Spring is usually one of the most disheartening seasons here on the Long Island Sound. It tends to be cold, grey, wet, muddy, COLD around here until May, so the whole “Spring” thing is usually purely hypothetical. March is usually particularly brutal, a month of sleet, low clouds, filthy — and I mean filthy — snow, and complete exhaustion. Like John Lennon said, Spring is a concept by which we measure our utter fed-up-ness with life.
But not this year.
This year, Spring is right on time, all grassy and greeny and balmy with the zephyr breezes of southern climes.
And we are happy, basking in the rejuvenating sunshine brought to us by this [also hypothetical -- ha ha] phenomenon called “Global Warming“. Thanks, all you Hummer drivers out there!
This is so much better than last year, when all we got for Spring was the cold comfort of its Not Being Winter (In Name Only). And a cardboard box.
So, invigorated by the joyous brightness of Spring, I took myself an a Long Island pilgrimage. Through the beautiful scenic country which the original Rockaway Indian inhabitants called “Paumonok”, the “Land of Tribute”, I journeyed unto the County of Suffolk.
My destination lay behind that fence, the one with the big white sign on it, on Route 110.
Yes, that fence.
The fence that separates the object of my quest from the more attractive parking lots of this land, which was once a 100-acre farm before it was turned into a bunch of strip malls surrounding a really big mall known to us locals as the Walt Whitman Mall. For that is how we celebrate native-born poets on the Isle of Long; we pave the crap out of their old family farm.
And then I entered unto the other side of that fence and lo, I tried to take a photo of the splendid T-Mobile phone shop that butts up against the small parcel of family farm still sprouting grass, but that damn statue of Walt (the poet) got in the way.
This is Walt’s family home, which is abutted by the western side of that fence. When photographed from the right angle, it can look almost bucolic.
The fact that the whole house hasn’t been knocked down in favor of a much-needed Bed Bath and Beyond is all down to the good work of some fine ladies who preserved the homestead in the 1950s. (this is two of the worthy ladies, whose names I did not write down. But any lady who wears a pillbox hat is OK in my book.
There is absolutely nothing of Walt’s in the house, which can only be seen by paying $6.00 for a guided tour. Even if you are the only person at the Walt Whitman birthplace that day, and have the doughy face of a harmless old illustrator of terribly digressive travel memoirs, you will not be allowed to roam the grounds without a minder. The house is furnished with antiques from the era, or reproductions.
I really prefer it as it was in the 1940s, when the house was the domicile of a Long Island doctor and his lovely wife. I love the look of hideous Victorian furniture, especially if it’s in a dopey anachronistic setting, but I understand that that isn’t to everyone’s taste.
What I cannot stand is modern stupidity. This is the ladies’ room of the office where I slave away Mon-Fri, squandering my few remaining years of sex appeal and intellectual acuity.
Note how both the soap dispenser and the spiggot are juuuuuust short enough to spew soap onto the counter, juuuuust short enough to make it tricky to get your hands under the faucet, juuuust idiotic enough make washing one’s hands juuuuust that unpleasant.
And it’s not like this was not intentional, oh no. Every single sink is set up juuuuuust this way.
And me, being such an advocate of cleanliness and washing my hands at least five times a work day, I get juuuuuust enough enraged about this situation to earn my restorative G&T, Mon-Fri.
But I cannot leave you on this note of despair because I am all about bringing light and clarity and joy in to my reader’s lives. So please, check out this video of Le Road Trip and tell me if you can identify the music. I keep forgetting to ask my publisher what it is — maybe one of my brilliant blog Commentors knows?