The Slinger is doing a pretty good job talking about the intricacies of language studies. Like many of my students, he is a specialist in computer programming – which is why I scoff when people start bemoaning the declining interest in the humanities. Hah! As if you need a humanities degree to do humanities. Just last week, I met hyperintelligent odd-jobs guys more interested in the humanities than any humanities majors that I’ve ever met. Desire for humanities doesn’t depend on your major. So hail to all you computerists and legalists, and contractors, and business owners, who take my classes! You people rock and lead the way!
So, while The Slinger managed this blog, Jude and I went to Oregon. If you haven’t been to Oregon, go – right now, immediately! The road trip from Oakland to Portland is fantastic, even if you take I-5 (especially once you hit Redding and the Shasta Lake). We also improvise – one time, we were planning to go to Bend but stopped for coffee in Ashland and ended up spending the night there. Another time, Jude decided that on the way to Eugene, he had to show me the Oregon caves and the coast; as a result, we arrived in Eugene at midnight and Jude’s sister wasn’t exactly happy. But the coast road is incredible, and we’ve taken it through storms and hail, which always adds to an already exciting drive.
This time, we drove straight to Lake Oswego, one of Portland’s southern suburbs. Georgie (Jude’s mom) lives on a hill nearby. Jude is her youngest. His sisters say he’s Georgie’s favorite, and I agree – they share a special bond.
Our hotel room overlooked Lake Oswego. Each morning, we’d throw in some stale Acme bread and all the mommy ducks with their offsprings would paddle out. There is a nifty bar-cum-restaurant nearby – the name is Oswego Lake House – humble front, glorious back, boats bordering it at sunset. Groves everywhere – elf county!
Something was seriously wrong with the Portland weather, though. It is usually very warm in summer, but this time it stayed cold and damp for most of the day. On the third day, we drove back south to Roseburg to pitch our tent, and while the day temperatures were much higher, we still shivered at night. Must have been the global warming or something.
The camping experience was exquisite. First off, I’ve never ever skipped washing my hair for four days straight, so I didn’t even have an idea how beneficial the lack of shampoo can be. Showers begone, let natural odors emerge! One night, I even skipped brushing my teeth, but it was only because of the global warming. The next day, I brushed every 15 minutes.
Speaking of water, there was this irrigation pipe that broke as someone drove and knocked it off. I was not there when it happened – several of us were driving to town to get pizza or something when the call came. We drove straight back, but nothing could be done in the darkness, so the pipe stayed broken for a while. The next day it turned out that the break was pretty serious and a part had to be replaced. So that was The Day Of The Pipe Repair – there was toil and moil, and digging and rigging, and potage galore. The sun was bright, the grass got browner, and the brains of the camp population boiled. That night, beer was consumed mouth-to-tap. One camper got conked out, and several others engaged in wrestling matches. Amazing what a broken pipe can do – a soap opera of epic proportions. The wrestlers discussed their bouts until sunbreak, at the appropriate sitcom pitch and tenor.
Which is to say that the camping site had extraordinary acoustic properties. Sounds travelled far, and man-made noises scared off most of the wildlife (the frogs I thought I heard one morning turned out to be human farts). It was my idea to pitch the tent next to the action, which meant a lot of meaow-meaow music “awl day lo-owng.” If the camping event happens again next year, our tent will be the farthest one out. (Then again, there are these bears that go out at night. They are not real bears – I mean, they are, but they are not BEAR bears, like the grizzlies, just cute little beariculi that go after your garbage at night while you’re trying to sleep. So my concern is that they might think our tent is just a normal piece of garbage, properly positioned at the outer boundaries of the camping habitat and containing two well-cured meat leftovers…)
It took me two days to get this out. I played the guitar (more exactly, I played WITH the guitar, which is not a proper way of doing it) and made up an Oregon song to go with it. We also played chess, and Jude beat me thrice, but not after a bloody battle. The last time we held glowing sticks over the chess board and moved our men as the country music wailed on. There is much more, but it needs more percolation. Plus, I am now cured of my post-party depression.