Sunday, August 2, 2009
Actually, Plymouth kind of sucks. Yesterday was gorgeous and I wanted to get out town and John wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t been before, so we landed on Plymouth. (Wah wah.) It features a fake rock that signifies nothing (which I refused to look at) and a lot of tourists who subscribe to the tenet that conformity is its own reward.
Still, we had an excellent day. We ate lunch at a placed called The Deck with a view of the harbor; our waitress was exceptionally nice. Then we bought some too-sticky saltwater taffy and walked out to the end of the jetty in the hot hot sun. The jetty was composed of large, jagged, irregular rocks with big gaps in between, requiring the utmost concentration to avoid falling and splitting one’s chin and/or shin open. But when we got to the end we took a break and enjoyed the sea breeze.
The jetty is, as one meta-graffito proclaimed, “Plymouth’s Graffiti Area.” Alas, we had no spray paint with which to declare our love and existence. By the time we were back on the mainland it was the cocktail hour, so we drove north along the coast looking for a good spot to wet our whistles. We ended up at a place called Barker Tavern that had a superb wine list and more effusively friendly waitstaff who brought us crackers with homemade cheese spread and three buttered rolls even though we weren’t staying for dinner. A server even told me in passing, “You look cute,” which is such an intimate phrasing compared to something like “Cute top.” It’s something a friend would say rather than a stranger, since the implication is “You look cute for you.”
Then we moseyed along to Hingham, home to my favorite restaurant in the greater Boston area, Tasca. It’s consistently delicious with a great atmosphere and, being outside Boston proper, free of trendy restaurant hype. Kind of a perfect day, and not even tinged with sadness like the Lou Reed song.
A word about conformity and fashion: John is resistant, but I think it’s perfectly fair to prejudge people based on their clothing, and prejudge cities and towns based on the way their inhabitants dress. (Assuming, you know, you’re open to being proven wrong.) Because the highly educated, artsy-type people I prefer to surround myself with tend to wear more interesting clothes. Even nerdy, unfashionable rationalists are likely to “opt out” in a distinctive way rather than just wear the most conformist, boring thing possible. Getting dressed is mostly signaling—a way of broadcasting what you’re like. It’s almost socially dysfunctional to fully ignore those signals.
Of course it’s not a perfect system, but if you’re going to form preconceived notions about strangers (and we all do) it’s better than phrenology and racial profiling.
I have slept, I have jogged, I have showered, I have eaten an unsatisfactory breakfast of barely moist cereal, and some potato chips. Now I have to rearrange my manuscript again. There is almost no pleasure in this.