Cape (Cod) Fear.
I'll ruin the ending for you right now: no one got eaten by a Great White shark during my 5 days in Cape Cod.
I know, I'm disappointed, too.
Cape Cod is a mythic place to me: it hosts an upscale, placid whitedom I've been reluctant to infringe upon. Having split my nascent beachtime between the shores of New Jersey and Low Country Coastal Carolina, I've always felt I was the wrong type of European to besmirch New England's beaches.
The Jersey Shore is a page out of my olfactory scrapbook; summer smelled like mechanical grease, hot pavement, fried dough, and cigarette smoke, in that order.
The Cape (am I allowed to call it that yet?) was the ascot to my gold chain. The Volvo to my Corolla. The Whitley Gilbert to my Dwayne Wayne. (If you don't know that last reference, please stop reading this website.)
Nevermind that my hosts in Chatham were as gracious as humans could be. Nevermind that they made me feel not just welcome, but as though I belonged there.
I couldn't give up the New Jersey trash ghost.
Then I went to Provincetown, MA, and felt like Dorothy stepping into big, gay Technicolor Oz, where they've swapped the yellow brick for cobblestones and small, yapping dogs for...okay, those were still prevalent.
Posters promised all-drag revues of Designing Women and Golden Girls send-ups, and Kathy Griffin, long-time Glenda the Good Witch for gays, was coming into town the next day. Pedestrians ran the gamut from flip-flopped tourists to toned, tan men in Borat bathing suits, which gave to a flip-flopping of an entirely different nature.
I was following the rainbow-flagged road with a whole 'nother Lollipop Guild, and strolled happily along until I found the town library, a brilliant white and imposingly proud Victorian structure.
The Provincetown library. Let your geek flags fly!
I've made a happenstance habit of visiting libraries just about everywhere I go. They range from humble to humbling, and, like puppies or pours of Scotch, I love each one no matter their size.
But this was a library unto itself for two reasons.
First, it had a Marc Jacobs reading room. I'm assuming/deciding/proclaiming this is the only library in the world (the world, I say!) to have a reading room dedicated to/by a fashion designer. If you know otherwise, by all means, let me know.
Second, there is a boat in the library. I repeat: there is a boat. In the library. It was built indoors by people you can Google yourself.
There's a boat. In the library.
I christened this the Double Fantasy library in honor of John Lennon's album, because it meets and then exceeds my favorite library feature: no one is supposed to talk to me while I read. And just in case, there is a hiding spot in the shape of a vessel that offers an additional layer of protection from unsolicited socializing.
Granted, you're not allowed to touch the boat, let alone climb inside of it. But it represents a quiet, solitary place within a quiet, solitary place. If that boat had an oubliette, this would have been the last you'd have heard of me.
Back in Chatham, where the spectrum of the rainbow begins in blue and ends in green, I was satisfied to keep my feet anchored in the sand until it was time to schlep back to Brooklyn. (Is there any other way to return to Brooklyn from the beach?)
I was at the beach day and night, browning under the sun and shivering in my sleeping bag at night, watching the Perseid meteor shower streak along the Milky Way.
On those cold nights, watching stars fall from the sky, I realized I'd never seen our galaxy before -- at least, not without narration by Whoopi Goldberg under a domed planetarium screen.
You can't see the Milky Way from the Jersey Shore, that much is certain. Though the bare-bulb lights of the carnival rides make for an exciting substitute.
It was this or the decaying seal blubber I found on the shore. Tough call.