@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
The Taste of You & Insect Genocide
This is a strange thing to admit to, though I suppose I’ve revealed more bizarre things about myself. Sometimes when I’m in my car after a surf session, hair a curly mess, salt dried on sun kissed skin, Ray Bans on, music loud, I coast down Ocean Parkway and I lick my arm because I like the taste of the salt water on my skin. Even as I write this it sounds weirder to me on paper and probably a strange thing to cop to. You might be thinking, “so she licks her arm like a cat?” Yes. Yes, that is what I do. Look it’s not hurting anyone, stop judging me (judge away). And I’ve been doing this for years. For some reason I just love the smell of salt water dried on my skin and I like the taste of it too. Is it weird to lick your own arm? I mean, yeah, I guess. But is it weird if a lover licks me or I lick them? Let’s stop talking about licking me before this gets weirder.
By the end of the weekend, the grill of the bumper of my car was caked with thousands of dead insects, a bloody genocide. Man, am I good at changing from weird subject to weird subject with non sequiturs. I was at my friends house doing laundry and making food when she asked if I wanted to hose down my car. “Actually,” I said, “do you have a brush and some soap?” So I then washed my car in her driveway. This was at the end of a long weekend outdoors, away from the news cycle and social media.
The bugs who nobly died on my car were there since Friday night. If you know even a little about me, you may know I’m a nerd who tracks stargazing camp sites and meteor showers. A place I’ve been trying to get to for years is a place in Pennsylvania called “Cherry Springs,” a place brought to my attention by my friend, Katrina.
“Cherry Springs State Park is nearly as remote and wild today as it was two centuries ago.
Named for the large stands of black cherry trees originally found in the area, the 82-acre state park is surrounded by the 262,000-acre Susquehannock State Forest. The Susquehannock Trail passes nearby and offers 85 miles of backpacking and hiking.
Night sky enthusiasts flock to the park for its dark skies which are famous for great views of the Milky Way, planets, and hard-to-see astronomical objects and phenomena.”
It’s about a 4.5 hour drive from home (Queens, NY). Because of it’s location, the summer months are the only months I’m willing to visit because it gets cold there (it dipped to the low 40s the night we’d be there). Additionally, because of it’s altitude, it’s cloudy there most of the time. So I’ve been tracking weather and sky conditions there for years to go during an optimal time and had yet to visit.
Well, just this past weekend Katrina texted me, “Clear skies in Coudersport,”(the county it’s in) and since I’m not longer a comedian till further notice I said “fuck yes, let’s go.” Within 24 hours of this decision, we were off Friday evening for the long drive. It didn’t feel long because we had good company, good music, good snacks, beautiful scenery. Also, I’m a beast when it comes to long drives. A road comic doesn’t die even without stage time.
As we got up the mountain, our cell service dipped in and out. The “road to the stars” twisted and turned and despite being pitch black, the only thing that actually worried me were the deer on the side of the road. We pulled into the parking lot at 11pm. It does take your eye balls some time to adjust but immediately exiting the car, I got a second wind of energy. “Holy fucking shit, would you look at that.” The only time I’ve seen the night sky with so many stars close to this was when I was in Hawaii.
There were other star gazers there, we were not alone, which we decided was both kind of annoying and also comforting at the same time. We found a place in the field, wrapped ourselves in blankets and looked to the heavens as I played some classical music. Within a minute of laying down I saw a shooting star. Once your eyes adjust, you have a full view of the Milky Way across the sky, sparkling with emeralds and violets. We saw another meteor. Then another. Then another. We saw so many I stopped counting. If you were there during a meteor shower it would be non stop. I couldn’t believe how many shooting starts streaked across the sky with giant blazing shimmering tails. It was magical. It was divine. For the first time in a long time I teared up at something purely beautiful than something tragic.
[It legitimately looks like this.]
Katrina fell asleep because she has normal sleep cycles while my insomnia wouldn’t allow me rest. So when the nautical twilight dawned (around 4:25am), I started the drive back. So yes. We drove near 5 hours to stay about 4 hours and then left and no I didn’t sleep because I’m a psycho (remember the part where I like to lick my own arm being the weird part?).
Back home around 9:30am, I finally caught some Zzzz’s, woke up starving to death around noon, ordered in some food, which I debated skipping because I was still so tired, but upon podcasting with my writing partner that week, he scolded me for getting too skinny and it was almost sweet because if you knew Nick Griffin, you’d know he shows little emotion, so I was like, “aw, you really do care, Nick, you really do.” So I ordered some lunch in and passed out after eating it again, before waking up and driving to Long Island to a friends house where I kayaked and then we drank around a fire for the evening. Yes, I’ll acknowledge my privilege here but I’m also not going to apologize that I’m friends with really generous people who tell me to use their unused kayaks whenever I please because they’re happy someone is using them.
Sunday, I’d take a lift on a friends jetski out to Cherry Grove, the notorious gay town on Fire Island where shenanigans continued. My whole life I’ve been best friends with straight guys though in all honesty I think I’ve learned more about men via gay guys and lesbians. It’s a thirsty town where sins of the flesh are thinly veiled, a strange sexual frustration holding many back in fear of COVID still, but it’s a scene ready to explode (pun not intended but also true).
Blisters on my thumbs from joy riding the jet ski dried up in the sun as I kicked back a drink, a woman was passing a joint around saying, “my husband is Czechoslovakian and he is literally the fucking worst.” I’d later find out she was in a polyamorous relationship, with a husband, a boyfriend and a girlfriend and they all knew about each other. So how bad could the husband possibly be? My fascination with polyamorous couples continues to grow. Are these people insane or is this the actual future of dating?
There’s not a cloud in the sky and my skin is growing tanner and I know that if I licked my arm it would taste good and I’m sure all the women there were thinking the same thing. All the men on that rooftop were gay but one of them said if they were straight they would eat me out. “Thanks,” I said. The Great South bay was a blue green and mostly clear. When I jumped in I could see my hand in front of me swimming seven feet down. A feeling stirred inside me that almost felt strange—it was happiness, wasn’t it? Unbridled joy. I cracked jokes and bopped to music. Oh how we laughed and laughed.
“Do you know why we’re here, together?” This gay guy asked me, who was treating me like a sister, feeding me, refilling my drink, offering me a place to stay. “I don’t know, cause we’re all sexually kinky and we know people who have boats and have mild addiction problems?”
“We’re all here together because we have the same energy. We have adventurous hearts.”
He nailed it. He would have told you he’d rather be nailing a dude, but that was the truth. We definitely all were free spirits and independent thinkers.
It was the happiest I’d been in months. I felt like… well… I felt like Lori Palminteri. Whatever the fuck that even means. The week arrived and I returned to social media which is a toxic swamp but actually a real toxic swamp is more pleasant because it doesn’t make any noise. And if there is anything to take away from this tale it’s to tune out and go be with people who make you smile.
Go outside and get dirty. Stay weird, my friends.