Dispatches From The Beach: Vol Un (The Public Beach Uprising Edition)

This has been among our best beach trips despite. The despite list gets pretty long.

We booked a house in a gated community with some of our family on the beach and others no more than two blocks away. There are ten of us in the two blocks away contingent. My wife and two kids, a sister in-law and brother in-law and their two, my mother in-law, and my brother in-law’s twin.

The house slept twelve. It had a rooftop pool and a basement with a wet bar and three huge flat screens across a wall opposite a huge leather couch. We were destined for elation. Then we got the first call.

There were terrible issues with the house that required workmen and the delays inherent in employing workmen and they would not be able to honor our rental agreement. I didn’t believe it. I assumed they got a better offer from some other punters. I was wrong.

They put us in a second rental. Again, sleeps twelve. Then we were told that someone bought the house from the people we signed a lease with and that the new owners didn’t want to honor the rental agreement. I didn’t field that phone call and I’m glad I didn’t. The person who did is an attorney and devilishly clever so I’m sure my tact was already out the window, but I’d have said no. We have a lien by way of a lease and you bought the house – with all attached liens. I’d try to see what they were willing to do to get out of it. The rental was roughly eight thousand. I’d let them buy us out. I bet we could get four thousand. That said, I never saw the contract and the attorney that did and handled the call is devilishly clever.

They gave us the last place available in the gated sub-division. They exaggerated the sleeping situation but we had air mattresses for the kids and it’s been funny making the single guy sleep in a walk in closet.

The place is weird. Porch sitting is beach heroin. It’s fabulous. Intoxicating and relaxing and page turning. We have a small walled area with a tiny pool but no porches. Of the forty plus houses in the gated community we have one of the few (six by our late afternoon walk counting) with no porch. The place is three stories. There are stairs down the center of the structure and while there are three exits – garage, front door, and walled area door – all three are only accessible on the ground floor from a central staircase that’s maybe four feet wide. There is no other way to access an exit. It’s a fire trap.  

The only bathroom not attached to a bedroom is cavernous. I’m guessing twelve-foot ceilings. There’s a commode and a sink, a trash can, and a toilet brush. The rest of the ten by ten or so room is empty. Creepy. The furniture is upholstered in white as a rental. I have kids that like Doritos. This place is sterile as hell.

There’s a sign that says “Please take off your shoes” on the front door. Piss off or put it in the contract.

Thankfully, the company is good. We’ve got our group of ten, a second cadre of relatives renting a far superior house with sixteen to their count, and a third who own a condo a mile or so away. They count nine.  

We have a moveable feast and it’s brilliant. Mike made jambalaya for the masses, Dempsey and Bonnie gave us all lasagna and salad, I made rigatoni with meatballs and sausages. Non communal dinner days are cocktail and cheese and cracker deals, shifting from house to house. I wish we had the rooftop pool house with the three basement tvs (televisions.)

That rooftop pool house looks like hell, by the way. A lot of the houses in this development do as a very little age has set in against their materials. I’m guessing it’s EIFIS, or Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems. If you aren’t familiar, EIFIS is a faux stucco that is par excellent in keeping water on the outside of your house. It is amazing. Unless it’s improperly installed. If improperly installed all those properties that keep water from your structure trap water inside your structure so it can rot wood without interference. This whole development is cased in EIFIS. So many are under repair, EIFIS removed and rotten wood exposed. I was wrong. They are under construction.

What is nice is that despite a lack of beds or porches, all renters are equal in the eyes of the private beach enforcement squad. Private beaches are more pleasant, less crowded, not as loud, and decidedly more likely to host a poorly thought-out wedding ceremony than the public options. The bad tattoo spotting suffers a bit, but not all beach games are indulged equally.

It’s our annual beach tradition that we abandon our criminally minded children to the care of their grandmother while the non-grand-adults indulge in a stupid beach drink. You kind of have to have an overpriced pina colada to call yourself properly vacationed. So we did that.

The bulk of (read everyone but me) non-grand adults drove three blocks to a stupid tourist trap that actually has the word “trap” in it’s name. I finished making meatballs and walked to meet them. Given the dearth of parking we arrived at the same time.

I have to stop here and tell you, this is not a carefree, guess what I’m up to blog post anymore. From here on out I’m speaking truth – justice.

I was in this stupid tourist trap pseudo restaurant that claimed all their fried seafood was as fresh as a morning breeze and feeling filthy. Here I was, a private beach person, surrounded by all these public beach denizens. I felt dirty.

Hoi Polloi up close and perfumed.

But after s drink or two I stopped. I put myself in their mindset. I understood their plight. It was something I felt I could take advantage of and profit from.

The public beach people’s righteous anger and easily strummed classist resentments were right out and center. The line between the have’s and have nots in our society is too stark. They were ripe for a well lead uprising and I was just the one to lead them in their insurrection, all the accolades, power, and profit that accrues headed my way. I’d be like that shitbag Castro but I’d wear Armani instead of those pathetic fatigues he pretended. This was a Powerball like opportunity.

But then I heard the plight of my cousin. It seems that she was accosted for violating rule… well they don’t number them, but she violated this one: [CAPS IN ORIGINAL] NO TENT/TARP OR CANOPY SETUPS ALLOWED ON BEACH (TO INCLUDE BABY TENTS) NO CANOPIES/HAMMOCKS HANGING FROM TREES OR BALCONIES.

The bold is mine and not in the original.

The long and the short of it is that she erected a shade for her six-month old, flying in the face of good governance and common decency. Thankfully a kindly representative of the local private beach constabulary was on hand to right her wicked ways and expose the infant.

When I heard of this grave carriage of justice it hit me. I am not the flag bearer.

She’s got the story. A wronged mother of the private beach set turning on her own wealthy compatriots not when she experienced a moment of clarity, but when a moment of clarity was thrust upon her part time HOA enforcer style is a powerful icon. She’s an Argentinian opera in the making.

Before you go there, I’m not jealous of her utility. I’d rather be the power behind the throne than the uneasy head that wears the crown, so this is just jelly beans and gummy bears to me.

I’m in kind of a holding pattern right now. My cousin is deciding whether she wants to be a figurehead in a major uprising. I’ve told her how cool it would be to be perceived as a ruler even though I get to make all the decisions because I called it first.

What Florida man?

Beach vacations are so much fun.

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