Friday, May 4, 2012

Slowing Down to Smell 95

The honeysuckle made all the difference.

Don't get me wrong; an invitation to a friend's new bay-front house for a couple of days is a treat.

With a view of the Bay Bridge and countless sailboats (37 at mid-morning and then the races began around 4:00) dotting the water, it's a captivating place to spend time.

She even took me out to dinner at her local wine bar, Grapes, where I met the neighborhood butcher, Mike and ate his veal (sliders, that is).

An onion tart and side salad reminded me of Bistro Bobette and the grouper (fresh caught hours before it hit my plate, according to the chef, Vickie) with buerre blanc and mango/black bean salsa was as fresh-tasting and flavorful as fish at Pescado's.

Friend's choice of shrimp and orcchiette in garlic cream sauce would never have been mine, but I had to agree with the chef that it's the perfect pasta for cupping sauce and absolutely lovely with Chateau de L'Aulee Cremant de Loire.

Dinner conversation revolved first around meat (an eating butcher is a happy butcher who wants to talk beef) and new developments in my friend's dating life.

What do you do when your boyfriend says exactly what you want to hear?

Besides freak out, which is what she'd done and what she wanted to discuss.

That kind of girl talk requires dessert and we went with chocolate gateaux with a thick layer of ganache on top to settle her down.

And, yes, we went back to her place for more bubbles and bay sounds.

But when it's time to leave Annapolis and make my way back to a place better suited to me, the sad fact is I have to get on soul-sucking I-95.

And that's after I have to get on soul-sucking Route 50, a road I used to know by heart from endless trips to the beach in my Maryland youth.

But that was before it was eight lanes and 70 mph and not a two-lane blacktop to sun and fun.

Even when there's no road construction, I find 95 soulless and depressing.

With endless delays, like today, it can be insufferable.


Early on in the northern Virginia back-up, as I sat in my barely-moving car with all the windows down and Pinback blaring, I smelled the unmistakable scent of something wonderful.

Honeysuckle was nearby.

I turned down the music to smell it better.

If the day ever comes where smelling honeysuckle doesn't make everything at least a little bit better, just shoot me.

Fact: I can't care about stopped traffic or rude drivers or even being late for my lunch date when I'm surrounded by the scent of hot, sweet summer.

It may be the first time that I-95 restored rather than stole from my soul.

And I'd never have experienced it without a construction delay.

Thank you, VDOT. You made my day.


  1. "i turned down the music to smell it better"???

  2. Sadly, I am one of those people who can concentrate on little else when music I like is playing.

    So, yes, I turned down the music so I could devote myself to smelling the honeysuckle.

    Fear not, once speed resumed, so did volume.

  3. THAT'S CAUSE...'Skeeter's am a hummin on the honeysuckle vine....IN MAY !