So I spent the afternoon on North Hampton’s public beach on sunday and made some interesting observations. For one, there seems to be some sort of social amnesia that takes place when someone goes on vacation. And I think we have all been subject to this: we find ourselves on vacation and suddenly, nothing matters. We are first and thats it! No exceptions, I have no time to waste, I’m on vacation! I understand that mentality, I don’t approve of it, but I can understand it and how it comes about. We go on vacation and suddenly the needs and wants of those around us are trivial compared to our comfort.
As I sat on the rockwall, facing the water, enjoying the sound of the waves as the tide was slowly rolling in, the sounds of kids and parents playing in the surf, suddenly a stereotype pulled up behind me. A huge honking suv with *shudder* New York license plates came screeching to a halt directly behind me. I always try to think the best of people and that stereotypes are merely someones preconceived notions about a person or a type interfeering with their interaction with the person in front of them. Unfortunately, what emerged from the suv was a stereotype run amok.
First, three teenage white kids, who looked like they just came off the set of Growing Up Gotti: gold chains, wife beaters and baggy shots. Immediately, I get a bad impression. One whips out his phone. “MOTHERF*****!! No signal in this f****** hick town!” and for once, I’m glad my town shot down building a cell phone tower near the beach. The three boys stand there unloading their coolers and beach chairs, charmingly swearing up a storm, when their mother emerges from the front of the suv.
I don’t even know where to begin with her, but man, she was the epitome of the ugly american on vacation: extremely overweight, squeezed into a tiny bikini (!!!!!!), hair that was a throwback to the 80’s and skin that had seen so much sun over the years, it now looked like it had the consistency of leather and there was an unhealthy orangy brown look to her. “Joooooey!! Don’t go tooooooo farrrrrr!!!! This f****** town doesn’t believe in in lifegaurds on a sunday. Why your faddah brought us here, I’ll never f****** know.”
Her daughter emerged from the otherside, a girl of about 9 and I thought, hah, someone normal in this bunch. “Mom, where the f*** is my f******* sodaaaaaaa?” she screamed at the top of her lungs. How could I be so wrong?
So anyway, this seething pile of humanity plopped down on the sand directly in front of me, opening their coolers, eating their lunches and allowing their trash to be taken away by the breeze. I just sat there in amazement. Then, to top it all off, one of the boys pulls out a huge boombox and places it up on the rockwall next to me, like I wasn’t even sitting there and turns it on, full blast to some rap cd. As the beat got more and more annoying, the trio of boys and the mom lit up cigarettes.
I realize that when we go on vacation, we always tend to bring a little bit of home with us. Its comforting to be in a strange place and have a little something to remind of us of where we are going back to. Whenever I go out of state, for me, its something intangible: finding a decent cup of coffee, if I find the right cup of coffee, I feel like I’m back home. For the family sitting in front of me, what was comforting for them was recreating any given street corner in brooklyn. All we needed was some honking horns and the illusion would be complete. I got up from my comfy spot. I didn’t want to leave this section of the wall, its the middle of the beach and from a people watching perspective, a great vantage point. But, unlike these people, I came down to enjoy the ocean not the city. As I walked away, I flipped the power switch on the boombox. I heard one of them swear at me as I walked away…but I also saw several people applaud.