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Wednesday, 28 September
That Was A Good Trip, Man

The saga continues! Follow our heroes as they make their way to Cannon Beach! (I'll also try to make this slightly less tonally schizophrenic than the last entry, which seems at some point to have gone completely off the rails. It's probably never a good idea to post a blog entry on the tail end of a vacation while, uh, kind of besotted.)

After sleeping in for an indecent amount of time on Saturday morning, the wife and I clambered into the Purple Snatch-Dazzler and made our way out of town. Well, almost. First we made our way into town, inasmuch as Seaside has actual town, because . . . well . . . see, Seaside has something that not just every city has. Something wonderful. To put it simply: NOTHING SAYS "VACATION DETOUR" LIKE "OUTLET MALL!" AAAAAAAAHHHH!

Eddie Bauer! Liz Claiborne! Uh . . . Totes! Oh, yes, we were pigs at the trough. After an exciting Liz Claiborne visit--where the men's "department" consisted of a rack of ugly belts and some truly unforgivable pants--we sped to Cap'n Bauer's, where I gleefully latched onto athletic socks! (We only use them for sex, people. We just don't feel right doin' the Grunt 'N Shove unless we are both clad in bright white athletic socks.) Then! On to . . . Totes! Look! Cheap umbrellas that will last for one month. We need two!

And some other fucking crap. Finally, the wife decided she needed some new bras, so I stood outside the bra store and smoked--smoking at the mall! I felt like a teenager again, until an actual teenager laughed at me and hit me with his skateboard. Not really. Nor, as a teenager, did I ever smoke at a mall. I am a failure. Anyway!

Finally the wife emerged from the Playtex Compound with a new bra or two. Can I just say? Is there anything sexier than the delicious interplay between the words "Playtex" and "outlet mall"? I don't think so. Boy, it almost makes me want to go suit up in some white athletic socks. I'm not going to give out these sex hints forever, people!

So we eventually did make it to Cannon Beach, all of about seven miles away. (I've actually been there before, but not for many years.) We immediately were entranced by the rustic charms of the setting, and decided quickly to anesthetize those feelings of affection by having a couple drinks. Spying a free outside table, we darted into a place called, God help me, the Driftwood Inn. If I ever open a down-homey place on the Oregon coast, I swear I am going to call it something like the Medical Waste Cabin or Mysterious Jelly on the Beach Saloon or the Kelp 'N Grit.

After a couple glubs, we made our way to the beach to complete our evening of relaxing cliches and, yes, watched the sun go down. (I snark, but this was all of course unbelievably great.) I diddled around hopelessly with the cameraphone, and took some perverse, photon-fucked bad photos of the sunset, and the wife beamed happily. We noted at one point that a couple locals had joined us, and were standing nearby with glasses of wine. They toasted the sunset, and I swear it was even pretty cute.

Then we had dinner at . . . sigh . . . the Driftwood Inn again, because every other joint in town was completely full. Well, the good old Driftwood was actually full too, sort of: the hostess informed us that there would be at least a 45 minute wait. And there were a lot of people there before us waiting already, so I didn't much buy that. "What about the bar?" asked the wife. "Oh, you can eat in there, sure." We walked into the bar and immediately found a table. So those other people? Dumb.

And that was Cannon Beach. I know it doesn't sound like much, but man, it was pretty great. Even though the town would clearly dry up like a mummy without the tourist dollars, it was still very charming and lovely, and yes, we did get to see Haystack Rock, a gigantic rock whose claim to fame is being a gigantic rock. That's one thing you have to love about the Oregon coast: the total innocence. Check out our big fucking rock! Christ! Man, that's a big rock, huh? Hey, you want to eat some taffy? Because it's good taffy, man. Later on, I'll pop some wheelies on my Huffy and you can watch! Being on the Oregon coast is a lot like being in a really charming and enthusiastic commune for a while, but with the difference that you can leave when it starts to grate on you. Also, it's never your turn to go out and weed the beet rows.

We took our time the next day hitting the road, because why? We both took Monday off, so fuck that. We wandered up to Seaside's beachfront aquarium, a scruffy little building that housed all manner of bummed-out marine life in little Plexiglass-fronted tanks. Hey, octopus! You dick! Move around! Change color! Mr. Octopus declined, and maintained his sucker-hold on the window. Hey, eel! Make Abe Vigoda faces at me! And he did, which was so great. They also had a "touching pool," mostly for the kiddies, and say, we should change the name to anything but "touching pool," you know. We laughed at the tots who were busy hassling starfish, who I'm pretty sure are the most-hassled sea animals of all. I don't even think hermit crabs have to put up with as much shit as starfish do.

But the real draw of the tiny place were the seals, a whole passel of them that had been raised in captivity, and now spend their lives competing for the attention of tourists, who for $1 buy little fish chunks to throw at them. They slap their bellies. WHAP WHAP WHAP WHAP! They swim upside-down and give you heartbreaking, imploring looks. THROW ME FISH! They dunk their heads artfully and direct a spray of brine at you. And, if you're really stupid, and stick your hands too far out, they viciously bite you. Sadly, nobody around us on that day took them up on that talent. I wouldn't have minded one of the screaming kids losing a couple fingers to the hungry beasts. But really, the best one was this proudly bewhiskered male who would simply poke his head up out of the water and wail: "YORB! YORB! YORB! YORB!" at the most astonishing, ear-rupturing volume. It was simply the most incredibly appalling, hilarious noise I've ever heard, and I say that as someone who has listened to Diamanda Galas albums. It was also really effective: his howls inevitably produced a hail of fish parts.

And then, after a lunch stop in Astoria--a curiously scuzzy-seeming city; I'm sorry, but maybe that was just the weirdly gray and depressing nonarchitecture and my water glass complete with a lipstick stain--we headed home.

Man, I already miss it all. Particularly the outlet mall. We should have gotten three cheap umbrellas. 'Cause that would have been bumpin'.

Roam | Skot | 28 Sep, 2005 |

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


Astoria is definitely a scuzzy city. Very grey and worn-down and depressed. Good place to get drugs, though.

Comment number: 005602   Posted by: Kyle on September 28, 2005 01:01 PM from IP:

The real claim to fame of Haystack Rock is that every so often, idiots go out and climb up onto it, then the tide comes in and they get trapped there and have to be rescued by helicopter.

Comment number: 005603   Posted by: Tom on September 28, 2005 05:13 PM from IP:

I really like Astoria. They have a Pig 'n' Pancake there. It's where I bought my socks.

Comment number: 005604   Posted by: Kate on September 28, 2005 09:56 PM from IP:

Diamanda Galas and the seal should collaborate. Hilarious.

Comment number: 005605   Posted by: Jenn on September 29, 2005 07:40 AM from IP:

the galas-seal comparison literally made me laugh out loud, and now i have to wonder if i'm supposed to feel weird about laughing at my monitor while i'm alone in my apartment.
also, i quit smoking a long time ago, but every time i read this thing and you mention smoking i wonder if i should try it again.

so you can be proud; societal angst and a push towards addiction, all in one easy-to-remember url!

well done, and please don't stop.

Comment number: 005606   Posted by: dolface on September 29, 2005 05:31 PM from IP:

What, you may ask, is the true hallmark of great writing?

The use of the word "bumpin'".

My congratulations to you, sir, on this honorable distinction.

Comment number: 005607   Posted by: Jado on September 29, 2005 07:51 PM from IP:

Inasmuch as I track such linguistic ephemera, I noticed during an interview just a few days ago that Michael Caine is totally into using the word 'inasmuch,' correctly or not. Seriously, he must've crammed it into his usage four times in two minutes of talking about "Get Carter." So I picked up on your fitting use of it right away. Abe Vigoda, on the other hand, is a sucker for the phrase "snatch-dazzler."

Comment number: 005630   Posted by: sgazzetti on October 10, 2005 01:39 AM from IP:

Keep bashing Astoria you losers. That may keep people from discovering it, moving in, and screwing it up. Your friend - Big Steve

Comment number: 005631   Posted by: Steve Kelly on October 10, 2005 09:47 AM from IP:

I can't believe it, my co-worker just bought a car for $77535. Isn't that crazy!

Comment number: 005701   Posted by: Betsy Markum on November 16, 2005 09:54 AM from IP:

I can't believe it, my co-worker just bought a car for $77535. Isn't that crazy!

Comment number: 005702   Posted by: Betsy Markum on November 16, 2005 09:54 AM from IP:

I can't believe it, my co-worker just bought a car for $77535. Isn't that crazy!

Comment number: 005703   Posted by: Betsy Markum on November 16, 2005 09:54 AM from IP:

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