I was on “vacation” this week. I’m not sure what that means and it’s probably the topic of another blog post. While I was away from the work I do for money, I was out gathering geographical information for a story I am writing. I spent time in a familiar town, a place I like to walk around in after work on Friday evenings. It’s one of those places I imagine living in if I had a trust fund or I won the lottery. I’d buy a good size house near the ocean, install some attractive vegetable gardens, and live life. I’d entertain and have house guests; maybe I’d have an “in-law apartment” for my parents. I’d have salons and stammtisch; maybe my entertaining friend Reggie Black could be a house guest.
Do people still have salons?
Each time I visit this charming town of my dreams, I explore different neighborhoods. My story almost writes itself as I walk along the sidewalks and the characters jump out of my imagination and into my i-phone notebook. There’s a library, several post offices, a historical society and a grocery store to which I could hypothetically walk or ride my bicycle. Should I desire to join new clubs, there is a yacht club, a golf and tennis club, and a seasonal private club. Did I mention there are a number of good restaurants? One restaurant has a cozy pub for those nights when I tire of preparing meals for my house guests. There’s even a community garden. This town has it all.
There’s just one problem I’ve observed in my pedestrian exploration.
There are a lot of rules and ordinances in this town based on the large number of small signs in unassuming places, reminding town residents and guests of their obligation to stay in line. When I went to the town’s website, I counted no less than 55 categories of ordinances. There was a littering ordinance, a noise ordinance, a fireworks ordinance, and a yard and barn sale ordinance. Although it wouldn’t apply to me, there was a cable Tee Vee ordinance.
There was this ordinance.
I understand a few general rules and regulations may be necessary in a fashionable summer resort. I’m just not sure what would prompt a town to create a sand and rock ordinance. It was the pebble manifesto. I don’t think we have a sand and rock ordinance here on the Seacoast, but our state motto is “Live Free or Die.”
When I got home from a seaside jaunt the other day I took off my shoes and I heard something click. A pebble, stuck in my shoe’s tread, came out and fell on the floor. I hadn’t purposely taken the pebble from the beach, but I was a scofflaw nonetheless. I put the pebble on the table where it will sit until I return to this lottery ticket trust fund beach.
There are two or three houses for sale in this fashionable summer resort and each of them could be the perfect location for salons and house guests. I’m not so sure about the litany of ordinances, though. Ordinances won’t matter in the story I’m writing; I can dismiss them, ignore them, or even break them. In my own little fictional corner of the world, I don’t need many rules and regulations.
In a world of my own creation, it’s just one foot in front of the other and damn the pebbles.
What was that Marx said?
I wouldn’t belong to any club that would have me.
What kind of story are you writing? And how far along is it?
A short fiction story. I have an outline written; it’s about a woman who spends a winter living alone after losing a job. Original, I know. I’m thinking lots of interior monologue.
Julie-Ann, I absolutely love today’s blog. I felt as though I was with you at the beach and wish I had been ordinances and all. The beach always gives me solace as well. I particularly liked your reference to stammtisch. I have a German friend who liked to have a “coffee Klatsch”. I think it was a similar get together. Hope you enjoyed your vacation. Keep up the good work and we’ll be chatting soon. Hugs, Mary
Thank you, Mary. There’s something about the ocean that is calming, even in its restlessness. Hugs from the sea!