So, flesh. I have never seen such vast expanses of dark, white people in all my life. Vitamin D deficient? It’s listed as a chronic issue on the cover of my Runner’s World this month, but it’s certainly not a problem here. Those poor saps hocking spf 70 down in the village are not getting rich off the regulars in Carova. By the looks of things, anyway. And, I’ll be honest, I’ve spent a lot of time shamelessly spying from behind my cheap Target sunglasses and pink freckled nose this vacation.
Based on one week’s highly unscientific observation, our coinhabitants seven miles up from where the paved road ends in Corolla, seem to thrive in full blazing, bloody hot sun. All day, 10am to 6pm. Photosynthetic hybrids, I suspect. From them, I have learned that all necessary bodily functions and activities can be accomplished during high burn-index hours, in public, and while holding a Corona. That, and when you leave the beach in a caravan at the end of the day, you should honk your horns repeatedly, blare your radio, and hoot wildly all the way back home. People will think you’re so cool.
Pickups unload little villages in the morning. Sun tents, coolers, chairs, beach games, little tables, American flags, your favorite Jolly Roger flag (ahoy there matey!), and, I shit you not, the people to the left of us for the last three days put up a collapsible port-a-potty. I guess Captain Morgan must give you the trots, because making it 500 yards back to the house to use the crapper is just too damn far.
Close your eyes and you could be here too. There’s you, your significant other, Little Jimmy, Little Sarah, your dog Spot, and your other dog Spot all out for a day in the sun. Your neighbors are pirates on one side and a nervous looking family from Long Island with a beagle named Baxter on the other. Add occasional wild herds of horses (for which it is illegal to be within a hundred feet of) forcing unplanned familial migration and unceremonious abandonment of castles mid-construction. If you’ve never had a huge wild horse take a proper long pee or a healthy crap near you on the beach, then you might not realize the obvious – you pick up and move. (I am, truth in writing, adlibbing a bit here, since we didn’t get chased by wild horses this year, but I have the pictures to prove that it did, indeed, happen last year, as well as compelling photo-evidence of the epic pisses well-endowed male horses can take.)
I’m meandering here. And I’m sure I’ll get you to my point if my drink lasts that long. So, there you are. You’ve driven down to the beach, because it’s safer to have a car near you to stake out your territory. There is no paved road to get you in any civilized fashion to the many multi-family vacation homes that sprinkle the beach. But there’s the beach, and cars can drive on the hard pack closest to the ocean on the east or closest to the dunes on the west. The strip of beach in the middle is safe. Mostly. At low tide anyway. (My advice is to pick the two surliest looking bunches and get a spot there in the middle of them. Someone tries to run you all over, at least you’ve picked a roving band of leather-skinned hoodlums that can chase down the bugger and kick some ass.)
Anyway, so remember this is the ocean, and the surf is loud. You can’t hear cars. You must teach little Jimmy and Sarah to ask you to cross the “road” to the water. And not to go back behind the car in that tempting soft sand. It’s the highway kids. Spot and Spot? Let’s hope when you say “Wait” they’re not lured instead by the siren song of the drunk Frisbee toss two encampments over. Or that they haven’t filled their bellies with salt water and suddenly get the dookies in the middle of the thoroughfare while a beach cowboy is bearing down on them in an all terrain vehicle embellished with custom flamework.
Speaking of. There are no “cars” out here. Some AWD vehicles make it out, but lots get stuck at some point. You really need a proper 4x4 to be safe, and even then you require some basic beach driving know-how, properly deflated tires, and a high tolerance for a bumpy ride. Not to mention ninja-like reflexes to dodge those damn beachgoers in the middle of right where you need to be. If you do get stuck, tows are 150 bucks, and that’s just to get you unstuck. God help you if you get 200 yards up the beach and eat another ditch. The tow trucks circle like vultures, and I don’t blame them. People are morons. Your Subaru is not going to make it there buddy. Go get a ground clearance clue.
Needless to say, it’s great transportation watching here; we’ve seen all kinds of vehicles traversing the beach that the gods of asphalt probably never envisioned. Huge yellow school buses exalted on high monster truck tires. Golf carts souped up to look like ATVs. Suburbans driven by 10 year-olds. Long parades of Jeeps in rainbow colors bringing the tourists up to gawk at pooping horses. Impossibly huge flatbeds taking fiberglass pools to new construction somewhere north. It’s the Wild West of big nobbies and low pressure. If that sounds dirty, you are now in the right frame of mind to talk about the swimsuits.
Today I decided how I feel about pregnant women in bikinis. I admit, I can be a fan under the right conditions. Here’s the deal. I’ll take a nice round pregnant belly in a bikini any day to some of the specimens that see fit to strut their flesh out here in tiny patches of quick-dry fabric. I mean, good LORD, there are children around. Back boobies and muffin tops should be considered when selecting beach attire. Why hasn’t “What Not to Wear” done an OBX special? Hello, low lying fruit. Which brings to mind the melon issue. Underwires, girls. That’s all I’m saying. Man, there is some ta-ta triage to be done in the world. I’m going to give a quick nod to the men, though. You’ve made progress on the coverage front. Thank you for the generous swim shorts that are now in style. Just remember to give them a yank up in the back every now and then to cover your crack, and I’m happy.
Oh, where was I? Yes. Right here. On the beach in North Carolina. Are you getting the impression it’s not been a good time? Au contraire! I have a satisfying tan any dermatologist would be horrified of. I’ve regularly had a beer before noon, laughed myself silly with my husband, spent gratifying time debating “stay or go” over piles of seashells with my kids, and have no doubt we’re never getting all the sand out of that truck of ours. I haven’t taken my running clothes out even once, and I don’t feel guilty about it. For the most part.
Which brings me to my point. I used to think that vacations were supposed to be “perfect.” You gather up your jealousy-inducing pictures and “oh what a great time we had stories” and take them back to spread around like confetti back on home turf. I guess I’m learning that’s not the way it works for us. I am not about trying to construct the perfect Travel & Leisure vacation anymore. Our 2010 summer vacation has been equal parts hysterically funny and just plain hysterical. Our version of visiting Wally World. And did we love it anyway? Hell yes.