Last week, we went on a midweek vacation to Cape Cod, which we have been to a zillion times. One of the things we love about it is that it will never grow into the kind of annoying place where every restaurant is bragging about their “price points” and their “brand.” Cape Cod will only swell to the exact size that people are willing to put up with the traffic on Route 6. The people whose head explodes if they wait in traffic for 20 minutes will find someplace else to go on vacation.
We always end up in Provincetown, at the tip of the Cape. Most of the year, the place is 99.9 percent gay. But for three months in the summer, tourists descend upon the place, and everybody gets a chance to see what the other half is up to. There is no need for a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy here. You don’t even have to ask—nobody is shy about telling. Provincetown is surrounded by water and showtunes, so it pays to be both buoyant and flamboyant at the same time.
Leave the car at the hotel, and ride your bike into town, because there are signs posted all over the place that your car will be towed at the owner’s expense, even if you’re driving it at the time. If you must take a car, take somebody else’s, so if the inevitable happens they will have to pay for the towing. It’s right there on the sign.
We stopped in at Governor Bradford’s tavern for some karaoke. The place is a mecca for people of alternative sexual orientation whose enthusiasm for music far exceeds their singing talent. The head transvestite who was running the show introduced Eric, who sang a version of Shania Twain’s “I Feel Like a Woman.” This was hardly big news—so did just about everyone else there, except for the women.
For such a theatrical bunch, you would hope that the singing would be better than usual, but instead it’s only louder than usual. At the end of the performance the emcee said, “That was Eric—let’s all give it up for him!” Even though it should be quite the opposite.
Somebody else sang, “Killing Me Softly,” only they sang it really loud. I guess they were thinking that if they killed me louder with the song it would be faster and more humane. You might as well strum my face with your fingers, too, as long as you’re at it.
While we were sipping cocktails, we played a game of chess—you can also play backgammon at the Governor’s; there are boards at some of the tables. It wasn’t my fault that my queen was a replacement from a smaller chess set and looked more like the bishop, but when I wasn’t paying attention my wife swooped in and captured my queen. It dawned on me that somebody capturing somebody else’s queen must happen fairly often here.
The next morning when we were eating breakfast at an outdoor cafe, the Provincetown town crier came over, dressed in a Pilgrim outfit, ringing his bell and working the crowd. I was thinking what a great job that would be for when I retire, being a Pilgrim somewhere and town crying. Somewhere where it’s hot, but low humidity, and the taxes are low and they tolerate Pilgrims pretty well. What qualifications would I need to town cry? Maybe I should just start out as a town whiner and work my way up.
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