Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Maine-A-Mania MMXI

RETRO POST:  Originally posted on  7/29/2009

Note: This will probably not be a ringing endorsement for vacationing in Maine.

Richard, vacationing with the Consteins? It happened!

Well that’s a lie, not much really happened. Maine sucks and it is ridiculously expensive and we would have been better served drinking beers and cracking Michael Jackson jokes at the Fairview. It would have cost us (well, those of us who had money to begin with) less money and we could have avoided the harrowing, thirteen hour car drive and boredom that tested all of our sanity.

What follows is my recollection of the parts of six days I spent on my vacation to Maine-A-Mania MMIX. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. Everything actually happened. Nothing here is exaggerated, unlike the stories Brad began fabricating before we even started the drive home.

Holiday Roaaooooaaad

The drive up to Maine is a necessary evil. It’s cheaper than flying, especially when no one volunteers to give College gas money. But in trade for saving some money, you give up any form or semblance of comfort. There is never any leg room, even if you are in the front seat and put your legs up on the dashboard. I don’t care how big the vehicle is, when you cram six people into it, it’s going to be bad. It’s long, it’s unforgiving, and you can’t wait for it to be over. Like every Eagles season.

If any further proof was needed, you should have just seen us any time we pulled into a rest stop. We rolled out of the car looking like we just finished a two out of three falls match with The Natural Disasters.

Beyond that, the trip up was for the most part an unmitigated disaster, due in part to two things: construction traffic jams; and the horrid, putrid smell of Brad’s moccasins.

We started with a minor setback, waiting for Red and getting on the road two hours late. Pushing on, we were making terrific progress. That is, until we entered the not so great state of New Jersey. There, inexplicably, we managed to get into three different construction zone traffic jams. Not that there was any hint of construction going on in two of the three "work zones." Each time they consolidated the highway into one lane. Somehow there was enough traffic on a Tuesday night to turn each spot into a freaking parking lot. It easily added one and half to two hours to the trip. Not good times in New Jersey, and the Nets and Devils both suck.

The second, and decidedly more unbearable, aspect of the drive up that left something to be desired was the wreaking stench emanating from Brad’s so called moccasins. They were really just some old pair of house slippers, but under any name they packed an eye watering punch. And we are ignoring the fact that his underwear was just a pair of black and white striped TGI Friday’s cook pants.

Along the way, we noticed that something was polluting the air inside of the car, but we couldn’t quite place it. It was so bad that we literally had to have the windows down, or it would begin to overpower us, like so much billowing mustard gas. Eric’s girlfriend Natalia was the first to figure that it was coming from Brad. He blamed the odor on the other pair of clothes he had, which were smelly because he had just got them back from lending them to a guy named Sherman, who needed them for work.

While that may have explained why his clothes smelled, it didn’t excuse the fact that he was A) lending and borrowing clothes from another man; B) not washing them upon getting them back; C) putting those unwashed clothes in a plastic bag and taking them as his only other outfit on a vacation; and D) unaware that it was the vile house slippers the entire time anyway.

I’m not sure how they would have become so nauseatingly awful smelling. He claimed in might have been wearing them for weeks on end in the Lancaster heat with no socks. That might explain it, but it doesn’t excuse it.

I can assure you, print description does not do it justice. You would have to smell inside of the moccasins, like I did, to fully appreciate how bad something could smell. How often do you smell something so noxious, that it actually almost makes you throw up? It was so bad, Brad had to stash the moccasins in the garage of the place in which we were staying. As far as I can tell he left them there, so if I were Donna I wouldn’t count on getting back that security deposit.

The Rain in Maine Falls Mainly on the Plain

After the Durango Ride From Hell, Kyle and I were too far out of it and delirious with lack of sleep, that we ended up having no desire or energy to do anything the first two days. It didn’t help that after driving the entire way, we couldn’t rest immediately because we were unsure of where exactly we would be sleeping.

Initially,we were told that we were staying in a nice house right near the place that Gary, Donna, Bill, Mama, Beth, Chloe the dog, Stacey and her two kids. When we arrived, we found that the lady who ran the house in which we were going to stay was not answering her phone. The very real fear existed that we would have to cram (when you count Brad, Eric, Natalia, Matt, Kyle and myself) a mix of 14 people and one dog into a house that was never meant to hold or sleep more than about eight. The place was nice, but there was no way we would co-exist in a place that, if someone was showering on the third floor, it eliminated the possibility of having running water in any other portion of the house. Also factoring in to the panic, the place was not wired for cable and the antennae wasn’t getting any reception.

Luckily, the housing shortage was fixed after Eric made a few calls, the last of which saw him posing as former N.L. MVP and All-Star third baseman, Ken Caminiti. It seemed there was a miscommunication in regard to which time the house would be ready, with a difference of a mere four hours. In any event, a potential disaster was avoided.

Just when we thought the vacation was underway, it was hampered by poor weather. You’d think, it’s July and the weather would be nice in the middle of the summer, but it was not in Maine. The first two days we ran into constant rainstorms and 40 degree weather. Luckily, I had the trusty Adidas hooded sweatshirt. Otherwise I would have ended up like Kyle, who ended up having to buy a pair jeans at the local Wal-Mart.

Most normal people try lobster while visiting Maine. It’s one of the best areas for it. When I went up in 2004, I had a lobster roll, which was nothing more than lobster meat topped with lemon juice on a Kaiser roll. It was one of the five or six best things I’ve ever eaten in my life and I wanted to try it again. Seemed simple enough.

The first night, we went to a steak house. While the steak was good, it was nothing you couldn’t have got in Lancaster for one third the price. After eating, we had to figure out how to divide and cover the check, which might as well have been advanced calculus. It was sort of like the math equations they talked about in Sneakers. In the movie, the equations are so elaborate and difficult, that you can only solve them with the help of a code. In this case, the code was the portion of the bill belonging to Brad and Matt, who managed to contribute $10, even though it barely covered their two shots of Kamikaze. On a side note, we showed up with Gary, Donna, and Mama and met with Bill, Beth Stacy, and her two kids. But it turns out they just got a table for themselves and we had to put our names on the list and wait.

The next day we went to Bar Harbor, a nice little tourist spot. As you can imagine, it’s a bunch of bars and eateries built around a harbor. There are also a lot of gift shops. My favorite was the one place with the audacity to have bowls and bongs for sale under a glass display. They even had the nerve to advertise them as tobacco devices. There was a gas mask attached to a bong on sale that someone probably should have bought, at least for comedy’s sake, but the $75 price tag was a little steep. But that follows suit very nicely compared to the outlandish prices of everything else. A bottle of Heineken? $4.95. Maine Summer Port Ale, which as far as I know could have been made in a basement bathtub? $5.06. It was like drinking at a baseball game.

So Kyle, Brad, Matt, Eric, Natalia, and I get there, and head to this bar & restaurant called Geddy’s, which is nothing more than a crowded, narrow room, with prices that would make Hooter’s blush, where we were supposed to meet up with Gary, Donna, and the rest.

I guess they decided they could not wait, because when we got there, they had decided to seat themselves. Just a total breakdown of communication, that should probably should have been blamed on Brad, but when does anyone go on vacation with a group of people, but, at every turn, leave them hanging? Who tells someone that they are going to meet them at a certain place for dinner, arrive at said place, and they get seats just for themselves and say screw you to the other group? Did they want to eat at the same place, but just not in sight of us?? If that was their plan, how we would even meet up later in the evening if we had to go elsewhere and get on a wait list???

Eric, Natalia, Kyle and I decided to leave, while Matt and Brad decided to stay back and save their dollar (emphasis on singular) and pick from their parents’ plate.

As I mentioned, there were restaurants and bars everywhere. In an area known for great lobster and fresh seafood, where do we end up? You guessed it, a pizzeria. We each got two slices of pizza and a beer, for just $12 each. As we walked into the pizza place, I lamented not being able to get the Lobster Roll. I asked Kyle where we could get one and he wasn’t sure. I asked him if we there was any chance the pizza place would have them. It might not be as good as one you’d get in a real dining restaurant, but it would do. Kyle yelled that it was a pizza place and that, as it seemed, was that.

Resigned to eating pizza that was equal in quality, but double in price of anything I could get in Lancaster County, we ordered and sat down. After eating, Kyle and I were waiting for Eric and Natalia to come out. Standing outside the door, I looked up in the pizzeria window, and noticed a sign that read, "Lobster Roll - $6.50."

Men Behaving Badly

It didn’t take long for recreational drugs to make their presence known. The trip was only a few miles old when I looked back and noticed one person trying to do a certain drug off of a bootleg copy of WrestleMania 25, if you can believe that. I guess my shocked reaction looked amusing, because it made that person start laughing. Which as you might have guessed, sent white powder flying everywhere. Not willing to see it go to total waste, the other person just grabbed him and started sniffing wildly at his shirt. I’m withholding the one person’s name in case someone from the United States Air Force is reading, and I’ll withhold the second person’s name in case Frank Schwartz is reading.

After that initial outburst, things for the most part quieted down. Aside from a few wisecracks directed towards Mama and Brad sunning with his shirt off, people behaved. Then on the final day we had a flare up.

The last day started out well with a trip over the Gary and Donna’s house for a cookout. We followed that with a wiffle ball home run derby, then College and I used an entire box of matches and a full newspaper to get a fire started. In the evening, we left for Bar Harbor once again, as Eric wanted to check out some bar that he heard was pretty cool.

And the bar was sort of cool. They had the Red Sox post game show on the television. I ordered two beers and two Rocky Mountain MF’ers for Brad and I, but the bartender didn’t know to make the shot, so he ended up throwing something together and charging me just $10 total. Either he f’ed up pretty good, or he just skimped us on the alcohol and didn’t feel right totally robbing me.

It was at this bar where the night took a turn for the worse. After making idle threats of destroying the bathroom all night long, one of our party decided to swoop into action as I was urinating in the stall. He went for some pictures hanging on the wall, but they must have dealt with his type of shenanigans before, because they appeared to be bolted to the wall. Not satisfied, he decided to smash the picture glass with a few elbows that would have made Randy Savage smile. Glass went flying everywhere and the sound of it shattering echoed throughout the bathroom. It was our cue to leave. On the way back to the stool, we tried to stifle our laughter, but the others caught on pretty quick. The perpetrator took the others back to show what happened, and more glass was shattered.

Somewhere along the way, Natalia met some girls who suggested we go to another bar up the street. After the glass breaking fiasco was over, we decided to check it out. It turned out to be a shmozz. It was kind of shoddy, not unlike the Fairview Tavern. It also ended up being very lame, not unlike the Fairview Tavern. All of the guys looked like the type that would hit on your girlfriend when you were in the bathroom. The girls that Natalia had met weren’t even there, not that anyone was real broken up over that anyway.

We stayed for a beer and hightailed it out of there. But not before stopping for another bathroom break. I waited with one Constein brother outside of the bathroom, while the aforementioned Constein brother from the last bar was inside creating havoc. If you didn’t know any better, you might have heard the sounds and assumed a bull had been locked in the bathroom. But a bull might have done less damage. Finally, the door opened and we looked inside. Glass Cleaner? Broken in half and its contents spilled everywhere. Soap dispenser? Torn off the wall and in the trashcan. Giant paper towel dispenser that seemed impossible to tear from the wall? Lying in the toilet. It was quite impressive, really. Even as we were trying to leave, he tried to pull the toilet paper dispenser off the wall. But the door was wide open and were able to drag him away before anyone could spot us.

On the way back to the car, we were walking up an alley, when some guy ran through our crowd and was eyeing up Natalia, who had gotten ahead of our group. As the guy was about to say something to her, Matt yelled out, calling him a homo. They guy stopped running and waited for Matt to come up to him. As Matt was trying to explain to the guy that Natalia wouldn’t appreciate him saying anything, the guy pushed Matt. Laughing in his face, Matt lunged back towards him, but was pulled away by Brad and Eric. The guy wasn’t very big, maybe a little tall but skinny. He looked like he wanted to make another move, but appeared to quickly realize it would have been one on five, so he backed off and didn’t say anything.

As we were getting into the car, we say a few guys sprinting into the alley, presumably coming to his aide. If they were a minute quicker we could have had a back alley brawl the likes of Piper-Goldust from Wrestlemania XI or at the very least an elimination style grudge match that would have rivaled the All-American Team vs. the Foreign Fanatics from Survivor Series ’94--with Brad playing the part of Lex Luger, naturally.

It was pretty wild. Just know that it happened this way, just in case you hear Brad bragging that he got in the guys face, or rolled him and stole his wallet. It ended up being a fitting end to our trip to Maine. It was either that or later in the evening when Brad clogged the toilet.

Remembered Quotes:

-Matt Constein

"Any word on Dan?"
-Gary, wondering if Dan was showing up or not.

"Brad, you lying sack of shit!"
-Kyle, but it was on all of our minds, really.

"It probably sounds really disgusting, but I can actually smell it."
Richard, in regard to any variety of things.

"Any word on Dan?"
-Matt, wondering if Dan was showing up or not.

"A hee Hee!"
Everyone at least 100 times

"Any word on Dan?"
-Brad, wondering if Dan was showing up or not.

"When it’s over, can I still come over!?"
-Brad, at the end of an overtime NHL Hitz game, foreshadowing future conversations with Karen.

"And the number one reason why A-Rod won’t make the Hall of Fame….he left the bases juiced! A haha hee hee!"
-Eric/Dave Letterman.

"Chicken go cluck cluck, cow go moo, rooster go caw-caw, how bout you!?"
Kyle, who had clearly lost his mind.

"I guess Dan isn’t coming…"
Gary, on the last day, almost giving up hope.

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