How I Spent My Provincetown Vacation, by Karl

I feel like a 3rd grader writing about his summer vacation since I’m just going to write about the highlights from Mike’s and my little weekend getaway.

We both over-packed because the forecast was so freakish. We picked up our little yellow Mini-Cooper on Thursday afternoon under bright and sunny skies and temperatures approaching 70. But we knew that by Sunday it was supposed to be in the upper 40’s, windy and rainy. Needless to say, our backs were suffering from all that we were carrying by the time we got to the ZipCar in Brookline.

Although a comfortable ride, the Mini-Cooper had no back seat area (despite there being two seats wedged in there). With the 4 inch by 6 inch trunk filled to capacy with a stick of bubble gum, we filled up the “back seat” with our remaining luggage.

The drive to the Cape went well and we arrived at my parents place just before 6PM. After some quick introductions we hopped into my parents’ car (because we couldn’t all fit into our rental) and gave Mike the scenic tour of Osterville before having dinner at Wimpy’s (where I worked as a dishwasher/busboy when I was twelve).

As always, we finished off the evening with some Rummy. Mike won…but by default. As he was in the lead, he feigned exhaustion so everybody went to bed shortly after 10PM. Of course, despite his “exhaustion, he remained awake until after midnight so he could watch the Daily Show and Colbert Report.

The next morning, my Mom went off to college (I love that) and Mike, Dad and I ate at Percy’s….a local restaurant claiming to have the largest breakfast menu in New England. But that’s not hard to do when you list each item individually: for example, you can get pancakes, pancakes with blueberries, pancakes with strawberries, pancakes with blueberries and strawberries, pancakes with chocolate chips, pancakes with bananas, pancakes with bananas and chocolate chips, pancakes with bananas and strawberries, pancakes with bananas, strawberries and blueberries, pancakes with chocolates chips and blueberries, pancakes with chocolate chips, bananas and strawberries, etc… Get the picture? Each combination is listed individually on the menu. Now imagine that they do that exact same thing with the short stack and then the tall stack. Same goes for their omelettes, french toast and anything else you can imagine.

But the food was decent and we headed back home, dropped off dear old Dad (who, during breakfast, shared his youthful horror stories of excessive drinking and drunken church attending), and then began the drive to Ptown – with the windows down and the sun roof open.

We arrived in Ptown and dropped off our luggage at the guest house. Nobody was there so Mike just walked in and unloaded our stuff in the room. We parked the car at Heath’s house before walking back to the inn to find a human.

The guest house is called Moffett House and is technically located on Commercial Street…at least, that’s the street address. The actual building is located on one of those quirky little “ways” off the main streets. Essentially, it was a 200+ year old weathered-shingle house located in the middle of the block. There is no driveway or automobile access – you just have to walk down this narrow path between other houses. Quite charming.

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We finally met people managing the property for the owner (who is in San Francisco). These folks are what we call townies. And they were as authentic as you can get. You don’t get to observe much of the townie culture in the summer months because their tiny population of 3,000 is dwarfed by the 60,000 tourists. But off season, you really get to know them.

And what a fascinating bunch. Our hosts were A.J. (a lesbian house painter), Chuck (a rough-looking construction/handyman guy with Nick Holte hair circa his drunk driving arrest) and his wife, Stephanie (who Chuck met when he went to the Everglades area of Florida looking for a bride….seriously!). They were a hoot. Within minutes we sat out in the little courtyard and they told us about her having her period that morning for the first time in 4 months (what a relief, she said) and Chuck told us about his fondness for wearing thongs and, occasionally, Stephanie’s clothes.

Now, Chuck is one of the straightest looking dudes you could ever find. A man with a history of rough-living and partying. He reminded me of the Floridian guy Meryl Streep hooks up with in Adaptation (played by Chris Cooper). In any other town, I’d fear this man. Yet in Ptown, it’s different.

Anyway, we spent the rest of the day walking and shopping and talking and eating. That night, we stumbled into the Alibi where we received a standing ovation and applause from the patrons as we walked in (I’m serious…I nearly ran out the door). Pearlene (a big bawdy drag queen) was seated at the bar by the juke box nursing a drink. Minutes later, it was time for her “show”. This was primitive in the “do it yourself” kind of way. Pearlene walked to the side of the room and re-directed the room lighting so it acted as a spotlight. She turned on a floor fan, turned on the stereo system then ran to the bathroom so she could make her grand entrance from there (despite the fact that we’d all been watching for for the past 20 minutes).

Unlike Varla Jearn Merman and Miss Richfield 1981, Pearlene is a vicious, nasty, foul-mouth drag queen in the traditional sense. The bar was nearly empty (perhaps 15 people) and she picked on almost everybody – particularly this staight New Jersey fellow named Gary who arrived mid-show with his girlfriend. I must admit, the show started off as a train-wreck (or, a trani-wreck). Her jokes were going over with minimal laughter, and this townie/crystal-meth fellow seated in front of us did some heckling (though, they appeared to know each other because he kept fixing the glittery curtain behind Pearlene and even carried around a tip jar toward the end of the show). But the show got better as Pearlene got liquored up. She was sweating so hard she even removed her wig.

Once the show ended, Mike and I walked over to the Vault for a drink or two, then eventually to the A-House. Exhausted, we retreated to our little inn just before 1AM.

Saturday was bright and sunny in the morning so we went out to Herring Cove Beach and sat/laid in the sun for a while. It was at this point that I finally started to relax.

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We then went to Race Point to watch the surf.

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Returning back to town we stopped off at Spiritus for some pizza then headed to the Governor Bradford to play some pool. (I love this picture of Mike):

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I’d never been in there before – but this time of year…and around 2PM…the place had about 20+ townies. Mike and I played a game of pool before a local lesbian named Alicia asked if she could cut in. Mike won the game with me and ended up playing with Alicia. But in the middle of the game, two of the townies at the next table (clearly FUBAR) picked a fight with each other with the F-word rolling off their tongues like simple prepositions. The bartender (nor any of the other patrons) did anything to stop the agrument. In fact – nobody seemed phased but me (and Mike…who ceased playing pool because his cue stick could have hit the angry fellows).

After pool, we both tried doing some work (Mike did real work, I did homework). We had dinner at the Lobster pot and ran into one of the local sales people we had chatted up previously. He even came over to our table at the end of his meal and chatted some more.

That night, Mike and I went back to the vault.

It all came to an end on Sunday when we drove back to Boston (by way of his parents home in the southern suburbs of Boston). Now it’s Monday, I’m exhausted – but with fond memories of a great weekend away.


  1. Comment by JC on April 24, 2006 11:13 am

    Oh, Pearlene. How I love her.

  2. Comment by karyn on April 24, 2006 12:57 pm

    Where to start, where to start…

    Ok, your dad’s drunken church going days?

    And don’t you crack on Persy’s. I love their harvest omlette, their cornbread is insanely good, and their homefries are divine. Feh.

    Chris Cooper. You better hope Chuck doesn’t read this blog; I do not know he’d take this in the complimentary manner you OBVIOUSLY intended it, hem hem.

    I laughed out loud and made Diet Pepsi come out my nose reading about Pearlene’s DIY entrance routine… too effing funny!

    And of COURSE you love that photo of Mike; it’s Mike…. with a giant phallic symbol sticking out from the generally appropriate area , surrounded by balls. Hello? (For the record, I love watching C. play pool – very sexy. Possibly for the same reasons.)

    Sorry I wasn’t around when you got here, but I’m glad you had a good ‘getaway’. Laughed my ass off through this whole post. Nice one.

  3. Comment by Karl on April 24, 2006 1:06 pm

    Glad I could make you laugh. The trip really was great…and it was so interesting. I mean, before Pearlene went on stage, the little gay bar in the gayest place on earth was playing Led Zeppelin.

    Stereotypes be damned!

  4. Comment by J.P. on April 24, 2006 1:06 pm

    Sounds like a great trip! I’ve never tried staying in a guest house in P-town, I always ended sleeping on the beach. 🙂

  5. Comment by Will on April 24, 2006 1:14 pm

    OK, I Iike the new format. Advantages: nice colors and legible type; quiet, dignified appearance; your replies are highlighted by a different color background and; MUCH faster (yea!!).

    Disadvantages: you can’t click on the pictures to enlarge them (you love the picture of Mike but I can baely see there’s a guy there); the comments don’t store personal info, so it has to be re-entered every time–or is this just with my browser?

    Cute picture of
    you on the beach–was the wind THAT strong?? 🙂

  6. Comment by Sean on April 24, 2006 9:25 pm

    Karl- it sounds like the perfect weekend- family, breakfast, pizza, pool, drag queens and a quiet relaxing time on the Cape with a great guy. I’m very jelly!!!!!

    Will’s right, it would nice to be able to enlarge the pics you post. Or am I just being wicked nosy?

  7. Comment by Dave in Chicago (2) on April 25, 2006 12:49 am

    Sounds great! Glad you got away for a change of scenery… Bigger pictures!! ;-p

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