As your car gets further and further away from the city skyline, the permanently tightened muscles in your neck and shoulders slowly begin to unwind. You press your nose to the glass and you just can’t believe how green everything is...the trees, the grass, the rolling hills. You lean back in your seat and push the “busy” thoughts from your mind. The work deadlines, the pressure, the people on the street constantly begging you for money, the permanent background noise, the sirens—so many fricking sirens—get put away into a mental file you won’t have to access until Monday.
Each little coastal town gets cuter and more charming. You stop for a Seaside lunch and you find parking within a few minutes...and it’s free. You reach your destination at the end of “rush hour,” but there’s no rush hour to speak of here. You park in the big parking lot at your resort, completely free of charge with no swarming valet attendants awaiting their tip to park your car badly in a cramped lot for $35 a day. Your suite is the size of a studio apartment and faces the ocean….the beautiful ocean with the rolling waves making a soft, soothing sound. You can never get enough of this sound.
It’s a different sound than what you constantly hear from your apartment windows in the city, a mixture of the hippies at their art collective home making art projects and “music,” the shouts of the tormented men who have been dropped off to detox at the recovery house up the street, and the sirens (SO MANY FRICKING SIRENS). There is none of that here. All you can hear is the sound of the waves and the cries of hungry seagulls and condors.
As you lean into your husband and gaze into the water, you both catch the unmistakable big, black tails and blowholes of wales. WALES. You’ve been here fifteen minutes and you’re seeing motherfucking wales. No, this does not happen in the city. Not ever.
You walk the seven blocks to a brewery on the bayfront, where the server slips you a tiny taste of beer even though your bulging pregnant belly is very visible. You savor those few sacred sips of delicious amber ale, and you and your husband laugh at the bad dinner service you receive because, oh, this server must be SO overwhelmed by all these busy 4th of July tourists. This is such a quaint little beach town and the swarms must be too much for these places to handle. The service is quite terrible, but you tip 20% anyway because he’s just brought you the best clam chowder you’ve ever had in your entire life and you’re from the city. A 20% tip is your standard.
You walk to the boardwalk to catch the firework show and you and your husband treat yourselves to an ice cream come. You order single scoops on a waffle cone and you get the equivalent of a carton of ice cream. Both gigantic cones cost the same as one small organic preservative free hippie cone in the city. Yes indeed, you could get used to this.
You walk back to your suite, laughing at the simplicity of the lack of sidewalks in this quaint little beach town. No one has to walk here, unlike the city where walking is much easier than driving half the time. You don’t have to carry your keys in your hand to be used as a weapon if need be like you always do at home.
You fall asleep to the sound of the ocean and you sleep better, longer and harder than you have in months.
You awaken slowly and leisurely, without the blaring of an alarm clock. The sun is shining down on the beautiful ocean waves, which is the first thing you see as your eyes open. You sit, sipping coffee and eating toast from your in-suite toaster, chatting with your husband and taking in the view. God, this is nice. The permanently tensed muscles in your neck and back are now just a distant memory.
Later on as you stroll through the beautiful Nye Beach area hand-in-hand with your husband, you will spot real estate listings and you won’t believe your eyes. So affordable! But in your mind you have already envisioned how it will be when you move here. You will own a little beach house mere steps from the shore….not in the heart of the tourist district, but within walking distance to all of the cute little shops and restaurants. You will decorate it with all the beachy decor from these darling boutiques, and you will pay your mortgage by writing great masterpieces from your oceanfront patio as you gaze into the waves and your daughter and husband frolick in the sand. The ocean will magically fuel your endless creativity, and you will live to be 120 because you will be so relaxed and at peace.
In the afternoon you and your husband decide to grab drinks on a bar patio—ginger beer for you, of course, but he has decided to try several concoctions on the menu. But he just can’t seem to get the server’s attention. In fact, you receive even worse service than you did last night. Being a former server yourself, you know your standards really aren’t that high. When your husband’s beer glass remains empty for 30 minutes, you give up and demand a check. You tip 13% (the equivalent of spitting in someone’s face for you) and leave a little miffed, thinking of how rare that is in your service-oriented city, where your glasses always stay full of brew. Why is it so damn hard to find good help in a touristy beach town in the summer?
You retreat to your suite, getting lost in popcorn and a movie, and suddenly it’s after 8 PM and you’re hungry for dinner. You freshen up, thinking you’ll just enjoy a nice meal at the onsite restaurant. It’s such a quaint little beach town, so there’s no need to make a reservation here. But when you step inside the restaurant at 8:30, you see every family in town with all of their little snot-nosed children, cranky from spending the entire day running through the sand. Rather than wait two hours for a meal, you decide to look elsewhere.
It is then that you discover that damn near every restaurant in this “quaint little beach town” closes at 9 PM. You go back to the bayfront, hoping for some more of that Best Chowder Ever that you had last night. You drive this time, because no idiot here knows how to let a pedestrian cross and there are no damn sidewalks. Your hopes of chowder are dashed when the same idiot server, who clearly doesn’t remember you from 24 hours before, cards your 35-year-old husband, who has forgotten his ID back at the hotel. You can’t get into the brewery, which is probably just as well because you’d punch that prick server in the face if you had to endure his shitty service again.
After a futile search for another spot you end up eating a sullen meal at 10 PM at the onsite restaurant, which has now devolved into a pile of breadcrumbs, screaming kids and grumpy, tired staff members, and you eat the last of the kitchen’s food as the stench of hours-old seafood permeates the air. You point out that at home, you can have any damn thing you want at any time of night, and half the time you can have it delivered to your door.
You pass out, exhausted from the search for food, and still sleep harder and better than you have in months.
You’ve come to accept the truth: it’s amazing to get away. It’s incredible, refreshing, rejuvenating. Hell, it’s necessary. But you are a city girl at heart. As annoying as those beggars for money are, as jarring as the sounds of the sirens are and as silly as those damn hippie neighbors can be, they are your people, and you are a part of that culture. It is as ingrained in you as the bullshit is ingrained in the drivers of all these god damned minivans with the bumper stickers telling you who to vote for, what to believe and what to do with your own fucking body. And if you see one more fucking stick family bumper sticker with 15 little stick children, you’re going to break that Dodge Caravan’s window.
You enjoy a peaceful stroll to breakfast with your husband, which miraculously has plenty of sidewalks and turns out to be an incredible and reasonably priced meal served on a sunny patio. Finally, at long last, you get wonderful service. You walk the mile back to your suite directly on the beach, and once you’re inside you plug in your laptop and you type away as you stare at the surf and the sand. It really is a beautiful little place.
Tomorrow you will return to the smug hipsters, the traffic, the perfect coffee, the organic non-GMO food and the filtered water of home. And you will embrace it, for that is your life. But until then, you take in every peaceful moment on your getaway, and you resolve to eat dinner by 7 PM.