We're spending a few days in Ocean City, Maryland, with Gay's sister Wendi and niece Joanne. Nice little room in a hotel I would judge to be slightly less than a hundred years old. Must check.
It's far enough from the beach to be quiet and relatively inexpensive. A pleasant unprepossessing dining room. Good local seafood. Soft overstuffed beds, modern capsule coffee machines. One could write a book here.
Yesterday Kevin (Joanne's husband) and I girded our loins and braved the funhouse. Loin-girding not actually required. Rode a bumpy car through the darkness, with occasional painted denizens leaping out screaming or laughing maniacally. I think that scared the shit out of me seventy years ago. But I'm made of sterner stuff now. Mainly scared of catching something from touching the groady old thing.
Gay and Wendi and Joanne rode the Ferris Wheel. My courage does not extend to tempting the gods of gravity, so I just watched them and listened for their screams.
We walked down the boardwalk, which was bright and loud but a little, or more than a little, tawdry -- which was surely true seventy years ago, too. We indulged in candied peanuts and popcorn, and saltwater taffy,and Thraser's french fries, as one must. I was concerned about diabetes, and so decided not to test my blood sugar. Too high a number and I might have a heart attack.
The girls seem younger and heavier than the variety attracted to Daytona and Ormond Beach. Well, I guess the population is not statistically weighted with college girls. More like dietetically weighted by prepubescent candy munchers. One must be patient. They will slim down long enough to catch a man. And I will be watching, as I have been for the past sixty-some years, as they move into and out of my ken.
One thing that slightly bothers me (which did not when I was twelve or thirteen) is the absolute absence of nature, other than the slim blue line of ocean near the horizon. This hotel must be nearly a mile from the actual beach. So we do have a salt breeze, but we can't easily stroll to the strand. We can drive thirty miles or so south and park in a coin-operated lot. From the boardwalk you can walk a few hundred yards to the sea, picking your way between blankets and broasting tourists, and there test your swimming ability and patience. I haven't been tempted. But then I do limit myself to one shark encounter per ten years. (The Google article says there haven't been any shark fatalities here "in recent years," which is not specific enough to reassure me.)
Of course as a Florida native, I know that meteorites kill more people than sharks. But then I wear a tinfoil helmet, too, just in case.