One thing i remember very clearly is that on the way there my eyes were fixed on the side of the highway as it slipped past us, and that suddenly my entire vision skipped. Everything was fine before and after, but for that one moment it was as though life was film and a splice in the reels had passed… so that for the next second the highway rail and the trees didn’t quite match up and then they were moving on at however many frames per second with no one the wiser.
I was essentially at a loss for words, sitting at the quaint restaurant table with Lindsay and Dante trying to explain. I couldn’t figure out how i felt about New Hope… i felt like we were trapped in one of those quaint tourist trap towns and that it was like walking around in a life-sized dollhouse where nothing was real. It was more than that, though… more surreality like rose flavored ice cream that made me feel like i was in a novel somewhere other than circling around Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware.
So, we were at dinner and Lindsay decided for me that i should have brought a notebook with me, and i’m sure that i should have because i lost everything i had meant to say. I suppose i’m just so obsessed with being in a city and being metropolitan that it seems impossible to me that people live just around the corner from these shops… selling strange musical instruments and fantastical ice cream and ultra-hot salsa only to walk back home and lay down to sleep under those same stars.
Oh yeah, you could see stars. Everywhere. Our trip straddled Pennsylvania and New Jersey and we walked back and forth across a bridge whose wooden foot path was so worn that it seemed just like walking on a dirt road. We all wondered at once where the state lines were drawn… the middle of the river, or the middle of the bridge? I finally figured that they’d probably be indicated on old claimer’s maps, but then it came down to where exactly those hand-drawn maps would set the border in real life and we were back to where we started.
Other things happened too, that i can’t quite put back together into the blog they were meant to be. There was an armor store that was selling arrowheads from 200bc, and i couldn’t fathom how just anybody had the right to own something that old and have it sitting in a display case with a “please inquire” pricetag on it. I kept arguing with Lindsay that nothing could taste like a rose after we first passed the ice cream shop while still in the car, and finally she just replied: “it tastes just like it smells. You can taste anything you can smell!” And that was that until i actually bought my triple scoop and the owner made me try it first because “some people taste it and then just walk out on me.” And it tasted like… rose petals. It was flavored in that subtle way that green tea ice cream is, with the ultra-dark pastel color and the taste that slides off of your tongue while you’re trying to absorb it.
After we had walked around for a while i finally got used to the idea of everything being real, but i still can’t figure it out. It feels like it should be some tiny historical town tucked into Massachusetts because i always forget that Philadelphia is the exception to the rule of Pennsylvania and not the other way around. Everything in New Hope was vivid… all the local teenagers we saw working in the shops were like caricatures of people i know… three times as many piercings or hair twice as outrageous or poise that’s so much more postured. I realize that somehow it’s their reaction to living in a sort of suspended time where all of the shops and streets stay the same and people from outside come in to gawk, but at the same time it felt like i was looking at a catalogue of teenaged stereotypes trying to find the ones that matched my own friends.
Of course, those are all just snippets… glimpses into my surreal afternoon, because i should have bought a notebook instead of the two cds i bought. Live and learn.