It has been the longest and the shortest summer of my life.
It is warm, summer warm, too warm for after Labor Day when school starts but every conversation is of all the other years it has been too warm, another anomaly of the season that is not. But my yard looks like fall, the tiny apples on the miniature crab red and the knotweed flowering white.
The summer has been a jumble. On a day then one of the hottest of the year I had to take my computer to the mainland for repair. It is a wonder I am not still there; directions confuse me and I put them aside. How hard can it be to get to Middletown, just turn left on the other side of the Newport Bridge and keep driving. I am not a very good Rhode Islander, the one thing I would have understood, the Route number, was omitted from directions from two different people, in favor of landmarks apparently everyone else knows such as “the Christmas Tree Shop.”
I gave up when I saw the sign for the Middletown Police who surely could help me; I never found the police station because I first saw the store of my destination!
The trip was necessitated by discovering my sweet little MacBook Pro had broken itself overnight. I picked up the boat schedule and circled the return boats thinking I still had the opportunity for a very long day.
And I would seize the opportunity to finally go to a Verizon store and replace my still-under-warranty defective phone, beyond spotty coverage. No, just because it didn't work all the time wasn't adequate “grounds..." and, later, when I called, as instructed, I was told it could not possibly have been giving me trouble since I bought it because I had not previously complained. “I'm an old New Englander” — which has much more to do with mindset than age — “We try to make things work!” was incomprehensible to someone living in a disposable world.
It was only my concern of getting caught in beach traffic that determined I would take an earlier boat home; it was hot, the car I had been loaned at the last minute was slightly lower than mine and the knee that takes any excuse to be a trouble yelled “pay attention” when I first climbed out of it. I had calmed down, I thought, from the morning's panic but it was not until the “6:00” boat exited the breakwater at 5:58 that I realized I had been looking at the weekend schedule all day, that last late return I'd decided against didn't exist on Thursday!
The computer had to stay to be repaired. Monday, finally, I could get it and did something I have never done, rode the high speed to Galilee. It was the first boat leaving the island, the sea was almost calm, I found friends on the uncrowded back deck, and it was a summertime dream, “zipping” — my mother would say — over the water. There was no waiting for cars to be unloaded on the other side, making it an almost weirdly fast trip; I am now looking at the schedule trying to justify another ride before it goes off-line.
Coming back... it could not have left on time, I could not have turned onto the Escape Road at 11:02, driven down it, waited for a gaggle of pedestrians to cross the road by the landing, looped around to the parking lot, found a space, parked the borrowed car, gotten myself and my stuff — somehow I had managed what I usually hear of other people doing, five stops in a very short time — to the wharf, bought a ticket and made it onto the 11:10. The long line had to have caused a few minutes delay (and there was yet another person behind me!).
No more summertime dream, it was crowded and hot and a little bouncy. There wasn't a spare inch outside but luckily, in the cabin I did find a seat with a family coming over for the day, for the second day in a row, from East Greenwich. They have rented houses, stayed in hotels, and, sometimes, they just come for the day. They travel to other destinations with their three children but this is a favorite and “right in our own backyard!” It is probably their expectation, a packed cabin and full deck.
It wasn't the first lost Monday nor would it be the last. A couple of weeks later it was about figuring out what the heck was going on and getting my brother back from Rhode Island Hospital where he'd been sent with a shoulder dislocated in the high surf and steeply raked beach. It was, I learned the worst kind of dislocation, in back, not in front (who knew?). The bone chips that appeared in the imaging turned out not to be a problem and the moment of temporary insanity in which I said “you should stay longer” did not come back to haunt me.
There has been nothing lastingly catastrophic, although I am coming out of the summer with the same darn phone, and a car still needing to be repaired after it was hit by a drunk driver who was arrested for DUI and driving the next day because it's what the law allows (who knew that!?), of being told I had to go to Wickford (seriously!?) to get a copy of a report that was emailed to me once I got the right contact information. On the positive side of the ledger, whatever was leaking in the toilet tank finally exploded just before my brother and family arrived, something I knew they would tax beyond my dental floss and duct tape fix-it abilities, and the much bigger problem feared turned out to be nothing.
Other family is arriving this weekend, I am expecting nothing to go wrong!