Posted by: guinness222 | July 14, 2018

Living a the beach is both great, and a nightmare!!

Really a strange statement huh? Well not if you live here!

I live in “paradise” about a ten minute max walk to the Gulf of Mexico. The beaches are truly “sugar white” and the water on most days a “teal dream, (see photo’s below) the temperature never gets below 30 degrees in the winter, and then only for an hour, two at the max during a “cold snap”. Snow is something I still have deeply etched in my brain cells from being a “New Englander” for over 50 years,…however the sunlight, the balmy temps and breezes are magnificent for “dulling those memories”, and after almost 20 years here it is a different way of life. For example it’s Sunday because my wife says, “You can’t wear your damn cargo fishing shorts to church, change now!!”

But until almost Christmas or a “cold snap” and as soon as the temperature hits 50 degrees again is the segment of annual time that I wear long pants. I have two long sleeve shirts, one for funerals and the other in case that one is in the laundry on the day I have to go to a funeral.

So where’s my problems, you ask? Consider being on the receiving end of the D-Day Landing in Normandy,…yup! That’s what it is like living in a Beach and vacation area. It is truly an invasion zone. Starting Friday as the ones who are here are acting like their life is over, they have been covering the beach for a week, like a pod of red ants! The tents, the umbrellas, and dozens of coolers filled with “snacks”, another word for “beer and Wine” plus soft drinks for the kids and assorted soggy sandwiches and chips and candy, and what ever else you can consume during a four or five hour time frame!

We are divided into specific periods of “vacationers”, usually starting with the dreaded “Spring Breakers” and college kids. Armed with Daddy’s American Express card “for emergencies”, (which to a college kid means “We’re low on Beer, better get a couple more cases”) Or to go out to dinner if they run low and need some food, As we all know College Kids are “bottomless pits that require endless quantities of food,….HOURLY! That is to survive. And out to eat on a credit card that YOU don’t pay for , can mean anything from Ruth Criss’s Steak House, to a”leisurely” dinner (6 HOURS at “Hooter’s). Forget MacDonalds, Burger King, and Kentucky Fried Chicken,…..take out. They are all “Break Glass in case of emergency” functions from their own “stash of cash”,….and only to be used if all else fails and nothing to eat for at least the past two hours.

Then come the “Family Breakers”. The younger kids whose school breaks all are broken up to one or two week periods all during the year, (I think to give teachers the appearance of “working all year”, and having a modicum of time left to regain their sanity.) They are usually stressed parents, as Tax Season bears down on them, or parents who have looked at their costs to live and made decisions to escape on a “(maybe our last Family Vacation”together,In case things get worse later and they can’t do their usual two weeks in “mid-July” because Dad has his new part-time job starting the first of the month to cover tuitions at VERY expensive Prep Schools, cost of theFootball and soccer gear, and all the costs to travel to the games to “psychologically support” the kids! (And we wonder why families are so bloody Stressed all the time, divorces are up, and kids don’t eat right and obesity and diabetes is rocketing up as well.

Then the “Holiday Folks” who bought overpriced property here and were talked into it by the dreamer, that is commissioned only real estate folks who provide them visions of Sugar Plums( a/k/a/ “oh good, you can rent this for $800 to $1500 per a week and that will cover all your costs and pretty soon you’ll own it free and clear.”) The vision of the teal waters , the sugar white sands, the tropical temps and gentle breezes, and a three day holiday for the entire family for a minimum of a months pay,…’s a “no brainer”.

Then we have the “regular vacationers”, the families of blue collar folks, and “Doctors n’ Lawyers”, and other things Willy Nelson has pleaded with us to “Don’t let you children grow up to be,…”. (Guess that’s why we have so many “Cowboys” in huge “Pickem up Trucks, with “Dualies” and lights and winches and dumb stickers on them>

Part B of the Summer Crowd are the “Uber wealthy”. If any auto manufacturer in the world has a new “Luxury” or exotic car you will see it first here in the Destin area, foreign and domestic. Maserati’s, Ferrari’s, Maybach’s, RESTORED, as well as new. (In fact I know of a nice guy down here who has a garage full of classic old cars, old like Cadillac Eldorado’s, ’54 Corvettes, Jaguar XKE’s , Rolls Royces, and a ton more, in fact his garage is so big it looks like a wing of his house, but it is only a four car garage in terms of “regular rollup garage doors” but it comfortably houses over 20 vehicles!!!!

Then as the summer winds down after Labor Day Weekend, we get the “newbies”, who because of the cost of airfare ad other costs decided to drive here,….from Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and anywhere else they can drive from!!! (In fact 85% of our “visitors” drive here, despite several large airports including an INTERNATIONAL airport in Panama City beach, only a 30 minute drive from my house.

And then there is the November to March period. The Statue of Liberty has an inscription on a plaque at it’s base that contains lines from Emma Lazarus’s sonnet (1849-1887) “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”” It goes on to say ” This Country’s greatness and genius lies in it’s diversity.”

That is what brings us to our final annual season the “SnowBird season”. To all those who worked their lives, fought in World Wars, and other wars, to defend our Country, and actually wanted the world they grew up with to prevail through the everything, and worked their forty or fifty years for it. Now they simply want to get out of the cold, the ice, and NEVER see snow while they re here. Simply spend the “end of their days” in peace and quiet with a multitude of like minded folks and activities and things to do IF THEY WANT TO GO AND FEEL UP TO IT! Guess what? They deserve at least that before they “go gently into the night” as Dylan Thomas once said. They don’t want to “Rage” against the night, they just want some comfort, reasonable prices and to be treated as human beings that made ALL of this happen for all of us.


July 14, 2018

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