Around the middle of the closing decade of the last century, I was planning my honeymoon. I was living in Portland, Oregon, at the time; and looking through the ads at the back of a local hunting and fishing magazine, I came across one for cabins at a lakeside lodge. The prices were very reasonable, so I made my booking. When my confirmation letter and brochure arrived, the photographs of the lake and surrounding woodlands were lovely. Quite pleased with myself, I crossed honeymoon off my list and relaxed: a little.
After the wedding we headed south and then east into Central Oregon, looking for A Certain Lodge by a Lake. It was where the map said it would be (and the sign had its proper name on it). The lodge and the jetty and the lake looked very appealing in a nostalgic, rustic, sort of way: definitely more plaid flannel and wood trimmed station wagon than Gore-Tex and SUV. We booked in, got our key, and were given directions to our cabin.
When I saw the place, I really hoped that the excitement of the occasion had the sectional density to punch through our disappointment at the scene before us. Rustic wasn’t an adjective, it was a euphemism. I had envisaged a rectangular log cabin, with a front porch, and perhaps a loft bedroom: you know, like the built-up kits which one finds outside of Cabela’s. Instead, the dwelling before us was an A-frame, with a lean-to at the back, and a front entrance which looked to all the world like an outhouse (the only thing missing was the crescent moon in the door).
Inside, it was like being in an attic with no house underneath it. There was a place to sit and eat. There was a length of countertop which even the most brazen of realtors might hesitate to call a kitchenette. The bathroom had to be approached with care: backwards. As far as the shower was concerned, an ability to genuflect or curtsy might have helped; however, being neither a priest nor a debutante, I left some DNA on the rakishly angled ceiling.
I had booked a cabin for two. The bedroom (the lean-to at the back) was for two in the same way as a tent is a two-person tent. It was obvious that no one had tried to swing the clichéd feline in it because there wasn’t a border of cat brain on the walls. The furniture was that casual mix which says junk shop. There was a chest of drawers in the room, but only the top two could be used as they were the only ones which could be opened over the bed. The word which comes to mind to describe the bed, or rather the mattress, is topographical: a landscape of peaks and valleys, rocks and hollows. In the July heat, the room was filled with the scent of wood: hot, humid, and freshly chewed. We sensed that we were not alone. However, bashfulness in the presence of unseen insects is to take modesty too far; so, I removed my brand new, going away outfit, Stetson and unpacked.
After having gotten settled in, we went for a walk down to the lake. We didn’t stay long for every mosquito in the place came to wish us well on our new life together. Striding back up the hill to the cabin, we approached our car from the front for the first time. Taped to the door mirrors were the knotted ends of burst balloons. Discovering that we had left such tell-tale signs of newly married bliss was actually more devastating than the knowledge that we would be spending our honeymoon in what we would later, much later, call the Outhouse of Desire.