Thursday, June 16, 2011

Super 8, Not the Motel

June 11, 2011

It was a lazy day. The morning was overcast. There was a chance of rain all day. We really had no plans. We thought if it didn’t rain we might walk a hiking trail in Menemsha that led to a rocky beach, but the gray skies that greeted us that morning quickly moved that hike to the “to do” list for next time.

A gray day does not equal a bad day. This one was one of those perfect days to lie on the sofa and read, have an in-home spa day, see a movie. Neal and I did all of the above.

We seemed to rise early each day on the Vineyard. It didn't seem to matter how late we went to bed, the rise time was between 6:30 - 7:30 am. This day was no different. I came downstairs and made coffee. I was almost finished with my first cup when I heard Neal moving around. He came downstairs shortly thereafter. He exclaimed that he thought he was going to use his facial steamer. It was a day for beauty treatments.

I refilled my coffee cup and moved over to the loveseat, Dead Reckoning in one hand, the coffee cup in the other. I situated myself on the loveseat, covered my body with a throw and proceeded to enjoy the end of my book.

In the meantime, Neal had decided to start his beauty regimen. There were curlers and wax sticks flying everywhere. The hot wax machine was plugged in and turned to low for a slow melt of the wax. The pumice stones were set out, the hot oil treatments, the Nair, toenail polish and mud masks.

Okay, hardly any of that is true. Neal did use a pumice stone on his feat. He did take a long shower, shluffing and buffing the dry spots. He washed and conditioned his hair. Then he came downstairs and steamed his face.

While he was in the shower I managed to end my time in Bon Temps and proceeded upstairs to grab the second novel I had brought we me on the trip – The Distant Hours by Kate Morgan. I was half a chapter in when Neal appeared freshly exfoliated and pumiced. I thought I too should shower and try to pretty myself up. It was a hard decision to put down The Distant Hours at that moment though. I love it when a book can hook you right away. This one had me around its pinky. Not surprising though as I had so enjoyed Ms. Morton’s two previous novels, The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden.

My choice of spa treatment had to do with a facial scrub. I like the apricot scrub by St. Ives. I scrubbed my face then washed it with a gentle cleanser. It felt very smooth when I was finished. I completed the treatment by moisturizing my face. The cheeks had just enough pink to them for me to know that I had done something. The forehead felt smooth. The blood was flowing and the skin was hydrated. Done with my brief spa treatment I was anxious to get back downstairs and back to Edie and her discovery of the secrets of Milderhurst Castle.

Neal was covered in a rust colored mask when I got back downstairs. Upon close inspection, his lips blended in with the color of the mask. He had steamed then applied the mask while I showered. He was now ready to wash off the mask, rinse the conditioner from his hair and possibly steam his face again. We don’t take enough time for these moments in our lives.

At some point I managed to get dressed. I cannot for the life of me remember if I came downstairs fully dressed after my shower or if I got dressed later. I do know that I plopped myself back on that loveseat and continued reading my book. Neal joined me soon after to lie on the sofa and read his own book – The Appeal by John Grisham.

Okay so it’s gray outside, we had pampered ourselves and we were being very lazy (not a bad thing on a vacation). I noticed Neal’s breathing had changed. I intended to glance over at him, but I held my gaze. His finger was on a spot in his book as if he were following along, but he wasn’t moving. I continued to stare, taking in the picture. He had fallen asleep. I decided what the hell and closed my book and joined him. I kind of just rested my eyes for about 5 minutes. I never really went to sleep. He stirred and looked at me, I smiled, he didn’t smile back; he hadn’t really seen me. He was still asleep. His eyes closed again. About 5 minutes later he stirred and did come to complete consciousness. It was almost time for us to depart for Vineyard Haven and the 4 pm showing of Super 8.

We arrived at the Capawock Theater on Main Street with 30 minutes to spare. The sky decided that now was the time to wring the clouds of their moisture and dampen us with its droplets. No bother, we had umbrellas. We bought our tickets ($7 each, must be matinee pricing) and then proceeded to a store called Off Main where I had seen some blue bottles that had peaked my interest on Friday. We went inside and I purchased two of them. I’ve wanted a blue glass vintage seltzer bottle for quite sometime, but haven’t managed to find one. I mean I’ve seen them online, but I want to be able to hold it in my hand and inspect it myself. I decided that the blue bottles I had seen on Friday fit the bill for the color I wanted, and I needed a blue bottle fix, so I just did it. On our way back to the movie theatre we stopped in another store, Bespoke Abode, when bottle on display caught my eye. It turned out to be green and not exactly what I was looking for, but on the way out the door Neal saw a different shade of blue (maybe cornflower?) bottle than what I had previously purchased. I decided to get that one as well. My souvenirs from Martha’s Vineyard were destined to be bottles in varying shades of blue.

Oh my God Super 8 was so much fun. We were in a tiny theater that you could tell was very old. It had one center aisle with approximately 210 seats. There weren’t many of us inside for the 4 pm showing, but more than I thought might be there. I guess the rain caused others to think of this day as a movie day. I am leery of going to the movies. It’s hard to find a time when you can actually watch the movie in peace. People just don’t respect each other anymore at the movies. Cell phones and smart phones changed everything. My brief stint on the east side of midtown Manhattan was the only place where people didn’t pull out their cell phones constantly. Maybe it’s because they’re an older crowd. I don’t know. I know that I loved going to the movies over there. Back to Vineyard Haven and the Capawock, there was a row of four people about 5 rows in front of us across the aisle and each of them had their phones out. A man two rows behind them had his phone out. Even the two older gentlemen two rows in front of us pulled out a cell phone. I was nervous. Seriously. I was hoping that the Vineyard moviegoers might be like those on east side, but I was becoming more skeptical and afraid that I was mistaken. Let me add here that after Neal and I had chosen our seats, four adolescent, unaccompanied by and adult, boys sat behind us. I was nervous. I wondered if we shouldn’t move. Then the lights went down and something magical happened. All the cell phones were turned off and actually stowed. If any of them came out during the movie I never saw it happen. That’s difficult to conceal with a big light up screen. That leads me to believe no one brought them out. As for the boys behind us, I loved them. We were watching a movie that had four boys and a girl, junior high age – I would say roughly their own ages – as its leads. Our boys were amazing. They added to the atmosphere of the picture. They were respectful and delightfully perfect.

At one point, a rather dramatic moment in the movie I might add, the film broke. The screen went black. One of the boys behind us in a very high-pitched voice said, “What” with a fantastic inflection on the end. I couldn’t help but laugh. It took about five minutes to get the film going again. People brought out there phones during the down time, but promptly stowed them again when the movie started. I’ve had only one other film break on me before. Actually it melted. It was Eyes Wide Shut; a terrible film that my sister and her husband wanted to depart upon melting. I refused. It was wretched, but I had to see it through to completion.

Super 8 was the opposite of wretched. It was exciting and funny and exhilarating and more than I ever expected it to be. It’s the movie I will recommend all summer without one thought to any of the super hero tent pole movies that will be opening over the course of various Friday’s during the next two months. Neal said that his husband Stephen had described it as feeling like an old Spielberg movie on par with Close Encounters of the Third Kind or E.T. I had to agree. It was like The Goonies meets Stand By Me meets E.T. If you’re reading this and you haven’t seen it just go see it and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s 1979 and the attention to detail is superb. I was 8 that year. It was a nostalgia trip worth taking and a story worth watching.

After we left Vineyard Haven we drove into East Chop to visit with one of Neal’s coworkers, Beth. Her family has a home on the Vineyard. It’s near the East Chop lighthouse and only a few doors away from the house used as Chief Brody’s house in Jaws. The house owned by Beth’s family has been in their family for at least 4 generations. I may be mistaken about that, but I believe the home belonged to Beth’s father’s great-aunt. He barely knew her, but she left it to him in her will. He wasn’t even old enough to occupy the house. It’s a little convoluted to me, I mean we did drink some wine while sitting at the house, but I do know that there is a photo of Beth’s father as a little boy, on the Vineyard, breaking a bottle of champagne over his grandfather’s boat. There is history in that house. Her family has history on the Vineyard. You could feel in while inside the house. The small rooms, the old wood floors, the low ceilings, the smell heightened by the damp air; it was amazing. And their view, ridiculous. I asked Beth if they ever took it for granted. She chuckled. I compared it to my former yellow bedroom. I loved it. I woke up with a smile every day when I opened my eyes and saw those yellow walls. She smiled. She said it does not get old, the looking out the windows and seeing the magnificent Atlantic Ocean across the street. We would all have to be bitter and dead inside if looking at that body of water got old.

After finishing off our bottle of Zinfandel, we took a few minutes for Beth to show us their collection of fossilized clamshells and their collection of sharks’ teeth. The shells were intriguing, but the teeth were incredible. Some of them were huge. I was fascinated and a little freaked out.

When we left the house to go to dinner in Oak Bluffs, we drove past what was used as Chief Brody’s house. The house has since been remodeled and looks nothing like how it did in the film. Beth had a hard time remembering between which two houses it actually was. No matter. I’ve been in front of it regardless of not knowing exactly which one it was. I won’t lie. I would like to know which one it was, but I was there and that’s interesting too.

Dinner was in Oak Bluffs on Circuit Ave. We chose Thai food. It was good. I’ve had better. The conversation was enthusiastic. Overall, the night was a pleasure. Being at Beth’s parent’s house was second in excitement only to Super 8.

We dropped Beth back at her parents’ house and drove back to our cottage and began the inevitable process of packing. We had actually lived in our cottage for the week; really lived. We had used the drawers and the closets and the refrigerator. Of course, emptying those storage spaces and packing the items back in our luggage didn’t take that long. It’s easy. Throw out the disposable keep the necessary.

With all the clothing except the next day’s outfit packed, the dishes washed and in the drainer, the perishable food placed in a bag in the trash, I rejoined Edie and continued learning about the Blythe family of Milderhurst Castle. Soon enough sleep took over and the same paragraph I had read 3 times continued to make no sense.

Candle extinguished, lights out.