Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Photo A Day #83 There Once Was a Man From Nantucket
Welcome to Nantucket! I was really, really looking forward to seeing Nantucket, with it's shingled houses and cobbled streets. That part was great. The rest was a bit of a learning experience. My first impression was not great, as we stepped off the boat into a resort wear theme park. We decided to wander around and see where our feet took us and try and get a better feel for the island. Oh, and we needed a laundromat. Badly. I may or may not have dirty clothes in that bag in the picture below...
This is me being a horse :) I loved all the old fashioned horse... tethers(?) Really quaint. And of course, the houses were amazing (and expensive!!) When we finally found the laundromat, we met a guy there who lived on the island and was currently unemployed. He had served in Iraq and it appeared he was living in his car, with his dog. The dog had the whole backseat. He'd picked the dog up off the side of a freeway in Florida after it had been thrown from a car moving at speed. The poor thing had been a fighting dog and was covered in scars from fighting, as well as road rash. But she was a sweetie. She only bit people who tried to pet her through the car when he wasn't there! He drove us around for a bit and took us to Nantucket's only dive bar. But he couldn't come in for personal reasons, something to do with the Amazonian lady bartender ;) He was generous and kind and very sad and damaged. It was quite confronting as all we had witnessed before that moment was immense wealth and materialism. It was strange to encounter him in this environment.
I love scrimshaw, it is so detailed and must take so much skill and patience! We visited the whaling museum and there was displays of some amazing scrimshaw. It was difficult to photograph as it was inside glass cabinets in low lighting, so I apologise for the blurriness. My favorites were the amateur scrimshaw artists, who were just sailors trying to express their thoughts to their sweethearts back home, and who had no special artistic skill. I love the naivete of their art, it's really sweet.
We saw the below sculptures in a scrimshaw shop which sold both modern and antique works. I really wanted to bring some home, but unfortunately it cannot be imported into Australia, except for the mammoth bone as it is prehistoric. So I settled with a pendant engraved with a clipper ship for my sister.
After our first meeting with the Marine we were painfully aware (even more so than before) of how much some people have and how little others do. This is extremely apparent in a place like Nantucket where the wealthy come for summer. Whilst at dinner, we were sat at a table next to a lady who was obviously well-off, she was very, very well groomed, with bundles of gold and diamonds, and a mandatory fluffy little dog. I hate to say I was thinking that she was a stereotype and wrote her off before speaking with her. Somehow we got talking, she was from Florida and in Nantucket for 3 months holiday. She was very wealthy but she was not happy. She told us about her long walks on the beach of a morning so that she could practice yoga and talk to the seals. She was not American and she felt out of place in Florida and self conscious that she did not fit in. She felt that the seals came on the beach each morning to comfort her feelings of sadness and loneliness. She seemed like a very genuine person, and I felt so incredibly bad for judging her. People say it all the time, but material wealth does not buy you happiness. It was so interesting to have close interaction with both sides of the coin in one day. It made me remember that happiness comes from within.