This is a story I told at a recent gathering here in Seattle called Fresh Ground Stories. The theme this time was, “You can’t always get what you want.” Normally, when I tell a story at this event, I am able to attach a recording of it here. Sadly the recorder crapped out, so I have to content myself with sharing the text with you. I hope you like it.
I’ve been in Seattle for about two years now. I was hoping that by this point I wouldn’t have to vacation alone. In retrospect that was an optimistic goal. I didn’t know a soul here when I arrived, my work schedule is very strange, and most people my age aren’t looking for new friends.
So recently I found myself vacationing on the romantic Oregon coast with no one but my two dogs for company. Don’t get me wrong, they’re good dogs. They just have a hard time holding up their end of a conversation.
So I found myself sightseeing all alone. I gazed into the Devil’s Punchbowl and imagined my man standing behind me with his arms around me, whispering, “Beautiful.” (I have a healthy imagination.)
Returning to my car, I said to myself, “You’ve got to snap out of this or you’re going to plunge into a deep dark depression, and it’s not like you’ll get a vacation do-over.”
To add another layer of complexity, that was the launch day for my very first book, so I really did have a lot to celebrate. So I took myself out to dinner. I had salmon. I had a marionberry cobbler for dessert. Up to this point, I didn’t even know that marionberries existed, so it was quite an adventure. I told the waiter about my book. Then I went back to my room and hugged my dogs.
At some point during the trip, though, I reached a turning point. I realized that I was alone, but the views were still gorgeous. I was alone, but the salmon was still delicious, the salt air still smelled sweet, and the fog was so mysterious it gave me butterflies. Wonderful memories were still being made.
It was a romantic vacation for one, and I had fallen in love with the Oregon coast. I’ll be back someday. Maybe I won’t be alone next time. Maybe I will. But either way, I’m looking forward to it.
The Devil’s Punchbowl
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