On the 5th, we drove deep into the Adirondacks, sweeping through dense forests all the way to Saranac Lake from Canton via the research stop in Edwards. It was dark when we arrived at Gauthiers Saranac Lake Inn on the east edge of town, just off Highway 86 that leads to upscale Lake Placid 10 miles away.
Gauthiers, I soon discovered, was not thoroughly ready for the 21st Century. It’s great for anglers and paddlers. Not so great for writers with laptops.
Our room, No. 53, was adequate, I will say that much. Two queen beds, a small bathroom with shower and plenty of hot water, a small vanity area, an older model TV, two chairs, a chest of drawers and a cranky heater. And the grounds were kept quite nice there at the edge of the lake. I particularly liked the Adirondack Chair by the office that was decked out in red, white and blue. But it certainly wasn’t the Ritz. Nor, for that matter, the lovely White Pillars B&B of the previous night.
And, yes, there was Internet service. Slow, but service none the same. What was missing was something you seldom think about when making lodging reservations. My laptop needed a desk or table. Something that I could spread out my mouse pad, notes, computer and a lamp. Alas, the room had only two small tables. And one had no electrical outlet for a three-prong plug-in.
In the two days that followed at Gauthiers, I did write with the laptop. But with reluctance. Usually it rested on my quads while stretching out my legs in bed. I tried it on the bed itself once but the bounciness drove me nuts. Each time I tried was like pulling teeth. Using the touch pad was tricky. Sometimes the computer was so wobbly, I could not drop the cursor where I wanted and all sorts of crazy stuff came up on my screen. It was like writing with a stutter, nothing went smooth. In short, it was writing hell.
To make matters worse, the room had no coffee-maker. You had to walk 50 yards to the motel office and walk back to the room. On a few cold mornings, the coffee was cool by time I reached our room.
During this time, I told Nebra, everything I wrote stunk. I sulked and, despite a token effort not to bitch, I bitched a lot.
A few weeks ago, I wrote this. To write well, you have to be in sync with your pen or typewriter or computer. The lack of a table or desk prevented that. At least for me with my desire for a fast keyboard.
As my temper grew short, I remembered what has become a favorite quote of mine from D. H. Lawrence’s “Sea and Sardinia.” D. H. and wife Frieda left Sicily to travel north to the island of Sardinia for adventure. Things were tough on the island. And at one point, Frieda grew fed up with her husband’s carping. This is how I remember her response.
“Get over it, Lawrence,” she said, “It’s life!”
And so it is. And so it was at Gauthiers. That quote never fails to make me feel better.