Thursday, August 06, 2009

Special Promotion: The Lake

When I was a kid I was fortunate enough to vacation in the place that I am fortunate enough to live now. Yes, I was one of them. This month, as we cruise through the height of the summer tourism season, I am looking back at the places I remember from back then through my eyes today.

Everything looks bigger when you are a child. That's a fact. I am not sure if it is because you are that much smaller, unless of course you are some sort of sick freak who grows to their adult size when they are like four and then gets smaller as you get older, in which case some very nice doctors at Johns Hopkins University would like to speak with you, or if it is because when you are an adult you have such a wider array of non-parental-unit-influenced choices, but the truth is that as a child everything is bigger. So you could imagine how confused I was when I got to The Lake that I always used to vacation on as a kid and it turned out to be pretty small as far as lakes go.
The more bewildering thing I think was that the gigantic and foreboding lake of youth, the next lake over, was still not all that big. When I was a kid, standing on the grass at the edge of the water in the resort and staring across the lake at the far shore, it seemed so far away. It always seemed to be shrouded in mist, and much less meticulously kept than the shore on which I was standing. On a tube being towed by a speedboat it seemed like I got there in a split second, yet in a rowboat it was forever away and twice that far to get back. To the right, just past the other resort where they ring an annoying dinner bell, there is a channel that leads out into another lake, and when you are a kid it might as well be a channel through a canyon into the great never ending beyond where there are dinosaurs and whatnot.
As an adult, it is a pretty normal, average lake. Boat launch. Mix of resorts that have been turned into condos, private homes, and undeveloped lakeshore. It's not that big, it's about normal sized. The channel leads into a lake that is larger but not too much more exceptional. I went back and other than being able to go around the point near the boat launch, which was a rare thing when we were kids, there wasn't a whole lot special I found about it. Which is sad.
I am not sure why. I know that a lot of it is because when you are older things are much smaller and definitely less impressive, but I think there is another force at work here. It's the absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder-but-in-reverse idea. Allow me to explain: when something is suddenly no longer a part of ones life, or when something wasn't present in ones life to begin with, you really like it. So, for instance, when you are a kid growing up in the 'burbs and there isn't a lake seven blocks from your front door, or a river five blocks from your back door, you are really excited when you get a chance to be around one for a while. Then, suddenly when you live in a place surrounded by a million billion bodies of water you just aren't as impressed with them anymore. So I guess what I am saying is that the absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder-but-in-reverse idea could be called taking something for granted. I admit it. I am not proud of it, but I take the idea of having a lake nearby for granted because I ALWAYS have a lake nearby. Make sense? It happens. I would guess that you take having a Best Buy around because you ALWAYS have a Best Buy around.
Well isn't that the shit? I never really considered that maybe someday the place I held in such high esteem as a little tyke would be something whose existence I would neglect so completely. Kind of hits you like a freight train, except without all the nasty personal injury and police investigation, and it makes me feel like a dillhole; taking advantage of something that so many people yearn for, take out second mortgages for, drive hundreds of miles for. Isn't that awful? I think so. Maybe I should go swimming.

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