We are not yokels here in Maine. We read books and keep abreast of current events and speak an advanced form of English. If only we dressed in black, you could drag us to swell parties all over the Isle of Manhattan and we would not embarrass ourselves.
And yet we are people who live among moose.
Do you know where Connor Township is?
How about Sinclair?
I know that at least one reader will know these places, he being our local Superintendent of Schools (I mean, uh, School). Jerry used to work up to Ste. Agathe (which is how he says it, Saint Ag-AT,) a stone’s throw from the northern tip of the state. I’m headed up that way later this month.
Is it possible the world is divided into Updike people and Cheever people? (Along with, I suppose, people who don't read at all?) I tried again — and failed again — to elicit some Cheever love among my students at Watershed. They remain steadfastly loyal to the man from Ipswich.
In a seemingly unrelated development, a bunch of Gravely Concerned Maine Citizens launched a petition drive to ensure that people like me can't get married.
The first day that the thermometer hit 70, I heard the jingle of the Good Humor ice cream truck making its rounds throughout the neighborhood. You hear it first. Then you see it slowly turn the corner, creeping down the street at 10 miles per hour.
Living on any of the outer islands means you have signed on to a few lifestyle adjustments...stockpiling food, doing without that latte on the way to work, worrying about the weather to an almost neurotic degree. Most vacationers think we’re living a “simpler” life; most year-rounders wonder, at least once in a while, just what they were thinking.
"In a minute there is time," frets J. Alfred Prufrock — poor schlub! — "for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse."
Children of Men, a terrific British flick based on a novel by P.D. James, imagines a future in which some mysterious affliction has left humankind unable to reproduce. In a scene shot at a derelict elementary school, one of the characters — a former midwife — delivers this resonant line:
"As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in."
Yesterday at 1:18 p.m., I got this e-mail from a happy stranger named Lucie Bauer:
"This morning Governor Baldacci signed into law LD 1020, An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom!"
It felt so ... sudden.
"God is horribly absent," wrote literary critic Francois Mauriac upon surveying the thirteen volumes (in the original French) of À la recherche du temps perdu, Marcel Proust's titanic literary masterpiece. Nearly one-and-a-half million words — enough for Guinness to declare it the world's longest novel — and "God" is not among them. Incroyable!
Our state leaders were quite clear about what Mainers had to do to deal with the arrival of swine flu. Top health officials and the governor all advised preparing for the disease’s onslaught in the same way we’d get ready for a blizzard.