Saturday, July 25, 2015

Son Of A… Beach

Kiss my seagull arse!
Yes, the title of this post has become quite the cliché especially in recent years. However, it seemed to be the most appropriate collection of words to convey some of the experiences from this past weekend at the shore. While I grew up going down to the New Jersey beaches, as I have gotten older they have become less and less appealing. Some people find the sand and salt air in the southern half of this communist state enjoyable and even relaxing but my experience is definitely at the opposite end of the spectrum. Obviously, heading east from my office is not normally a direction I would chose to travel but my wife and I received a generous offer to spend some time near the beach so off I went.

After a long work week I got in the car and headed over the iron river and into the communist state. Almost as soon as I crossed the halfway point over the bridge and into the dark side, the traffic came to a halt. This seems to be a regular occurrence during my rare travels into the restrictive boarders of New Jersey and would prove to be a pattern throughout our brief time east of civilization. Adding to our relaxing travels was the use of the New Jersey turn signal. As many of you know, this can come in two forms either an imaginary notification to drivers behind them or a single blink halfway through the turn. Either way, it is a marvelous way to drive. As the smell of seagull arse grew stronger, I knew that I was getting close to ending the three hour trek down to the beach.

Finally, people started leaving for the day!
With a night of sleep behind us and the morning coming to an end, we walked out to the car and back on the road to visit the places we frequented during our childhoods. While there were a few similarities to the memories that we continue to carry with us, there are also tremendous differences that we immediately noticed. In addition to the obvious overgrowth near my wife’s childhood vacation spot in Cape May, one of the houses I remember fondly in Ocean City was completely gone. It may not be practical but I guess that is one way to get rid of the streaks left by a dog dragging his butt across the carpet.

However, the one thing that each of those towns had in common was the crowds that filled the streets and sidewalks. Even during the peak times of summer, I don’t remember that many people flooding the shore points years ago. And while these were never cheap places to begin with, the few signs that we did see included a noticeable increase from those days past. I know it has been ten or twenty years since I spent any substantial amount of time there but those prices were well beyond normal inflation over time.

However, there are some things that stay the same. Most notably is the inconsiderate atmosphere that still proves pervasive during tourist season. There are too many examples to cite here but I am sure that many of you know what I am talking about… especially those who have spent time at the Jersey shore. Much of this stems from congestion and, given the increased number of people flooding the beaches, it is only going to get worse. Combine that with the entitlement that fills the air and this destinations along the coast are far from relaxing. This is probably why we were more wiped out after a few days at the shore than we were after 10 days and 2500 miles traveling throughout Virginia. I think we will continue sticking with the mountains.

That is so flat it's disturbing!