In one of Italo Calvino’s last lectures before his death, on the idea of quickness and time in literature, he states that he does not want to wander aimlessly, instead entrusting himself “to the straight line, in the hope that the line will continue into infinity,” and making himself unreachable. He then states that he is not opposed to meandering writing, but that he holds himself to a personal motto: “hurry slowly.”
What I’m trying to say here is that Raffy would be a big fan of Calvino, if he could read.
Amy, Raffy, and I traveled down south to Durham, North Carolina at the start of the new year — fresh off of our 72-hour New Year’s weekend full of all nighters getting the new website and all of our revamped product listings up and ready to go. We left early enough to be able to see the sun rise over New York City and spend the rest of our daylight hours traveling down the mess that is the mid-Atlantic highway system (folks, it’s okay to use your blinkers).
When we finally got into Durham, we were beat, and we decided that for just that night we’d order some food and eat in our hotel room. So we got some delicious Camote Chimichurri and slow-cooked chicken and beef from Luna Rotisserie & Empanadas down the street from us. It wasn’t the fanciest meal we’ve ever shared on our trips, but (we thought as we ate over our spare towel from the bathroom) that’s okay, because we’ll have four more nights to be able to walk around downtown Durham and eat at all of the restaurants we diligently planned on eating at before we’d even unpacked our bags.
And that was the plan — Amy would attend her Mastermind workshops during the day (the main reason we were down in Durham), while Raffy and I would spend that time in the hotel room, taking a little reading and writing retreat — where I'd read Calvino and Raffy would sleep next to me — and then in the evenings, Amy and I would walk to a restaurant, eat, relax, and enjoy our time away from the cold Northeast that was preparing for its first real snowstorm of the winter.
All was well and good, until North Carolina decided to bring us its own bad weather.
Amy didn’t have anything scheduled until the evening of our first full day in Durham, so we thought it'd be nice to walk around and explore the city a bit. Instead, our first day in the city was full of rain. So. Much. Rain. We did venture out briefly, but Raffy was not a fan —and neither was Amy (big changes in barometric pressure tend to result in her getting bad vertigo or migraines).
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And so, night two of Durham involved eating Indian food on our bed. Again, not what we planned, but it was some of the best curry we’ve had anywhere we’ve lived, and we still had three days left in the city. However, we neglected to understand how drained Amy would be by the end of each day — full of socializing, analyzing the business, thinking about the future of the business, determining what changes to make for that future of the business based on analysis of the business’s past. We ultimately ate all of our meals in our hotel room, always over the same spare towel from the bathroom.
A note from Amy: I’d like to make it clear that we weren’t eating IN the bathroom — we just got the towel from the bathroom, because that’s where you keep that kind of thing. We spread that towel over the bedspread like a tablecloth (or the world’s saddest picnic) like any totally normal adult couple would do. Also, yes, our hotel room did have a table. But it was round, and only came with bench seating that was too wide for one person but not quite wide enough for two… listen, we did what we thought made the most sense at the time.
Anyways, the remainder of our time in Durham ultimately fell into this same schedule — and so, our trip to Durham turned out to be one of hurrying slowly. Before we left New Hampshire, I told Amy, “let’s just take our time getting down there and not try to rush.” This was followed by me driving the entire twelve hours down to North Carolina, not wanting to lose time stopping somewhere to trade with Amy.
We should have known.
Philosopher Henri Bergson is most well-known for his writing on time, in which he states that we live with two different states of time: objective time, the hours and minutes and seconds we see when we check a clock, our watch, or our phone, and “lived” time, the time that we feel. “Lived” time and objective time differ in this way: an hour spent reading in your hotel room will feel different than an hour walking your dog around the downtown of a city you’ve never visited before, though each hour is the same objective amount of time.
All of this to say that I spent a lot of time inside our hotel room (and did a lot of reading about time while I was there). I also snacked on pastries, drank a lot of coffee, and hung out with Raffy, although he was more interested in napping as much as possible. (This did not help my already crumbling sense of time during our stay.)
This is also to say that I spent a lot of time walking Raffy around Durham when it wasn’t pouring rain (and a few times when it was). Things that we saw on our strolls include (but are not limited to):
- Durham Bulls Athletic Park (NOTE: despite my love of baseball and baseball movies, I have never seen Bull Durham because I find Kevin Costner to be an unbelievable actor… except for Field of Dreams, but that’s more because of James Earl Jones’ magnetism);
- The Lucky Strike Tower across the street from the field (which reminds me that I really should rewatch Mad Men;
- The spot in the park, next to the field, where Raffy peed on day one and spent days two through four sniffing intensely because we’re pretty sure he doesn’t know his own scent;
- So many paintings and sculptures of bulls;
- Ninth Street Bakery, which had some of the flakiest dough I’ve ever had in a cinnamon roll, along with lots of other delicious pastries;
- A lot of old brick buildings renovated into sleek shops, bars, and restaurants.
Then there were the highlights of this trip. There are two of them and they deserve to be how we end this blog post.
- Chicken Bee — Of all of the food that we ate in our hotel room during our week in Durham, Chicken Bee was the best. Was it just fried chicken covered in sticky, sugary, spicy sauces with fried zucchini fries? Yes. Was it delicious? Yes. DId we feel bad about ourselves for eating all of it? Yes. Did that stop us from eating from there twice in three days? No.
- EverLou Coffee — A cute dog-friendly coffee shop that I took Raffy to for the last three days of our trip, getting myself an iced coffee and Raffy a pup cup each time. The shop is small but the staff is super friendly — so friendly that even Raffy was on his best behavior.
Also, special shoutout to one of our stockists,Honeypress! We planned to stop in on the last day of our trip (the only unscheduled time we had), but North Carolina had other plans in the form of non-stop rain, crazy wind, both flood and tornado warnings, and ultimately, an executive order from the governor that everyone had to be home by 3pm. But it’s an adorable shop, and Karina is wonderful to work with, so we’re giving it a special spot on our highlights list.