This weekend I'm reporting to you from sunny Belmar, New Jersey. I know every inch of this small shore town that booms with summer rentals. I've been coming here now for a summer weekend for the last 25 years, by myself. It's a great chance to recharge my batteries and be alone with my thoughts for a couple days. You should try it, and if you want to, you can be alone with your own thoughts instead of mine. Why haven't you done this already? Because when you mentioned that you were thinking of taking a weekend for yourself in Belmar your wife's eyes lit up thinking of the peace and quiet, the freedom to do what she wants when she wants, not having to deal with all your disgusting habits (you really need to clean up your act). You're thinking that there's a slim chance that the place could function without you.
It's the same reason that many Americans won't take time off work to go on vacation. It's because they are afraid that the company will realize how easy it is to get along without them, and they will become expendable. The day that your company hired you they began the long process of eventually replacing you with somebody younger and smarter that they can pay less money to. Most people don't understand that, but I do. When I went for my first interview with the company 39 years ago, I stressed how easy it would be to replace me. And the company, realizing what a valuable asset that is, hired me on the spot. Since then they have never been able to find anyone as easily replaceable as me, and thus they have never replaced me.
My hotel is right across from the beach, and the minute I park my car in a GREAT space on Tenth Avenue 12 drivers in a row pull up next to me and ask me when I'm leaving. I'm used to that question from my old girlfriend's Mom so it doesn't bother me. There aren't many hotels around here and this is a quirky place indeed. There is no smoking allowed inside any of the rooms, which all smell like smoke as if they were burning parts of the Amazon jungle in there. There may be other policies that are loosely enforced, but I don't care because I'm right across from the beach.
In the afternoon I pedaled my bike over to Point Pleasant to see if the place lived up to its name. As I crossed the Manasquan River I noticed a sign that said "Bridge Freezes Before Road." I couldn't help wondering, how much before? Is this something I should be worrying about in August? Somebody felt it was important enough to put the sign up, so I used extreme caution. I parked my bike at the bike stand and parked myself at the tiki bar. Point Pleasant did live up to its name, it was both pleasant and pointy. I ordered a frozen margarita. At the tiki bar margaritas freeze before both the road and the bridge, so I used more extreme caution.
There was a minor dust-up when a seagull took a tern for the worse and flew in the side window, scaring the crap out of everybody and almost causing an alcohol-related tragedy, me spilling my margarita. It reminded me of when we were walking on the Atlantic City Boardwalk and my sister Anne started feeding pizza to the seagulls. My sister Anne is a friend to all animals, she doesn't discriminate, and she assumed she was performing an act of charity because it's hard for birds to order pizza. But a Hitchcockian scene ensued, and everyone on the Boardwalk turned against her, and I thought they were going to return with pitchforks and torches and burn her at the stake, so we covered her in a blanket and ushered her out to Tennessee Avenue.
After enjoying the sunshine all day I like to go somewhere at night that has a band. It's important to support live music, or you're going to be left with that crap that they play at restaurants that mistakenly consider themselves trendy, where they play a tiny part of a song over and over and over with a lot of reverb and a catchy beat, and then they just get bored and stop, and play a different part of a different song that has no substance.
Tonight's band was in fine form. They played, "Shut Up and Dance," which my wife always loves to dance to. She always feels the need to stress the "shut up" part over the "and dance" part. Somebody in the band yells noisily, "MAKE SOME NOISE!" They weren't too specific, so I make some of the noises that I'm famous for. I can do a fantastic imitation of a family of pigs talking to each other, for instance. And I was just about to play "The Flight of the Bumblebee" by hitting my cheeks with my hands when five girls come over and asked me, "Can you take our picture?" They hand me their phone. "Of course! Where is the F-stop on this thing? I touch the side of the phone and now the camera is facing towards me. I hit another button by mistake which takes my picture and sends it to all of her friends. "Sorry about that," I say, "but if it's any consolation my hair looks better than it usually looks at the shore."
Sunday arrives before I know it. It's almost check-out time by time I wake up, so probably a lot has happened before I know it. I guess I'm done recharging my batteries because I used my phone, my iPod, my radio and my laptop so much that now they're out of batteries and need to be recharged. Also, my thoughts don't seem to want to be alone with me anymore.
Join Trillium on Friday, September 6, at Clubhouse Grille in Norwalk opening for River of Dreams at 6:30 p.m.
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