I had to take the car to the car dealer today - no biggie, they just have to redo properly something they halfassed - and I took the day off because the car dealer is almost an hour away, near the shore. They gave me a comp car and I took it up to Red Bank and did something I never do.
I wandered aimlessly.
The thing about life in these parts is I always feel that I only go places to buy things. There's not enough THERE there or something, no central non commercial anything, which is part true and part me. But today I wandered through the fun kind of antique shop - not the ones where they frown at you, but the ones with a dozen different vendor booths and a high/low mix of semi antique furniture and mid century costume jewelry and lamps and old toys.
I saw a glass and decanter set I would have gotten for someone as a wedding gift if the grammar had been better (each piece was engraved: "me" "you" "ours" and it should OBVIOUSLY have been "yours" "mine" & "ours" OR "you" "me" & "us") and a pair of amazing tall iron beds that I would have liked to put in a guest room at a beach house somewhere. This must be the good bit about being an interior decorator, the thrill of the hunt without the burden of acquisition, plus someone else pays.
My mother's an indefatigable junk hunter and collector and I haven't voluntarily been in such a place in a long time, from lifetime junktique fatigue. But it was fun to have no plan and just look and imagine and then discover right around the corner an upgraded pizza place with a decent gluten free crust and no lunch rush to speak of so they were happy to let me read in my booth for an hour.
Did I mention it was the most glorious of late summer days, with a perfect blue sky with one artistic fluffy cloud painted on the horizon and the kind of breeze that just keeps brushing the heat off your skin? I drove around after, until google maps showed me a green patch and I found a park - my second park, in fact. The first one was right on the river but had no trees to speak of and it was a shady kind of afternoon. The second park had children playing some kind of sport and a little corner with two maple trees and a pond just far enough away from the fields that the sound of shouts and whistles melded with the cicadas into a sort of background hum of summer. Oh, and there was a pond, with ornamental grass for the breeze to rustle.
I sat down to read but it was so perfect and I was so full of pizza that I used my handbag as a pillow and stretched out with my book and pretended to read while I drifted in and out of sleep for an hour with all the noise of the park lapping around my brain. I can't even tell you how deliciously transgressive it felt to sleep in public or how humane was the pleasure of having my bare feet in dirt and grass. Even the three ant bites I am sporting now have a charm to them.