Edenton on a Saturday
I groaned inwardly when I woke up this morning, as I recalled I was meant to be in Edenton at 10 a.m. to interview an elderly geezer for a boating feature.
I groaned again when I realized I'd assumed my wife would be back when I set it up. Now I would have to drag the kids down to Edenton, too.
We finally got on the road and my lateness was compounded by an episide when I drove past the last gas station in civilization and had to double back. The only gas station I found didn't even have a slot to shove my credit card into which raised the grim prospect of a conversation with the cashier.
As it turned out she didn't pay me much attention as she was recounting to two other women a robbery that had taken place at the gas station an hour earlier involving many death threats.
"A good pistol whipping was had by all," I thought I heard her say as I retreated to the pumps, only to find the gas cap wasn't facing the pumps. I always do that.
To compound my problems the print-out with the old guy's number on hadn't printed out correctly and was missing a digit. I tried to retrieve it in my cell phone, as I swerved all over the road, but ended up calling an electrical appliance company twice.
Did I mention the electrical appliance company is owned by the guy who used to be my personal banker? In other words this guy has now been screwing me over for most of the time I have been in America in various guises. I'm not sure if $180 is a good quote for the repair of a dish washer that cost $175 new two years ago.
Eventually I found the old guy's number but the voice on the other end was that of his wife who sounded clinically dischuffed when I informed her of my tardiness.
I finally landed up in his driveway, after wrongly visiting his neighbor and pumping his hand vigorously only to be asked: "And you are who, exactly?"
The funny thing, which I alluded to in an earlier blog, is that the elderly boater turned out to be really interesting. He was encapsulated by tropical seas peppered with the white sails of yachts as a child flicking through back copies of National Geographic, which he first looked at in the hope of catching a glimpse of naked African tribeswomen.
He built his first boat at school but had to sell it to buy his first love an engagement ring. The first love transformed at some point during his life into the clinically dischuffed voice on the end of the line.
Then as a physicist working on the weapons that were maiming and killing so many during the Vietnam War, he had a conversion on the road to Damascus. He decided to take a massive pay cut and move to rural North Carolina so as he could teach in the first desegregated schools. He wanted to be where history was happening.
He built his yacht himself on a school teacher's salary and finally got to sail on turquoise waters past those dreamy Caribbean Islands he saw so many years earlier between the covers of National Geographic.
So it was worthwhile; he even offered to take us out on his boat some time.
And so was Edenton on a balmy February day. If I can erase the memory of Jax using that menu as a weapon of mass destruction, it's actually all good.