Thursday, September 2, 2010

GRE followed by unexpected romantic getaway

Well, I finally took the GRE yesterday. 

I have been thinking about this test since last summer and I was happy to get it over with and cross it off my list of things to do.

Every person I have asked about the GRE has refused to reveal their scores, which to me is a little ridiculous.  It's like lying about your age.  Who gives a shit, really?  So, lucky reader, I will tell you my GRE scores: 600 on the verbal section and a 610 on the quantitative.  Meaning, my verbal abilities are in the 84th percentile and my math "abilities" are in the 46th percentile.  I wasn't surprised, because it's been the same story for every single generalized, universal test I have taken since my first Iowa Basics test in first grade.  My language scores are always above average, my math scores are always embarrassing.  But I can't say I really care that much.

Anyway, after I finished wrestling with this 3 and 1/2-hour monster of a test, I called Stevie to get cheese curds for lunch and to give him his birthday cake.  I had planned to spend the evening working on my research, but when Stevie showed up, he announced, "Let's be spontaneous!  Let's take a spontaneous road trip!  I'm going to kidnap you." 

"Don't you teach today?" I asked.

"I canceled," he said, grinning.

"You what?  Why?"

"Because I went a whole day and night without seeing you, and it was terrible."

We decided to go to Door County via the 3-hour scenic route.  We took no luggage--only his birthday cake, a road atlas, and a small toiletry kit.  On the way there we stopped in Manitowoc to view Lake Michigan.  Stevie, being his eccentric, vivacious, windows-down, bare-footed, hippie, music-professor self, quickly proceeded to tear his clothes off and dance around in the freezing surf completely naked.  At first I was mortified, but then I couldn't stop laughing and admiring his wild abandon, his joie de vivre. 

We managed to make it to the very tip of the Door Peninsula just after sundown.  As most Wisconsinites know, the natural beauty of the area is simply breathtaking.  There are no Wal-Marts or Targets north of Sturgeon Bay, so nestled in between the area's thick forests and rocky bluffs are the most adorable little cottages and motels and shops.  Even the grocery stores and gas stations are cute, tiny little mom-and-pop operations:

And from nearly every point, the lovely lakes and bays beckon like Sirens.  It was a visual feast from which I walked away hungry for more:

Once true night arrived, it was dark enough to see the Milky Way, the real night sky, the one that is overcrowded with zillions and zillions of stars competing for our attention.  In the city where I live, I can only see one or two starts at night, so this was a real treat for me.  We marveled at the waves crashing on the breakwaters across from Washington Island, and kicked up pebbles and broken shells as we ran alongside scraggly beach grasses.  We drove through the wooded silence with the windows down.  I leaned out and let the wind whip and twirl my hair, lifting my arms over my head to wave at the lush flora flashing in our headlights.  Cool, almost-autumn air swelled through my lungs.  As Stevie and I later held each other on a quiet dock, in this giant gazebo of jewels, I wondered how anyone could ever do anything bad ever again after seeing such a sight.  I am such a sucker for landscapes!  I have always wanted to go to Door County, and now that I have, I declare it one of the most gorgeous, inspiring landscapes I have ever seen in all my travels.

And if that weren't enough, I discovered that Stevie is the ideal travel companion.  He is funny, upbeat, adventurous, and a good conversationalist.  We got pizza from a pub and stayed in a little roadside motel, where we cut his birthday cake with his replica Elvis drivers license.  We ate it with our fingers, laughing at what the motel people would think of the multi-colored frosting that ended up smudged all over the sheets and towels.  He refused to let me open any door or pay for a single thing.  He also asked me to "go steady."

"What does that really even mean?" I said.

"It's the next step from being engaged," he replied.  He apparently wants me to wear something, like a pin or a ring or a necklace, to show that we're together.  How fun and old school is that??  Throughout the trip we discussed politics, relationships, family history, and the rap industry, among other things.  "The more I get to know you," he exclaimed, "the more I fall in love with you--more than I already am!"

Happy Birthday, Stevie!  This was truly the most happy, perfect, beautiful, romantic trip I have ever taken, and I was sad to return home this morning.