As much as I love the beach, I’ve never liked the drive there and back. I relax at the beach, but by the time I’ve dealt with ‘shore-traffic’ on the way home, my nerves are shot and all my relaxation has evaporated.
I have friends driving back from the Jersey Shore even as I write this, and people are worried sick about their beach homes and businesses while Hurricane Irene bears-down on the eastern seaboard. Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley have been spared most of the major recent weather calamities – a couple charming 36″ snow storms perhaps – but Irene is roughly the size of the continent of Europe. We haven’t seen anything like this since Hurricane Hazel destroyed Philadelphia’s historic Horticultural Hall built during the Centennial of 1876. Granted, it wasn’t destroyed until 1954 when I was small child, but still… We east-coasters are spoiled and unpaired for disasters that only happen on TV in other places. We send money to those calamities and feel terrible about them, but somehow it isn’t quite real to us – it’s the sort of thing that only happens on TV as much as we might empathize.
Look at our reaction to the great earthquake of 2011:
My most vivid adult recollection of a REAL storm was Hurricane Bob on Fire Island in 1991 when I woke-up with the mother of all hangovers, blinded when I opened the shades only to see plastic lawn furniture sailing past the windows. I was staying with my old drinking ‘n whoring-buddy, Joe Bowman – and our reaction was to make Coco Chanel rain-suits out of garbage bags and hand-out pitchers of Margareta’s to other drunks who’d slept through last call – even after the National Park Service and the police had long since evacuated the island.
Our transistor radio told us the “eye” of Hurricane Bob was going to pass right over Fire Island. Not endearing news, as Joe and I were staying only one boardwalk-in from the boat-slip. No pun intended, but the last ferry had left the dock…
We were all facing death like brave queens and lesbians – OK, only the lesbians were brave – but Joe and I put flowers behind our ears to accessorize our Chanel garbage bags, and walked in high winds from house to house dispensing brunch cocktails to the doomed.
I had my little dog Buddy with me at the time, and animals sense things. Buddy trembled all day before the storm. Not knowing what was wrong with him, I gave him a doggie-downer the vet had prescribed for long drives. Poor li’l Buddy was stoned.
So was everyone else.
Facing death square in the jaw, we all walked to the beach and watched the rain-curtain while lightening struck the water. All the blender drinks were gone, when I slurred to Joe, “I could sure use a cocktail righ’ now…” – just then an extra large unopened can of Budweiser hit me in the shin as a wave broke on the beach. We laughed, up until we realized little Buddy was sinking in the sand in a Xanax haze, when suddenly I was hit with a bar-stool.
We giggled and swapped sips of the Budweiser taking turns holding Buddy and sitting on the stool, which was also sinking into the sand.
The storm only ‘glanced’ Fire Island. Instead veering-off into the other ‘Gay Mecca” Provincetown, caught right in the cross-hairs of the storm. The collective Massachusetts queen’s response to that disaster was to place mannequin legs wearing black and white striped stocking and ruby-red slippers under the base of a cottage knocked off it’s foundation.
Take THAT Pat Robertson – we’re a resilient people…!!! It’s YOU who’ve fallen out of favor with the Gods.