Friday, October 12, 2012


It's been a busy week. I've been kicking myself for being lax about my fitness regimen, but then I remind myself, "it's been a busy week."

I skipped boxing class last night. I got up at 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning and it was just non-stop busy-ness until I finally got to bed at 3 a.m. on Thursday morning. I fell asleep early last night.

Today, I caught up on all the little errands I have needed to do for weeks now. I FINALLY got the blankets delivered to Project Linus.

Then, I finally went apple-picking. In the rain. Pouring rain, actually.

I would like to point out that, on the weather Thursday night, no mention was made of pouring rain on Friday. Perhaps because it did clear up and become sunny by mid-afternoon.

Perhaps they were simply "skipping" that whole 3-hours-of-pouring-rain-thing as somehow irrelevant.

It was also quite a bit chillier than predicted. All in all, it was not the morning I would have picked to pick apples, if I had known what was in store for me weather-wise.

But anyway, I got my apples. And I like them very much. I'm thinking tomorrow or Sunday may be an apple-tart day. If that proves to be the case, my guess is, I'll post a picture.

I brought a bunch of peppers and small carrots in from the garden, because they're threatening frost tonight.

Maybe that's why they didn't mention rain in today's forecast last night. They were all focusing their attention on the upcoming possibility of frost.

To accomplish all of my little missions today, I had to drive to Cranston to Providence to North Scituate to East Greenwich.

I mention this because, to a native Rhode Islander, this would be a sign of insanity. Rhode Island is a very small state, as I'm sure you know, and the fact that it is only about 42 miles long by about 38 miles wide leads to what one of my friends calls the "hyper-local" mentality of Rhode Islanders.

Although this is not the case for all Rhode Islanders, obviously, many will resist traveling more than 15 minutes for anything. If it takes 20 minutes to get anywhere, they will express dismay at "how long" it takes to get there and "how far away" it is.

The daughter of a friend of mine once moved from Coventry to Pawtucket. 15 minutes away on I-95.

Her friends at school threw her a going-away party.

Rhode Islanders will often insist that separate towns breed very distinct kinds of people, personalities, accents and attitudes. My friend once told me that his wife, a native Rhode Islander, commented on the fact that a barbecue they went to was not a "typical East Providence barbecue," but "more like something you'd see in Barrington."

His comment was, "Oh for God's sake, you all live 10 minutes away from one another."

While Rhode Islanders will readily venture into Massachusetts, in my opinion, they seem a bit more reluctant to head to Connecticut. Businesses located north and west of the city of Providence often adopt what seems to me to be a distinctly apologetic tone when announcing their location.

No one south and east goes north and west, apparently. The beach and the ocean are to the east. Why go west? There are actually some really beautiful lakes and hiking trails in the northern and western parts of the state.

I won't even begin to try to explain why people on the West Bay think they're better off than people on the East Bay--and vice versa. Friends of mine who live on the East Bay never go to the West Bay.

Luckily, I just wander the state at random. People find this charming, my unwillingness to be fazed by the vast distances that make up the smallest state in the United States.

In Rhode Island people will rent--yes, I said RENT--a house at the beach for the summer, despite the fact that, from pretty much any point in the state, you can drive to the ocean in well under an hour.

Unless you're in the northernmost and westernmost corner of the state, in which case it will probably take you exactly an hour. With traffic.

When I first moved to NJ, a colleague told me, "We're not too far from the shore." When I looked a bit surprised, he said, "Oh, yes, it's quite convenient: just get on 195 and you can get there in about an hour and a half--two hours or so in the summer, when there's traffic."

Everything in NJ is at least 45 minutes from everything else. It's as simple as that. Trips in NJ function in 45-minute increments.

It will either take you 45 minutes to get somewhere, or it will take you a hour and a half.

If there's traffic, add anywhere from two to six hours to your 45-minute increments, and that will give you a rough estimate of when you can expect to arrive at your destination.

So catching up on errands in Rhode Island is not at all a bad way to spend a rainy-then-sunny Friday.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."