One of the things I didn’t take time to do this year on vacation, was to sit on a bench on the boardwalk in OC and take in various slices of life. It’s always entertaining and fun. We did walk the boards one night and stopped for Tony’s pizza and some shrimp jammers. But only when sitting do you have time to appreciate the diversity of people. Vacation spots bring everyone together. But I did manage to make a few observations without that sit down on the boards.
From the Mennonites eating at Happy Jacks to the multi colored multi pierced walking pieces of artwork on the boardwalk. The family with a father and mother holding the hand of each young child to the wild bachelorette party with the same tee shirts clad young ladies ready to party. The foreign workers speaking with many accents here for the summer to the waitresses and waiters that have worked in the town for decades and live local and who sometime recognize you from past visits.
Families from long distances and town that are rivals during the winter season (Pittsburg) staying next door to a family (us) from Baltimore. Security and police at many spots, all uniforms filled by what appears to be the last high school graduation class with a few exceptions. Licence plates from many states. Sitting at a restaurant having a great meal and seeing old friends seeing each other for the first time in a while.
Wall to wall people at the beach if you pick the wrong street to set up on. The wildest assortment of swim attire on the planet. The sun bouncing off so many-colored beach umbrellas that it must look like a rainbow on the ground from space. The water, oh the water. The sound, the smell of the salt air, the COOLING effect is has when the sun has baked you.
From my daughter and son laughing like they did when they were young providing my better half and I great joy, to an annoying little girl screaming at the top of her lungs for minutes till her mom finally stepped in at a nice restaurant. To the endless decisions on what flavor and method of ice cream to get at Dumser’s that everyone faces at the counter to the immediate food buy at Belly Busters because you haven’t eaten in a good while. (that was a damn good cheese steak).
To the workers flying or boating the billboards to the guys up all night cleaning the beaches. To the guys driving huge trucks making many deliveries is places you couldn’t fit a Volkswagen bug into. There is a hive of work and activity while most sleep or rest on the beach.
Then there is the morning crew. People up early despite being on vacation out for the morning walk of the dogs. Or maybe a run with the headphones. Or just a drive up and down coastal highway when there is no traffic except for the jobbers heading to the latest construction projects. Or maybe like us on the way to rent bikes on the boardwalk at 7am before the heat of the morning makes that an unpleasant experience.
I saw a lot more and most of it made me smile. Some of it though was still sad. Some homeless, some old who might be seeing it for the last time. Some still bitter, unable to relax and enjoy and unwind. Some thoughtless and rude. But there is far more positive there than bad so I know I was encouraged by the life I observed. And my family says they had a good time so this was a GREAT vacation for me then.
If you’re going to look this bad, you should be standing next to a Harley, not a bicycle.