Thursday, July 10, 2008

Paradise Lost

A few weeks in Virginia and I’m still feeling a little limboesque (yes, I made that word up, but I couldn’t think of a real word that describes how I feel). It’s to be expected; I’m only a visitor here, after all. But it’s really odd. It’s like a vacation at home. I mean, sure, there’s a beautiful view outside the bedroom window and a beach to walk on, but there’s still groceries to buy, bills to pay, meals to cook, rooms to clean, a dog to walk, TV channels to flip through—and all in a different time zone. There’s no freedom from responsibility that you get when you’re on vacation, no release from the daily stuff, which is one of the things I really like about vacations. It’s a lot like real life, and that’s a little disappointing.

I know I sound ungrateful, but you’re just going to have to believe me when I tell you that this is not paradise. Paradise doesn’t include daily, 7-mile back ups on bridges and tunnels. Nor does paradise have to have it’s own 24-hour TV channel devoted to traffic. Granted, we are not living on the touristy side of the area, which can be a good thing. It’s kind of like having a private beach, which is very cool. I’ve been told this is because we are on the bay side, not the ocean side, like Virginia Beach is. Apparently it’s crazy over on their beaches and is always packed. So, the good news is, we aren’t overrun with people here; the bad news is that it’s not grown up with things like shops and restaurants that you can easily walk to, which is a big deal on the days when your husband takes the only car. Not that I mind hermitting in the condo, but I’m the kind of person who could easily hermit every day, so I have to make myself get out and get among people so that I stop talking to my dog as if she comprehends everything I say.

Also, it isn’t the greatest neighborhood. It’s kind of bizarre because there are some really, really nice places not only on the beach side, as you would expect, but also across the street, interspersed with places not so nice. So there will be a $450,000 house (for sale) next to a row of run-down places with “Beware of Dog” and “No Trespassing” signs on their gates. When I walk Cosette around there, I have to be diligent about where she walks because there is a lot of broken glass and trash she wants to investigate and hopefully find something to eat. There are a couple of parks in town that I take her to, but to keep things interesting, I try to take her to different places during the week, and walking around the neighborhood is something different. They do have a large area that is supposedly set to become a park because they condemned the housing that was there originally quite a few years ago. However, the city is dragging their heels because, apparently, they don’t want it to be a park, they want more expensive townhouses and single-unit homes to be built there. Everywhere I look there are large, empty houses with “For Sale—Reduced” signs in the front yard, with a new one going up next door. It’s crazy.

There are some nice areas, of course, and I specialize in finding little gems in a new town. So far, I’ve found a British store that carries my favorite crisps (Walker’s Cheese and Onion) and candy bar (Picnic), plus some other cool things, and I’ve found a pub that is a little piece of Scotland here in Virginia, complete with pub quizzes. We haven’t been for quiz night yet, but I’m hoping we can get in on that. I’ve also found the greatest consignment shop, where I bought a gorgeous handbag made with leather like butta for $54. I never spend that much on a handbag, but what the hell. Oh, and that reminds me. For someone with a tote bag/handbag/purse/backpack/whatever fetish, beach towns are very dangerous because every store has the cutest totes!

In all honesty, I admit to still be working on the whole depression and crankiness thing, and a lot of my frustration is self-inflicted, so someone else coming here for 10 weeks might very well find it to be paradise. I know that if this was in the mountains somewhere, I’d probably be happier because I’m just not a beach/hot weather kind of person. And I’m trying to follow Al’s lead and be positive and let things roll off me, which is really freaky because I used to be the one in that role and Al was the moody one. I don’t like my new role and would like to be recast, please.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of the area around our condo. It looks much nicer in pictures.

The area across from us that could be a park if the city follows through.

Cool gnarly tree

One of the nice houses

The house sits across from this park--this one really designated as a "park"

Another view of the park.

Closely packed in on the beach side. Our condo is on the far right.


Karen said...

I thought limboesque meant you felt like doing the limbo. I was thinking...a few week living on the beach and you were morphing into Annette Funicello.

Anyway, I am sorry that things aren't perfect, but in reality things never are, are they? I am glad you are finding cool places though.

Kell said...

Well, I didn't really expect it to be perfect, but I've had several people tell me that it must be paradise. It is for some people.

I hadn't thought of the limbo! That would be cool. But I'll have to do a lot more yoga before I can bend like that.

Anonymous said...

I like that tree! I like trees with character. You can make up stories about that tree.

I feel for ya-nothing ruins a good walk with the dog like having to watch out for broken glass and crap.

Thanks for visiting me! hope you come by again soon.

Michelle Patterson said...

Wow. The park is pretty run down looking.

Limboesque = new word to add to my own vocabulary. Thankyouverymuch.

Doesn't seem so much like paradise. Just someplace different than home.

fiwa said...

I'm probably one of those who said it looks like paradise, but that's the thing. The grass always looks greener on the other side. But then I am also a beach/water person.

I agree though, if you have all the same responsibilities of home, it's not really a vacation.

I've been listening to the book on tape version of that book Eat, Pray, Love, and at the end she's describing a trip she took where she went alone and didn't speak to another person for something like a week. I think that sounds like heaven right now. A trip all by myself, (no responsibilities would be key), eating when and what I wanted, sleeping when I wanted, and being totally alone.

Kudos to you for finding that cool pub, and good luck at quiz night.


little wanderer said...

you are doing well getting out and about, and I love the photos, I too love trees!

Dianne said...

I lean toward depression and crankiness also and my cats are no where near as kind as I'm sure Cosette is.

I thought any change of scene would be a gift but then I remembered a week I spent in a rented condo - and all the chores and watering the plants and I remember I yearned for a huge hotel :)

getting out and about is so crucial though - and I bet Cosette is a fine companion

your photo of the tree is great.

keep on keeping on - as they say ;)