Saugatuck, Michigan, you will be interested to know, is a summer lakeside resort for wealthy vacationing refugees from Chicago. Although I am not a wealthy vacationing refugee from Chicago, I was recently obliged to biff off to Saugatuck for a few days, to rally round the sickbed of an aged relative.
Here’s how it all shook out:
My sibling Tidy was in charge of organizing the northward migration of the Faster branch of the family. I had already commenced panicking because I’d just found out that we were going to hit town right in the fucking middle of Tulip Time.
Tulip Time is a week-long festival wherein the honky citizenry of the adjoining town of Holland, Michigan all put on wooden shoes and pointy lace caps, take to the streets, and clomp their brains out in celebration of their supposed Dutch heritage. They do this against a wholesome backdrop of tulips that were, perhaps, at their most dewy fresh the week prior. The honkys of Holland, Michigan get a big bang out of celebrating their Dutchiness. Thousands of others agree, apparently, and come from miles around to observe the Hollandites’ gaudy display of something called “street scrubbing” that I have yet to figure out what the fuck.
Hence my panic. Traveling in general is bad enough (you can’t, it turns out, even get from Cottonmouth County to Saugatuck, Michigan; first you have to go to Austin, then Dallas, then Detroit, and then Grand Rapids, via a series of increasingly improbable conveyances! Seriously! And the whole time the only thing you can find to eat is ‘salad’ in plastic boxes!).
Not only did the thought of crowds of Dutch-loving tulip worshipers strike terror in my lobe, Tulip Time meant that no decent hotel rooms would be left, and that I would be obliged, in addition to all this other bullshit, to put up at some fleabag flophouse or, worse, a quaint bed-and-breakfast.
Perhaps you are one of those adventuresome psychos whose idea of a big time is to move into a complete stranger’s weirdly-appointed, moldy-smelling, creaky old house for a couple of days. Maybe you enjoy sitting around a communal dining table first thing in the morning with six or eight alien septuagenarians each of whom is bursting with such vim that they think nothing of bounding up the 332 steps to the top of Mount Baldy-Head or whatever the hell it is and then telling you all about it over grapefruit garnished with a maraschino cherry before you’ve even had your coffee in a chipped china cup. Maybe you get a charge out of feeling obligated to ingest the ‘innkeeper’s specialty’ — a sort of goopy egg pudding doused with caramel sauce and earnestness — for breakfast instead of your usual life-giving spinach smoothie. Possibly you are a connoisseur of diaphanous 19th century walls and of having to tiptoe around in your room after 8 PM for fear of rousting up the whole house. Fine. Go stay in a B&B with my blessing. But leave me out of it. When it comes to lodging in lakeside resorts, give me privacy or give me a gun.
“For the lovagod,” I therefore said to Tidy, “don’t, whatever you do, book us into a goddam quaint B&B.”
When we rolled up in front of the quaint B&B, a low moan escaped my piehole.
“Talk to the hand, ” said Tidy. After 16 hours of continuous and gruelling travel, 4 of which hours were, I am sorry to say, the unfortunate result of my inadvertently having gotten us lost owing to the similarity between “I-96” and “I-94” (I mean, come on!) old Tidy was apparently not in the mood. I had the last laugh when our mother elected to sleep in the same bed with her on accounta Mom’s own quaint trundle was uninhabitable.
But I digress.
Back in Holland Michigan, at one of the 358 or 359 Tulip Time parades down the main drag, I made a few observations.
1. I espied a float, sponsored by the Turning Pointe School of Dance and Borculo Wrecker Service, toting the Holland Area Mothers of Multiples. Nothing warms a spinster aunt’s heart like the spectacle of white women dressing up like LDS wives and getting acclaimed for their feats of reproduction.
2. No persons of color attended the event.
3. White people in Holland, Michigan, when feeling festive, eat things called ‘elephant ears’: absurd globs of fried dough the size of hubcaps.
Anyway, now that I’m back in civilization, and it has apparently been scientifically proven that Boobquakes cause earthquakes in Taiwan, I can go back to sneering at regular stuff.
More of my trip photos are on display here.