Monday, August 28, 2006

Arthur Milligan: There's nothing sadder...

... than a tourism-driven coast town on a rainy day. It didn't rain a lot yesterday, but it's been kind of overcast for the last couple, which just sucks the wind out of the place's sails. The street vendors huddle close to their carts so that they're under the unbrellas, for instance. A lot of the shops here have a whole wall that's either a garage door or windows that can be pulled way back to allow the sea breeze in, but when it's raining or just looks like it may rain, they shut those up, and even if there's a "Yes, We're Open!" sign on them, they look a lot less inviting. The streets clear out a little - I imagine folks are staying in their hotel rooms or driving to Portland or Boston - and the amusement park closes up early, except for the arcade. The festival slows down, too - I talked to a couple of the vendors, and they grumbled a little - rainy weekend days for an outdoor fest is killer.

The beach eye-candy also goes way down, too.

It allowed me to get some writing and revising done, at least, which is handy. This probably won't be a long article - there's a good chance I get less real estate than the photographer coming down tomorrow does - so it will probably pay me just enough to offset the beer I've bought the rest of the folks at the inn. I think that's okay, though - if it winds up a wash, then this becomes a decent vacation - I've met an online friend face-to-face, had some good beer, and seen a new place. I haven't really taken a vacaton since mom died last year - I even worked straight through Thanksgiving and Christmas, and this is close enough to that for me to be refreshed before my first session on the autobiography I've signed to ghost-write.

One distraction - I finally answered that ringing phone this morning! That was a weird conversation. The woman on the other end was naturally surprised to hear my voice, and asked if Liz had shown up yet. I said no, and then she asked whether I was sure, that maybe she was in another room, and I said, no, it's all guys here. She said that didn't make any sense, it had been almost a week, and her family was going to get worried. I said I didn't know what to tell her, and she said that was okay, but sounded a little sad.

I almost went through the rest of the stuff in the bags, just to see if there were some clues about who she was, but I felt bad enough just opening the first suitcase - if the cell phone hadn't been right on top and I'd had to dig through a purse to find it, I probably would have stopped. It is a strange little mystery, though.

-Art

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