Monday, August 11, 2008

The weather is here. Wish you were beautiful.

I wrote the note one hundred times over the past week.

Dear work,

I've escaped again and this time I'm not coming back. I'm down the shore and I'm really happy here. It's just a better fit. I think I'll stay here for a while longer. Maybe another month or two. In fact, I'm thinking about somewhere like France, where everyone has off for the entire month of August. That aligns with my work ethics a bit more, I believe. I hope you understand. Lates.



But yet here I am. In case you were worried, I'm back. And I never sent my note. In fact, sitting here a mere few hours before I have to return to work after my week-long family vacation, this is one of the first times I've even thought of the office.

Every time it tried to creep its way into my mind while I was sitting on the beach or drinking a glass of wine or licking my way through a massive ice cream cone, my brain would click off, shut down, and drown out all intelligent thought with Rock You Like a Hurricane at a blinding volume.

And oh what a wonderful week it was. In case you were worried (and I know you were), the weather was spectacular every day. Which, of course, means I was on the beach every day.

And when my family and I weren't on the beach, we were usually doing this.

And when we weren't doing that, we were usually doing this.

And this is walking the boards. And by walking I mean shopping. And by shopping I mean eating.

Because we couldn't spend every night around the dining room table counting the mounting empty wine bottles ... okay we could ... okay we did. And let me tell you, growing up in a family that loves sitting around the dining room table taught little me how to put the yell in yellaphant.

But because we needed something to do after that -- and because my mom and I have this little morning sick obsession mother-daughter bond called running, which we do every morning hangover or no hangover rain or shine -- we spent a few evenings on the boards. Eating. Because we could.

And let's talk a little bit about boardwalk food. Because oh my fat it's just so good. Let's start here, at the most famous pizza place in South Jersey.

Then there's here, where the most savory salt water taffies and fudge can be found.

And of course I didn't forget the ice cream. Take your pick. I certainly did. Once or twice sixteen or fifty eight times.

Of course we did other things besides eating and drinking. Because if there's one thing my family enjoys almost as much as eating and drinking, it's playing games. And of all the family members who enjoy games, perhaps it is my dad who enjoys them the most.

In fact, it is almost always my dad who eagerly corralled us to the porch table or the living room floor to play a rowdy edition of the board game of choice. What's the difference between the regular edition and the rowdy edition, you say? A little bit of wine and a little bit of beer, I say.

And despite varying enthusiasms, there was one person who emerged victorious from the games. And that person was me. Because don't mess with me on the Scrabble board. And I eat Trivial Pursuit pie pieces as quickly as I eat real pie pieces. Which is fast. Because, you know, pie is good.

But back to the meat. The beach. And when it comes to the beach, I'm not all that interested in quiet beaches on some tropical island. I think I'd get a bit lonely without huge families sitting near me to listen to, and little kids to watch, and random children accidentally kicking sand on my towel as they run past, and strollers and beach chairs and umbrellas to walk around, and lifeguards to gawk at ensure my safety.

Give me the crowded beaches of South Jersey any day. I love getting to know my street neighbors on the beach, and recognizing the same people year after year, and watching their kids grow each season. I love bumping into people I know from home or my parents knew from their childhood.

I love waking up to seagull cries and the scrape of plastic chairs on wooden decks. I love the surrey bells, the smell of frying dough, and the soft give of the boardwalk beneath my running shoes. I love the huff of my bicycle chain as I pedal through the Gardens.

I love mornings on the same beach year after year and finding the perfect spot to park my chair. I love feeling the sun leathering tanning my skin and falling asleep with a book in my lap. I love the end of the day when the lifeguards have gone and the parents break out their coolers, when the sun isn't as strong and the screaming dies down and the crashing waves becomes the nosiest part of the beach.

I love Ocean City. See you next summer.

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