A weekend away. Away – disconnected from the demands and expectations of the day-to-day. Do a bit of beach clean-up in honor of Lord Byron’s Death Day. Alone. On my own with no particular agenda beyond strolling the wide, soft sand. That’s all I asked. I should have known it was all going to go pear-shaped.
For one thing there had been a torrential downpour since dawn – that icy rain that comes directly from the heart of the ocean and scours your face to the color of a boiled crab. It took a total of ten minutes before I was soaked to the skin and revising how public-spirited I was prepared to be.
An hour later I was back at the hotel hanging my dripping wardrobe on the shower rail. Lunch was a ham and cheese sandwich I’d brought from home – followed by a long nap (which it turned out was the best idea I had the entire weekend).
It was five p.m. when for the third time in as many years my BFF tracked me down to Westport out of the blue – surprise! I suppose she expected me to be overjoyed that I wouldn’t be burdened with my own company. I suppose I was meant to take it as a compliment that she wanted to share my Easter weekend.
When she showed up I was just leaving the hotel on my way to a lovely bowl of gluten-free clam chowder at Bennett’s Restaurant in Grayland. A big buttery bowl of soup on a rainy day. What bliss! The ultimate indulgence. “I’m starving!” she grinned. “Glad I caught you before you left. We’re going to Bennett’s, right?” She knows me too, too well.
What began as the simple pursuit of soup turned into an extravaganza of appetizer, monster meal, several kinds of wine, followed by a cake-berry-whipped-cream dessert the size of Mount Rushmore. Needless to say all on my tab since she had driven down the coast three hours with not a dime in her pocket. My $15 soup dinner had blossomed into $100 plus 20% tip.
Dinner over, it was too late (and too much vino on-board) for her to head home to Seattle so it was back to the hotel where I (fatefully) offered her half of the Murphy bed. How to say this delicately? The woman snores like a jet engine – a racket that even though I wore earplugs threatened to explode my brain. And she flails her arms around while dreaming. I envied her. I slept not one second of that entire night, clutching the side of the bed for dear life.
At 4 a.m. I seriously considered abandoning ship for the quiet of my Subaru but thought I’d likely end up in the South Beach Bulletin police blotter. The second thought I had was of smothering her with a pillow. Again, the thought of ending up in the police blotter stayed my hand. The compromise I reached was of wedging myself into the loveseat across the room using my rain-damp jacket as a blanket. (Did I mention it had rained all day?)
At 7 a.m. I gave up the fight altogether and threw open the blinds revealing a glorious sunny morning – the world washed clean and bright from the passing storm. I turned on the TV, nuked a cup of tea and checked my email (commenting loudly on Facebook threads). She snored at equal volume. At 9 I shook her awake and told her I was going for a walk on the beach and when I got back I expected her to be up and organized. “People who keep other people awake all night long don’t deserve to sleep for ten solid fricken hours,” says I as I grabbed the now-dry jacket and my camera.
I had originally planned on an Easter breakfast at one of my local haunts – a hangtown omlete with hashbrowns. No more. The sooner I could check out and get back home the better. There was no way I was going to “invite” the BFF along for breakfast – at my expense. To her credit she was up and brewing coffee when I returned. She must have correctly read the tone of my wake-up call. By 11 I’d checked out and was on the road. I hadn’t waited to see if her beater of a car had started (she fills the gas tank only when it’s on empty). Not my problem.
That was that. Hopes of a peaceful solitary weekend dashed. “I want to be left alone,” said Greta Garbo. Is that a lot to ask? So why do I feel as if I was the one who rained on the Easter parade? Was it selfish be pissed off by what was clearly meant to be a loving offer of companionship? Or am I, as many have suggested, a total pushover when it comes to the BFF? Maybe after forty years of putting up with her craziness it is a bit of both. Rant over, I pour myself a cup of tea. Next time I reach escape velocity I will tell no one – especially the BFF – where I’m going. That should work – unless she has placed a GPS device in my Subaru somewhere. Hmmm . . .