In the world of why-does-this-happen-to-me, this one ranks right up there.
I mean, I know there's stuff out there that people deal with that's much more important, much more intrusive, maybe even much more life changing than this petty concern I'm about to air.
So please bear with me.
It seems like whenever Kim and I decided to take an extended weekend at the beach — Cherry Grove, to be exact — we try to plan to avoid crowds.
Already, there's two problems here. First, we don't really plan. We guess. We assume. And we should know better. But that's how we roll.
The second is that there are always crowds at the beach, no matter how much you plan. I've been told there's maybe a three-month window from January to Easter where the traffic is manageable, when there's no waiting at restaurants — and that might be true — but I haven't seen it yet. Or if I did, it happened 30 years ago before the area underwent a commercial development boom.
Anyway, we left this past Friday for a brief three-day weekend. In the past, we've usually taken our beach vacations in May, because that's when the weather usually changes for the better. But you have to work around Bike Week. If you go the first week in May, the motorcyclists are arriving. If you go the third week, the bikers are leaving.
Then it's Memorial Day and the start-of-the-summer crowds. It's never just Bike Week. It's Bike Month.
On a side note, we sometimes took/take a beach vacation the first week in October, because that's our anniversary week. It's also the week of the Fall Rally. Are you kidding me? Really, as far as we're concerned, it's Bike Year.
Anyway, we decided we'd head to the beach this past weekend. No Bike Week yet. But when we arrived, there were people everywhere — and especially at neighboring Ocean Drive, where favorite eateries like Golden Griddle and Hoskins are located. The canyon of beach-side hotels were fairly bursting. What the heck?
"Oh," we were told. "It's SOS weekend."
That thudding sound you're hearing is me banging my head against the wall. It actually feels good.
Shaggers were everywhere, including some leakage into Cherry Grove. Loafers. Gold chains. Cigarettes. Adult beverages. It's a lifestyle.
And it wasn't just shaggers. There were students taking over beach houses. Oh-oh. Spring break. Flip-flops. Cigarettes. Adult beverages. These are the folks who think they're bullet-proof. Remember those days? It's another lifestyle.
We thought we'd make a quick getaway to quiet, unassuming Southport and do a little antiquing and maybe eat lunch at the Provision Company. Except, of course, it was Spring Festival. People everywhere. Artists, shoppers, tourists. Sigh.
By Sunday morning, we were headed back home. To quiet, unbusy, restful Lexington. No complaints.