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Tuesday, 28 February
Not Rockin' The Not-Burbs

The wife and I made a break for it this weekend, to the only place that made sense any more in this cold world: Brinnon, Washington. We were cashing in on a Christmas gift from her parents, a free couple of nights in the Olympic peninsula on . . . houseboats for two! Yes, we had a romantic holiday getaway weekend on a houseboat. Nothing says, "Say . . . why not conceive some grandchildren while you've got nothing to do but sit in a houseboat?" like a trip to Brinnon, Washington, whose lone restaurant (Open until 8:00 on Fridays and Saturdays!) is called the Halfway House.

As it turned out, the brother-in-law and his wife also received the very same gift, and yes, they had booked the same weekend. Nothing quells lustful thoughts like wondering, "Say . . . I wonder if your brother could hear us?" Well, almost nothing. For me, the actual thought of children quells lustful thoughts, so there was that too.

We actually had a very good time. From the very beginning, we were treated very well by the Brinnon folk, who exude that mysterious quality that baffles people who live in larger cities: incredible niceness. Our intrepid houseboat matron had told us to give her a call on arrival so she could let us in to the houseboat. Unfortunately, T-Mobile had different ideas . . . my awful cellphone refused to even countenance the idea of a reception bar. So we asked the proprietor of the marina store for help, and she immediately said, "I'll call her for you!" Then she charged me $7.41 for a pack of Camel Lights, so I guess she wasn't exactly coming out a loser on the exchange.

Settling into the tiny boat was easy enough; it had a hot tub that overlooked the little bay, and we were charmed by the seabirds that frolicked in the water, and occasionally stopped by to peck curiously at our window. This is, I must confess, somewhat unnerving when you're sitting naked in a hot tub. Tippi Hendren didn't have to experience dark thoughts about her nipples coming under avian attack.

The houseboat was also equipped with a stereo, TV and DVD player, and so after a bit of poking about, we decided that--given the paucity of Brinnon nightlife--we'd better go hunt down some horrible movies. We went to the video store--right by the Halfway House!--and discovered a dilapidated ruin that Snake Plissken would sneer at. I did appreciate the "NIGHT DROP" sign sagging morosely next to a kicked-in window. The wonderful gals at the Halfway House informed us that yes, "That place closed!"--no shit!--before referring us to the liquor store.

I love this idea! But, uh . . . the liquor store? In Washington, the liquor stores are all state run. Why would there be movies to rent there?

And yet. Sure enough! A whole shelf bulging with DVDs! And several more with VCR rentals! Um . . . okay! I assume that it's just a happy sideline for the manager, an--of course--incredibly nice woman who was more than delighted to rent us a couple of DVDs. "What do you need from us?" I asked, reaching for my ID, my credit card, a buccal DNA sample . . . "I need you to fill this out," she said, handing over a regular piece of white office paper. "Give me your name and phone number. I'll fill out the titles." That was it. She quoted me a price of four dollars plus tax for the two movies we were taking. Perhaps I got a sympathy discount, since the movies themselves were manifestly horrible, of course: we rented Changing Lanes and Flightplan, which we unfortunately watched. Perhaps this accounted for her less-than-exacting security measures. I don't care if I ever get these back, I imagine her thinking.

Later that evening, after a dinner at the Halfway House (how could I not go?), we retired to the houseboats where a spirited game of Trival Pursuit Mit DVD! was had, and I won, thanks largely to the kindness of the other players who let me have a pie for missing a question about when the Spirograph was introduced. (1966, not 1967. FUCK YOU, SPIROGRAPH! And also the death-deserving research staff at Trivial Pursuit. What a shitty question.)

The whole weekend was like this, really. Wake. Watch insane birds. Crawl nervously into hot tub. Go try and find non-alarming cuisine.

Our second night, we ventured to the nearby town of Quilcene, home to one stop sign and, we reasoned, at least one more restaurant than Brinnon. (We were right! There were two.) We eyed an establishment called--and I love this--the Whistling Oyster warily, but I vetoed it for a few reasons: 1. It was called the Whistling Oyster; 2. It advertised PULL TABS quite prominently; and 3. It looked like, if not the inspiration for, then at least the actual filming location of The Accused.

So we ended up at the only other place that was open: the Logger's Landing. The others had cheeseburgers while I contented myself with that most satisfying of all meals, the grilled cheese sandwich. By the end of the dinner, my dentition was thoroughly coated with a fine, impenetrable lacquer of semisolid melted orange matter. The others topped off the meal with some alarming thing called a Walnut Eat The Fuck Dream, or something. I had a Jack Daniel's while the others moaned deliriously.

And then we went back for some more Trivial Pursuit, and I was once again triumphant, thanks to about nine million lucky, lucky rolls. And hilariously easy questions. And the fact that it was the "90s Version," which--hey! I was alive in the 90s! And finally, this terrible game had made it . . . marginally worthwhile to endure! Thanks, Trivial Pursuit! All is forgiven for that fucking Spirograph thing.

It was all very relaxing, very nice. We had a good time. I was reminiscing about it today, in fact, as I walked home from work. I happened to pass a guy and his gal walking along. As I motored by, the guy stopped to pick up a weird little piece of plastic off the sidewalk. I don't know why. I heard their conversation for a moment after he stooped down to grab what, to me, was obviously, a piece of discarded junk. It was very pink.

"Check it out!" he said.

"What is it?" replied the gal.

"I dunno. Some kinda . . . cock ring?"

I thought, I'm back home.

Roam | Skot | 28 Feb, 2006 |

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Comments

I have found most of my favorite cockrings on the sidewalk.

Comment number: 006655   Posted by: Joe on February 28, 2006 02:13 PM from IP: 67.101.248.34

What is with the friendly birds on the West Coast? In both Seattle and San Francisco, my grandma and I fed seagulls our left-over bread from the hotel balconey (ok it was more like "out our room window" in seattle, which was certainly tempting fate given the good chance one of them would decide to invite himself in). So I come to New York for college, and I have a balconey, and there are seagulls flying around. I tell my friend, hey, look this is cool, we'll feed them. The damn gulls completely ignore us while I throw bread all over the place! Man I looked like an ass.
Well that was only tangetally related, but you know.

Comment number: 006656   Posted by: Amanda on February 28, 2006 02:28 PM from IP: 206.137.75.251

Kindly delete one of those comments if possible... I was getting error messages. Apparantly even broaching the subject of seagulls makes me look like a moron. God I hate those things!

Comment number: 006658   Posted by: Amanda on February 28, 2006 02:31 PM from IP: 206.137.75.251

Actually, I've seen the place in which the events that inspired The Accused took place. From the outside. My grandmother pointed it out, amidst much clucking.

Comment number: 006673   Posted by: monk on March 3, 2006 10:27 AM from IP: 128.151.189.172

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