I love it when you are travelling and you get the chance to get go to two cities or states or countries in one day. You know, “Let’s go to Milwaukee for cheese curds!” Or “Portland is close enough for a day trip!” or “Let’s go to Monaco for a drink.” You know how you are.
I was visiting my sister in Boston and we decided to go to Rhode Island because we like to say“RhodesIiiiisland” like it’s one word and we’d been boozing since mimosas. Which isn’t true, obviously, everyone knows it’s two words. Also, it’s just a two-hour drive. That barely qualifies as a road trip, but I brought along some Pringles to make it official.
You know, for the smallest state in the Union, Rhode Island sure has a lot of space. First, the Atlantic Ocean is huge. I’m from Chicago. Lake Michigan isn’t an Ok Lake or a Good Lake. It’s a Great Lake. I’m used to not being able to see the other side of a body of water.
But the Atlantic is huge and salty and cold-blue and wide-eyed windy. I did some cartwheels on the beach because I could and then we went for lobster rolls, because we were in Newport. I was wriggling at being so close to what I knew would be deliciosity I almost needed a straw for my wine. Suddenly, the server. And I look down to find a small hot dog bun stuffed with a rather over-mayonnaised lobster salad, lonely and frightened on a big white expanse of plate set before me. I looked sadly at my sister who just shook her head and pushed my wine closer.
It’s a good thing we had wine with lunch, because we were on our way to apply for jobs at the Astor Mansion and if a tipsy enthusiast doesn’t make a good impression on a robber baron then I don't know what does.
Ok, so it was one of those “living history” tours with actors in period costume and we paid to pretend like we were applying for jobs there. This sounds weird but it’s not. It was 1891 and we learned things.
For example, I learned that a lady who walks on the left “is no lady at all” which I now use to describe certain persons who displease me. I just say, “She walks on the left.” I have manners. I talk about people I barely know behind their backs, not in front of them. That's rude.
I learned that The Mrs. Astor founded something called the “Four Hundred” which is not unlike “300” in that there are less than 500 people in one small area who consider themselves elite and therefore better than everyone else. I still am not sure where the sandals come in, if they do.
So I totally pretended like I really was applying for a job there. Why wouldn’t you? It’s a big, giant house with huge gardens that overlook the ocean. Who wouldn’t want to live there?! But then I learned that all 5,498 windows were cleaned with newspaper (do what?) and decided the life of a maid was not for me. Imagine how many newspapers I’d have to read in order to clean all those windows. I don't read the newspaper. Not even for windows.