Thursday, January 12, 2012

No More Doubt

If you look closely, you can barely make out the colored buoys in the background.

Abraham Lincoln said it best:
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.

He was a wise, wise man.

When we travelled to Maine, we stayed in a cabin on the water. It was rustic and cozy and was tucked away in woods along a quiet inlet. In the mornings, we'd hoped to sit outside on the deck and watch the loons on the water, but the mosquitoes were nearly as large as the loons and forced us to sit inside and watch the water activity from the window. And judging by the rows of buoys in the water, there was sure to be some activity to see.

But first, we wanted to explore the town of Boothbay Harbor. So we headed back out of the woods and into town where we saw a Visitor's Center and a sign outside that read: Ask Us Anything!

Well, that was all the encouragement my husband and I needed to start being smart-alecks and thinking up absurd questions we might ask.

"Where do babies come from?" my husband practiced asking with an innocently curious expression.

"Where are my car keys?" I quipped back.

"Why is the sky blue?"
"How much does a bridge weigh?"
"Whatever happened to Baby Jane?"

We cracked ourselves up for at least half an hour. Then we finally pulled into the Visitor's Center and double-dog dared each other to ask one of the questions.

Grinning like idiots, we walked through the door and the two nice women working behind the counter greeted us. We lost our nerve and merely said hello, then wandered over to browse through the brochure rack. They approached us and asked how long we were visiting and offered a few suggestions of things we might see. Then they opened the field and asked us if we had any questions. I actually did.

"Yes. I saw some rows of buoys marking lanes in the water behind our cabin. Is there going to be some kind of race tomorrow?" (It was July 3rd.)

"Racing lanes?"

"Well, that's what it looked like. It looks like there are lanes marked off all down the water."

"Where are you staying?"

We tried to describe where our cabin was. The two women tried to figure out what water I was talking about. We both kept pointing in different directions toward where we thought the cabin might be. They were stumped. They hadn't heard anything about a race, but started to flip through a newspaper and some other materials to try to get an answer for me.

Bless their hearts. They welcomed us to stop back later and promised that they would continue to do some research and try to find out when the race would be. Unfortunately, we spent the whole day up the coast and didn't get back to Boothbay Harbor until after they'd closed.

The next morning we sipped our coffee and gazed out the window, excited to see some boats chugging up the inlet. Maybe we'd lucked out and were about to see the race! We watched in anticipation as three or four boats slowly traversed toward us, slowing and stopping along the way. Then suddenly, one was in front of us! The men aboard pulled up alongside a buoy, pulled it out of the water along with the cage attached to the rope on the bottom, and dumped a lobster into the boat before dropping the cage, rope and buoy back into the water and moving on to the next buoy in line.

They weren't racing lines at all! They were just buoys in the water marking lobster cages. We laughed our heads off at what idiots we were.

We debated all morning whether we should stop back at the Visitor Center and tell the women that we'd found the answer to the puzzle. We felt like the biggest fools in the world. Finally, we decided we had to. They'd been so nice. So we joked again along the way:

"What's that giant tower in the middle of Paris?"

"How much ham is in hamburger?"

"Who's in the tomb of the unknown soldier?"

Then we pulled into the parking lot and double-dog dared each other on who was going to admit how stupid we'd been.

I lost.


  1. It is so funny how things we take for granted are so strange to others from away. I know lobster buoys by heart, but we have had visitors from elsewhere who didn't. They also wanted to know why we had tall reflectors sticking off the top of fire hydrants. It never occurred to them that hydrants would get covered in snow in the winter because they don't get snow.

  2. Oh, I am so glad we didn't see the reflectors. God only knows how we might have embarrassed ourselves over that!