Countdown to P-town
Yup, we go too!
Like so many other things in life, I'd didn't get around to going to Provincetown until I was in my 40's. I'm a New York City boy. Brooklyn born. I grew up 1-1/2 blocks from the beach. If I wanted to get exotic I could go to Riis Park. Or even head on out to Fire Island. But the concept of traveling 6 hours to a beach was just foreign to me.
The majority of traveling that Robert and I did in the 19 years we were together was mostly in the South. I can regale you with tales of the Delmarva pennisula, which Stuckey's had the best pecan log or most tasteless Mammy salt and pepper shakers, or the best barbecue in the vicinity of Roanoke Rapids, NC (that would be Ralph's....I think it's in Weldon). And we made many, many trips to Key West in the days prior it's becoming the whole-hog T-shirt emporium it has since morphed into.
But it was Tim who showed me all the gay capitals. In short order we went to New Hope, Provincetown and San Francisco. Not all on the same trip, of course. That would have been exhausting, and I would have run out of t-shirts.
We did P-town together for the first time in 1996 and I was charmed. We were to be house-guests of an old, slightly wild, slightly insane friend of Tim's, which is another story and a potential libel suit. We drove up on a grey, rainy steamy August day. I was so disappointed when we hit the cape and there was nothing to be seen for miles but traffic, sand and scrub pine. I had expected some sort of seaside fantasia, a Yankee Disneyland with a nautical theme. Instead, we had traffic and rain and neon No Vacancy signs. It wasn't until we hit North Truro that I caught sight of the sand dunes, beachside cottages and big sky wide-open spaces I was expecting. The rain was beginning to slack off around the time I saw the Pilgrim Monument and asked What the hell is that?
The sun had actually broken through the clouds as we turned off Route 6. We were confronted with a fairy tale cottage garden in full bloom, rain drops sparkling on dark green leaves in the light. A shirtless young man rode by on a bicycle, checking us out. He was followed by several more. I turned to Tim and laughed. We sure as hell weren't in Kansas anymore. We turned onto Commercial Street to see everyone who had been housebound all morning by the rain. The streets were teeming with guys and as we were forced to drive at 5 mph, there was ample opportunity to smile and say hey. I was pretty much at home immediately.
Since that first visit we've rented condos on Shankpainter Road, Conant Street and for the past 4 years running Winthrop Street. Our condo is about 160 steps from the Boatslip. Tim counted. You could crawl home if you wanted or needed to. Yet once inside behind the hemlock shrubs that hide our windows, its quiet and peaceful.
I love the routine of P-town. How you can participate in the madness or spend a day hiking on the beaches outside Wellfleet and not see another soul. How the light there is quite unlike any other light I've seen, and how it makes everything seem slightly flat and slightly effervescent at the same time. I love the chance to share a full week of romantic dinners with Tim, and all those afternoons spent throwing back beer with him on the deck of the Boatslip, checking out the crowd. And the drunken pizza and negotiations at Spiritus!
We're heading up there in 2 weeks. I'm getting antsy just thinking about it.