Down the Shore Everything’s Alright
I have an unusual, but fantastic, relationship with my ex-wife and her family. A relationship that avoids the bickering and backlash the accompanies so many divorces; I highly recommend to just try and get along.
This week, I am enjoying one of the perks of such a relationship. My ex-sister-in-law lives down at the Jersey shore, in Belmar. She is away a few days and offered her house to me; a very generous offer which I accepted immediately.
The drawback? Its only me. Three days of me living alone in my head may not be the best place to reside; I’m afraid afterwards I may want a new roommate.
I am a creature of habit and routine. The first thing I do when I come to Belmar is walk up toward the boardwalk and grab a slice of pizza. One place we used to frequent, Mike’s Pizza, is now under new management and name, but a slice is a slice.
Next on the list, take a walk on the boardwalk. Its late, the lifeguards are gone, and the beaches are full. Just hope no one drowns.
Surrounded by families and couples, I notice a pair of older women in front of me, their pace is slow and maddening. After twenty minutes I realize they outpaced me, as I lagged behind them still. Apparently, they were slow, but I walk like a wounded glacier.
Side note: Women in oversized aviator glasses are downright adorable.
Back to house, I shower and change, and walk down to the center of town to grab a drink. First stop, the Anchor Bar, a nice place with outdoor seating. Of course, I go inside. It’s Sunday night, there are maybe ten people scattered about the bar itself, and a few more seated at tables. I grab a spot near a couple who talked with another woman. The woman was pretty, probably late forties or so, and I notice she turned once or twice to look at me. My ego boasted by the glance, likely she was thinking, ‘hey, asshole, the fucking bar is empty, why are you sitting next to me?’ Quite the mouth on that one.
Ordered a beer and watched the Yankess play the Orioles on the huge TV just above my head. The couple’s conversation with the woman grew interesting.
“So, do you like this guy?” the man asked my glancing friend.
“Yeah, I do, but what if he doesn’t call me?”
“But do you like-like this guy? If you do, don’t call him. Wait three days, then for every day he doesn’t call you add three hours to the time that you would have called him back, but you don’t.”
Sadly, they left shortly after that conversation, so I’ll never know if she like-like-likes him.
I’ll ask them tomorrow after gym class.
Left that bar and walked down to the pier, and the Marina Grille. Pretty quiet there as well, grabbed another beer and watched the Yankee game that followed me there.
This is a big place, bars inside and out. I noticed a small bar, outside near the water. Upgraded from beer to scotch and moved outside.
Beautiful view of the bay as I sip my scotch. A few seagulls soar above my head, and I can’t help but think, against the dark night sky, they look like albino bats.
I opt for a second scotch when a small group of people, college age, four guys and a girl, sit at the bar to my left. They are loud, but not obnoxious, more to the fact that there are only nine people out here, which includes the bouncer and bartender.
They were engaged in an interesting conversation (apparently, there is a lot of eavesdropping when you go out alone). They talked about college, who was a genius, who took psychology, why isn’t Ted here, Ted is always here when I’m here, so-and-so finished four years of college but now wants to be a nurse – things like that.
And then –
“My mother has full instruction on what to do when I die,” the girl said.
I don’t think she was dying now, because they all laughed at her comment. The guys chimed in and all seemed to agree they wanted to be cremated and have their friends smoke them, as well.
We can’t get pot legalized in New Jersey, I think smoking your friends isn’t even on the agenda.
This poor girl’s mother, bad enough your twenty-something daughter is giving you funeral advice, then she’ll have to watch as her daughter goes up in smoke.
Finished my drink and called the bartender over. His name was Joe and he was all smiles and suntan. I told him how entertained I was by their conversation. He knew the group, one of the guys worked there, and assured me they were good people. They were drinking Mojitos and told Joe to buy them a round on me, but after I left the bar. He told me the price, I gave him two twenties which left a nice tip for him.
Back at the house, sat out on the porch, with a nice breeze and a half-finished bottle of Red Label the kids got me for Father’s Day (thanks, kids).
Two more days of this, but I think I can handle it.
You know something - down the shore everything really is alright.