Do forgive me if I've been a little quiet this week, but for once I have a pretty good reason. No, it isn't existential meltdown number eleventy. I've simply been on vacation. Or to be more specific, I've been living in a rented beach house with an understanding woman and four, count 'em, four teenagers. Why, it's enough togetherness to make an off-duty cameraman wish for an overturned two-ton turnip truck to go rush off to. Not that I've fantasized about such a thing. Much. Seriously, I made a sand diorama of this one scenario that required me to be away from the cottage a good three hours. Okay, maybe I didn't but the fact of the mattter is this sabbatical couldn't come soon enough. June marks the start of Swamp-Ass Season in the Southern states. What better way to usher it in than by donning a pair of day-glo swimtrunks and hauling half your living room to the ocean floor? I've covered horder conventions using fewer accoutrements.
Actually, my portage to the shore has become less cumbersome since my girls aged out of Barbie sandcastles. These days, those two stop just shy of a restraining order assure i don't appear with them in public, to whcih I say "Fine. Drag your own chair over the sand dunes!". As to their reluctance to be seen with me, I just don't get it. I even asked another Dad I met on the beach what he thought of this attitude. He pushed back the pith-helmet back on his balding head, picked some fuzz of his see-through v-neck t-shirt and said it was a mystery to him.
Don't get me wrong: I love my family. And if asked by an angry state trooper or grinning game show host, my family would readily admit they love me too. But a man's got to know his limitations. And every Dad needs an escape hatch. For some men, it's a sports car, a golf game or a girlfriend. For me, it's a beach bike, a rather rusty box-store model I cherish one week every summer and pretty much neglect every other day of the year. Yes, astride this gritty steed, I slip the surly bonds of Fatherhood, rocketing down the coastline as fast as a pair of sunburned photog legs can carry me. Lately, I've been rising early and hammering the sand before the stupefying heat commences with the brain cell melting. Most mornings, I end up by the rock pier. It's there a few of us fathers collect by the jetty, soak our bones in the tidal pools and trade stories of gift shop abandoenemnt ans string bikini payback. Sadly, some of the Dads don't want to leave their seaside sanctuary. Yesterday, I sat beside one guy for like six hours and he never once made a motion to move.
How pathetic is THAT?