August 3, 2014 By Cultural Limits
The Secret Service would probably ruin a good time
One afternoon last week, another member of the Limits household and I played hooky and floated a pretty flat five-mile stretch of a river no one outside of Missouri has ever heard of. At one point, as we passed a fairly organized campground, the smell of a wood fire wafted over the river along with eau de old and moldy canvas tent. With that, nostalgia set in. When we were growing up, those were the smells of summer vacation.
Martha’s Vineyard was just out of Mom and Dad’s price range.
To be honest, in this part of the country, from Friday to Sunday (mostly Saturday, but there has to be some travel time) during June, July and the first two weeks of August, every quiet, still. picturesque river teaming with turtles, snakes, trout, tadpoles and the occasional black tailed deer becomes a bank to bank party zone. The working stiffs get out of the city, lose the cell phones and kick back for a couple days. SUVs and pick-ups are traded for canoes, inner tubes and rafts (not necessarily in that order). Every tree hanging over a remotely deep part of the river becomes an opportunity for a swing rope. (Thoughtful floaters have left many in the trees for those who follow, too.) Cliffs over five feet are for jumping – if you dare. Hermetically sealed air-conditioned houses are left behind for all the nylon tents and air mattresses Coleman sells. (Actually saw somebody use a window unit run off a generator to cool off a tent once.) Natural waterways are polluted with sunscreen, among other fluids. And many adult beverages are consumed.
Out here in this part of flyover country, this is standard summer unwinding procedure. In other states, there are methods of R & R in the great outdoors that are more of the hiking and cycling variety. It’s not for everybody, but, hey, neither is lobster and cosmos. To each his or her own.
Working people everywhere need a chance to shut down for so many reasons. Take a break from all the stress, the angst, the constant bombardment of information, etc. We all do. Rest is essential for not just health, but effectiveness. That is why in United States we call time away to recharge “vacation” as in “vacate” or leave.
The problem we are having this August in the United States is that our vaunted government – at least the top of the food chain – is bound to the beach, vineyards, lakes, and spas without having really done any work.
Somehow, we all doubt that they are headed to the party zones for less than the cost of one of Nancy Pelosi’s broomsticks to spend an afternoon doing jello shots in their bikinis and cut-offs.
But that did start me thinking:
- What would San Fran Nan look like wearing one of those old-fashioned orange life jackets that are basically nylon over squared off foam three inches thick with a hole for the head? And does she have earrings to match in her collection?
- Does Chuck Schumer know what to do with a canoe paddle or would he bring a driver from the New York State motor pool to steer?
- Once Dingy Harry got a bath in the river and settled in his inner tube, would he get stuck there? And would he remember to bring a lanyard for his glasses?
- Would any of them drink Busch Light from a can and then actually put the can in the trash bags provided by the canoe rental companies? Conservation, recycling and all that jazz since no glass is allowed on the rivers.
- How about drinking wine from a box? There’s a Chardonnay that’s actually not bad, but somehow it’s doubtful that after refining an international palate, Inside the Beltway types would appreciate the finish. Especially when river water mingles with it.
- Joe Biden, please keep your swim trunks on. One should not skinny dip in the rivers. Scares the fish.
- Michelle in a bikini… [shudder] or eating s’mores with marshmallows roasted over an improvised beach fire…she probably wouldn’t even be able to fathom packing lunch in a cooler.
- And, of course, there’s Sheila Jackson Lee, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Maxine Waters. They’d be forced to talk to each other which would echo off of every flat surface for miles and they might get their hair wet or break a nail…on second thought, leave them behind. After all, their shoes would definitely get wet and that might start a riot.
Was that racist?
Now that it’s August and the city here has pretty much emptied out, as it always does for the first two weeks of August (seriously, no meetings happen because there’s so many people vacating), and Congress has decided to recess with all sorts of national and international fires that need tending (not that Congress can do much about it by themselves), how’s about Obama and the gang come out here to flyover country and find out how we bourgeoisie vacate in a hurry. No oysters, caviar or Dom, but we can offer fresh fruits and veggies, summer sausage, brats, hot dogs, hamburgers and cereal. Anything more than that is a little fancy for the camp-site. (Okay, if one brings along a sterno or camp stove, eggs and bacon for breakfast can happen.)
Think we’d get any takers?
Yeah, me neither.
Note to the White House: Vacations are possible without involving the swanky shores of Martha’s Vineyard. At least the Reagans and Bushes vacayed at their own property and the Clintons used the Presidential Retreat House on St. John in the USVIs that’s already secure. They didn’t inconvenience regular people and they were able to unwind just fine.