(Last modified 4 June 1997.)

Wanderjahr: Week 41

Locations: Boston, MA; Somerville, MA; various towns in northwest VT
Dates: 5/25/97 - 5/31/97

Sunday I hung around Victoria Street (Bhadrika & Steve's place). In the evening I stopped by David VS's housewarming party and met an assortment of his local friends; I could only stay a couple of hours, though, before I had to head off to a movie rendezvous with Carrie. After the movie, picked up my car outside David's (the party was over) and went back to Victoria Street.

Monday I packed up my stuff and drove off to Vermont. Interstate 89 is lovely this time of year, with lush greenery stretching off toward mountains in several directions. I tried and failed to be a good samaritan twice along the way: the first time someone else stopped to help by the time I managed to loop back around on the freeway, and the second time there was minor car trouble that I hadn't the slightest idea how to help fix. Ah, well.

Bug photoFound Kir's place with little difficulty. It's up a dirt road, forty minutes' drive from each of several small cities; a cedar-shake cottage on woods-covered property with a river running through the back yard. Kir introduced me to her dog, Orca, and her cat, Bug, and her housesitter-while-she's-away, Ben, who arrived shortly after I did. Kir showed us around the place, then her sister Erin came by and we all went off to dinner. The restaurant had amazing acoustics -- every time I said anything, no matter how quietly, it echoed. Not ideal for dinner conversation, but would've been a great place to sing...

We spent Tuesday mostly zipping about on errands. We had lunch in Middlebury, on a rock overlooking a river; Kir went to her office to work, and I wandered around Middlebury, stopping in crafts stores, book and music stores, and a pewter store. Waited for Kir (and Orca) on a lawn in the sunshine outside our rendezvous point for a while. When she arrived, we stopped for very rich ice cream, then went for a walk in a woods apparently dedicated to Robert Frost (bits of his poetry were on signs at various points along the walk). Warm afternoon ramble, discussing philosophy and nature, very relaxed and nice.

We dropped off Orca at Kir's mother's place (and I met that side of Kir's family, along with several dogs and several turkey and chicken chicks; the household reminded me a bit of a Jean Craighead George book). Hung out there for a while, then dropped in on Krystal and David, with whom we had dinner. Lots of discussion of roleplaying games, among other topics. Back to Kir's place; I dialed up and checked email 'til it got late, while Kir cleaned and packed for her trip.

Wednesday morning we cleaned some more and then drove back to Somerville. Debby B came over, as did Michael. We all chatted until it was time for Kir to head for the airport, to embark on her trip to Scotland.

I went to dinner with Carrie and her friend Lara, neither of whom had ever eaten at an Indian restaurant before.

Thursday I met Debby for lunch, at the Purple Cactus, a burrito place that locals have been recommending to me since I arrived in the fall. Quite good. We talked for a while, then spent an hour or two writing in the Someday Café. I cut several pages from the screenplay; a good start, though there's still a ways to go. Walked her to the store, and home; chatted with her and John for a bit, then went to dinner at David VS's. Then back to Victoria Street to write email late into the night.

That night was the first time I got enough sleep in quite some time. Got up late, made some phone calls, met Steph for lunch. The usual enjoyable conversation, and she let me read (and critique) several chapters of the novel she's working on. Talked a bit with her and Harlan when he got home from work; then back to Bhadrika & Steve's to spend the next eight hours doing email, including catching up on three weeks' worth (several hundred messages) of the VRML mailing list. Whew. Marguerite stopped by briefly in the midst of the email spree; Kathy and Kenny also visited, and I took breaks now and then to kibitz on a Scrabble game. I also spent some time talking with Bhadrika & Steve's new housemates, one of whom is a current Swattie.

Got plenty of sleep Friday night as well -- yay! Saturday morning I brought my trip journal up to date (finished volume 3, started volume 4, which should take me through the end of the Wanderjahr). I'm kinda sad to note that I've reached the final couple of months of my travels; but on the other hand I think it's been just about long enough. I'm looking forward to being home again, to having space that's really mine (other than my car), to settling into one place for more than a couple weeks. The timing of this wanting-to-be-home feeling is pretty good, though; I originally half-expected it to set in around week 2 of the trip, which would've made it difficult to keep going. Whereas now I feel I'm heading into the home stretch.

By the way, speaking of long-term transportation, I've been trying to decide what to name my car ever since I bought it. I'd been toying with some variation on "hummingbird"; sometime this week, I finally decided to go with that, but haven't yet decided what variation. Would like to find out how to say "hummingbird" in a bunch of different languages, to see if any are particularly pretty and/or would fit nicely on a license plate.

Anyway. Saturday after updating my journal, hung out with Bhadrika & Steve during their yard sale; also lazed about the house, probably doing more email 'n' stuff. In the evening, met Carrie for a movie and then took her back to her place, where I again stayed 'til well into Sunday.


Movies, Books, etc.

Kissed
The best movie about necrophilia that I've seen; a nicely made, tight little story, with fascinating characters and good acting, and if it slips over the line into pretension now and then -- well, what art movie doesn't? In my opinion, it's neither particularly sexy nor particularly offputting; your mileage may vary widely in either direction.

Hollow Reed
Very intense, very frightening, very well acted/directed/written movie about child abuse, a topic I'm usually not thrilled with (because I feel it's been way overdone in fiction in the past ten years or so) but in this case I didn't mind. I could never tell what was going to happen next, and the movie never lost sight of its characters' complexities.


Jed Hartman <logos@kith.org>