16 October 2008

Lobsters and Blueberries

For all you whiners out there, I've broken my last post into two different posts so you won't have as much to read at one time. You know, because I haven't spent the last four days catching up on the 200 posts you wrote while I was gone or anything, but whatever makes your life full of sunshine and rainbows. This is why we're still friends, right? That, and the money?

So here is my mushy post about my undying love for Maine. There's nothing funny here at all I'm sorry to say. There was nothing funny in the last one either, but at least I tried with that one. (Amazing how my thoughts are so much more hilarious to me at 2am.) If the Simpsons have taught me anything it is "You tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: never try." For those of you who already read it in the last post, you can go ahead and skip this. In fact, I highly doubt the rest of this post would be of interest to anyone else but me, so consider yourselves duly warned (and how often do I do that for you?). So go read Here in Idaho instead. It's funny as always. Go.

Since I just deleted the whole portion of the last blog I'll give you the gist of what was there. My ancestors have been in Maine since they moved there from Massachusetts in the 1600s, right on up through my grandfather and his family. Evidence of my family's presence is scattered across the entire town where our cottage is. My dad and his sibling visited every summer to a cottage there on the shore, a cottage up the street from where his father vacationed in the summer and down the street from the cottage we visit in the summer now, all three having been on property that has been in the family for four generations. I have gone there since I was a small kid and I have always loved it there. It's been a part of my heritage, my family, and it's seared into my blood. I long for it and I feel a strong connection to the state, but more to the area we visit. I feel like I'm supposed to belong there. And yet I am an outsider.

Mainers are a private people. They don't like outsiders with loads of money taking their state away from them (we're outsiders with no money at all, does that make it better?). If a Mainer perceives you as one of his own you are treated as an old friend. If a Mainer sees you as an outsider, you get the cold shoulder. I've known this since I was small and I've tried to fit in the best I can when I'm there, trying to avoid typical touristy behavior, if nothing else to avoid the chilly reception. Some people don't perceive it as much, like the Husband (a relative newcomer to the state), who suggested he could get away with laying his own lobster traps off shore expecting to catch his own lobsters. While I couldn't expect him to know otherwise, the thought make me snicker and I had to tell him the best that could possibly come from that situation would be to have his line cut by the other lobstermen. The worst would be, well, much worse. "Oh. So not like crabbing then." "Not at all." I still laugh at the image of him trying to get away with that without getting killed.

Back to the outsider thing. I've explained where I'm coming from. I love it there and I feel the familial and lifelong connection. But I never feel like I belong. Even walking around I feel like I'm wearing a sandwich board advertising I'm a tourist on vacation and it would be in your best interests to shun me. And egg my car if you have time. I don't expect Mainers to accept someone like me, especially knowing their attitude towards people just like me. But I can't help feeling a part of it nonetheless. It's like I'm in some sort of limbo. I love them and their state and they hate me and can't wait for me to leave. It's an awkward feeling to say the least. I have never been one for needing to fit in anywhere--marching to the beat of my own drummer you know--but I want to belong there. And I don't. And I never will, either. It reminds me of a question that was submitted to Yankee Magazine several years ago. A couple had moved to Boston and their children had been born there. They asked if that then meant their children were Bostonians. Yankee's answer was, "If my cat had kittens in the oven, would that make them biscuits?" That's pretty much the attitude in Maine, only more so. And I'd never do something as stupid as try to fake a Maine accent or start saying "wicked" after every third word just to try to fit in or anything. I would just like to be regular, normal me, but minus the fricking sandwich board. Not to be.

And now I will go cry into my little pillow until I feel better. STOP LOOKING AT ME. Go watch Youtube. Hey! Remember, Celtic Thunder is always good for a laugh! Now go.

14 comments:

Benteti5 said...

So you've got Maine blood. That explains a lot.

Abby said...

It explains how awesome I am!

Heidi said...

Hmmm. Maine sounds like they could out-freeze the Navajo Nation, and I certainly felt like a complete outsider when we moved to Sanders. At least I was never conflicted like you, seeing as I have no kind of Navajo roots or blood, and nothing about Sanders even remotely tempted me to put down permanent roots there. So I guess if Terence's job ever wants us to transfer to Maine, I'll make sure he turns it down-- you know, because Maine and AZ swap officers all the time, we're such chummy neighbors!

Abby said...

Well, at least it wouldn't be as hot there. You'd be buried in snow--your favorite thing--so it's just as well AZ isn't next to ME anyway.

Stephanie B said...

That really makes me want to go and visit. Maybe you can give me some pointers on how to act.

Abby said...

Absolutely. You can start by never saying, "Ohhhh, you mean it's MAINE lobsters, not MAIN lobsters?? I never would have guessed!" True story.

LISAandSOMETIMESJ said...

yummm... lobster... Did you bring any home? Not that I would ask you to share or anything, but did you?

nativemainer said...

Well, I'm a Maine-ah and I LOVE YOU!!! I welcome you with open arms!! Oh, wait...I don't live there anymore. It's sometimes the same feeling for me when I go up to visit, too. Except I can reclaim my accent in a heartbeat. Now I'm off to a Maine State Society Baked Bean Suppah. No really. Tom and I have on our flannel shirts, ayuh!!

Abby said...

I would love to say that I hate you right now, but I just can't bring myself to say it. More than anything I'm green with jealousy. And thank you for the love, Leslie. I would love to hear your Maine accent some time. Come to my house immediately and do it.

And no Lisa, I did not bring you Lobsters. Apparently they don't travel well in cars. Pinchy little suckers you know.

Bonny said...

I had a dream last night that we were moving to Maine for several months for Ryan's job. I'm sure your blog had something to do with that. The thing I was most stressed about before the move? Returning some library books.

Abby said...

Why does it not surprise me that you would be the most concerned about that?

Misty D. said...

I'll admit I didn't read much of this, as it's so farkin' long. I tell you what... I'll finish reading it as soon as you make the Cheeseburger Soup.

Abby said...

You're joking I assume. For one, this was one of my shorter posts. Two, I told you not to read it because it was boring. And three, I'll make your unbearably long cheeseburger soup when Hell freezes over. Or until you make it with me. Which ever comes first.

Jacob and Mindy T. said...

I would love to visit Maine. That place always looks so pretty. :)