Sunday, April 24, 2005

Gulf Trip - Sunday Day 2

Boxster Bash

In the south there is always a Cracker Barrel within a stone's throw. We found the nearest one and sat down for an hour's wait. I couldn't believe that it took them that long to bring out meal. Don't they know we are on vacation? They need to quickly bring our meal so that we can begin our long weekend of relaxation.

I forgot we were in a southern restaurant. They have grits, smoked bacon, and "smothered hash-browns" (shredded potatoes with graded cheese). But don't even try to order eggs benedict. When I asked if they had them, she said: "I'm sorry sir no, but we have egg beaters." She'd never heard of eggs benedict and figured it was something like substitute eggs. I call those things square eggs, as opposed to the round kind that actually come out of chickens.

We decided to visit the beach after lunch. The damage to the apartments and hotels is extensive from last year's storms. Every one was still under construction. Some still missing their roofs, others have shredded curtains hanging inside shattered windows. The main street looked like a ghost town. Coming down 85 yesterday we saw many of the trees bent over or simply snapped from the force of the hurricanes.

We walked down to the beach over clean white powder and watched the water lap at the shore. A few folks were spread out on blankets. Several of the docks were gone. Some of the homes across the street had been pushed back as if a giant's hand swiped at them and they crumbled.

We decided to head to The Grand Marriott to check in for our two day stay. Ed was going to lead the way so Ruth, who was driving, pulled over to the side to let him by. Just then an old white-haired guy in a brown Ford Explored decided to back up without a glance backward and plowed into my passenger door. All the time we were beeping and waving at him but he was clueless.

When he got out of his car, he admitted that he didn't bother to look. Yeah, I know, and I have a huge cavernous crater in my door to prove it. Get a clue dude, that's why they put side mirrors on cars these days. Yeah, I know they didn't have them when you started driving but . . . oh never mind.

This reminds me of Seinfeld's monologue of old people and driving. He says in his skit: "What is it with the old folks these days? They never look back. They just put it in reverse and backup. They say: 'I'm old, and I'm coming back. I lasted this long, see if you can.'"

We called the police but he said he doesn't report these things when they are on private property. It looked like public property to me. It looked like public access to the beach, but what do I know. The cop left, we exchanged information. This will cost his insurance dearly. The entire door will need to be replaced.

That really ruined a perfect day. We went to Applebees. It was Ed's treat. It was his way to make it all better. He ordered us a large lager so that I could cry in my beer. So I cried, drank beer, but felt no better. I kept thinking about it. What if it had been a little child or someone from his generation? He would have run right over them, took off, and never heard their screams. He didn't even hear our horn, or my screams. (I was in the passenger's seat pounding against the glass while I saw his backup lights come right at me. Ruth blasted the horn. I was yelling a lot, incoherently I'm sure.) The only reason he stopped was because he had to, he ran into a car.

How do these old folks get their licenses anyway? Free with a fill up from gas station? How good was the test he took? Looks like it was about as good as a cheap motel's hair dryer. Old man, in a Explorer, too big of a truck for his atrophied reflexes I'm sure.

Ruth drove us to The Grand and I slept on the way to the hotel. I dreamt of better days when my car was perfect and the law mandated that old drivers had to glue air mattresses to their cars.

When I get real bored, I like to drive down town and get a great parking spot, then sit in my car and count how many people ask me if I'm leaving. -Steven Wright