Thursday, August 28, 2008

Summer Lovin' Week 6

No Title Necessary

It would be nice to say that this photo was taken on a two week stay in a rambling old beach house. In reality it was taken during a four-hour stay in beach chairs my mom and I bought at the Piggly Wiggly. But that's just fine. It was what we needed and, let's be honest, the beach is wasted on someone like me in the summer. The thought of putting on a swim suit makes me break out in hives and by 11:06am I start to get too hot. I'd much rather hide out in the mountains in July and August and then creep down to the beach in November, or January even. What can I say? I'm a circus freak. A good PR person would say that I just enjoy the serenity and isolation of the beach in late autumn and winter because it allows for more introspection and creative thought. But circus freak is probably more accurate...

The photos were taken on the Isle of Palm, just outside Charleston, SC. My job's annual conference was in Charleston this year. I had a nice suite for the week that I wasn't really going to get to enjoy so I invited my mom to come along and enjoy it for me.

The schedule during the week went pretty much like this:

7:00am - Start Work
7:00pm - Stop Work
7:05pm - Leave Hotel in Search of Food
8:30pm - Work From Room While Watching the Olympics
9:00pm - Michael Phelps
11:00pm - Stop Work
11:30pm - Sleep

God bless Charleston and it's totally walkable downtown with a restaurant every 1/2 block. It made eating dinner soooo much better than Room Service Chicken Pasta Whatnot that I would have ordered every night like I have the past two conferences.

Thursday - the last day of the conference - I was finished early so we went for our first trip to the beach. It was lovely. We walked along the water's edge until we worked up an appetite, got our flip flops all mucky, thoroughly soaked our capri pants from the knees down and let my hair go all Rosanne Rosannadanna in the humidity.

We spotted what looked like a restaurant just up from the path to the beach so we decided to check it out. Downstairs it was your typical touristy beach bar/restaurant - The Banana Cabana - with life preservers and fishing nets tacked to the wall, patrons drinking unnaturally green alcoholic beverages, live music from a guy who looked suspiciously like he might subject me to a Jimmy Buffet song at any moment, and a menu with all kinds of deliberate misspellings and inappropriate apostrophes, like "cap'n's fish 'n' chip's."

The menu for the upstairs restaurant featured various freshly-prepared seafood and locally-grown produce with artfully worded descriptions of the daily specials. It looked delicious. And fancy. At least fancy for Rosanne Rosannadanna and her mucky flip flops and wet capri pants. And after running around and catering to every whim and whine of 200 conference attendees and one boss for four very long days, the mere possibility of climbing the stairs to a maitre'd who would look down his nose at us, ask the dreaded "do you have reservations?" and, if we're lucky, give us a table by the bathroom, was just more than I thought my ego could endure. Oh but the alternative... fried things in plastic baskets... the threat of a "Cheeseburger in Paradise" sing-a-long... Room Service Chicken Pasta Whatnot was starting to sound like a viable alternative to the decision before me.

Thankfully my mother is much more brazen than I am when it comes to some things. Stops people on the street to ask for directions. Strikes up conversations with total strangers in line at the grocery. Makes friends with hotel housekeeping. For me this strategy usually ends in disaster, but she usually winds up learning a more interesting route to her destination, the best out-of-the-way restaurant, or getting extra toiletries without even having to ask. So, we march up the stairs, are greeted by the greeter guy, and she immediately asks "are we too casual?" He looks sort of confused for a second but says "absolutely not." We get a seat by the window with a view of the ocean. It's all simple and elegant and casual and not a bit pretentious. And the food... holy-moly. Shrimp and grits with Andouille sausage and heirloom tomatoes that literally melted in my mouth.

The next morning we headed back out to the beach where we waded in the surf again (above), followed silly birds around, read for a bit, and I fiddled with the fancy camera from work and took lots of morning-sunlight-on-ocean photos.

And four hours at the beach worked out just fine. Hopefully I'll get to go back to the beach this winter... you know... for some introspection and creative thinking... but it was nice to be on the "real" beach in summer with the rest of the world like a normal person. Well, as normal as you can feel with Rosanne Rosannadanna hair...


Katie said...

Totally off the subject, E and J got into an argument yesterday about - get this - whether or not you are allergic to cats.

Huh?? I mean, seriously, WHY? Don't you feel important, though?? I tried to call you but couldn't get you.

Gert's Maw said...

I am not brazen! Thanks for the trip. Your pictures are beautiful.

gertrude said...

That's too funny. I do feel important! But no, no cat allergies. And my to-do list for the weekend is to replace my pitiful answering machine. Sorry about that. Did you at least get your book yet?

Anonymous said...

I love that you took your mom on vacation!

I also like the beach in the fall and winter. Just sit me on a chair or a blanket with a good book, hear that surf, walk a bit and get my toes wet, heavenly. No need to dunk the entire body in a piece of lycra made for my granddaughter.

BTW, you have cute toes!!