar eminences (gee, that was fun to say, it just means the meaty part of your palm below your thumbs) wasn't.Ice the knee when we get back, ice the knee when we get back.  I take a nap, George sleeps longer.  A road rash souvenir.  Good times!George has just woken up - we're going to waddle back to town for dinner and a drag show.  Varlajean and the Mushroomheads.  That's going to have to be a separate entry, I can tell. Day Four, continued Varla, Varla, Varla.  Oh.  My.  Good.  Gay.  God.   I laughed so hard my laugh muscles hurt for three days after.  Look her up on YouTube or at http://www.varlaonline.com/  - but parents use discretion.  She isn't always PG.  The timing and pacing... the barrage of awful puns followed by innuendo followed by slapstick followed by outright silliness... whew.  I laughed.  I cried laughing.  I laughed until I couldn't breathe and then some. She was just what the Doctor Ordered (and you're probably wondering "who is his doctor and is he free Friday night?") - thank goodness.  It was the laugh I needed to exhale my year.