The Gates of Summer
Thursday, Bobby and I went to see Jack Johnson in concert in the evening at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia. This is one of our favorite venues: outdoors; nice, vast, soft lawn; doesn't take forever and a day to get in or out. (DC venues could take a page out of there playbook there.) We stopped for supper at our favorite restaurant from when we lived in Ellicott City, the Trolley Stop; our usual server was still there and still remembered us. We arrived at Merriweather when the gates opened at 6, and the line was already massive, and we ended up near the back of the lawn. But that was okay; the sound was great, and one of the advantages of outdoor concert venues (to a misanthrope like me) is that you can spread your blanket on the ground and essentially establish your own little domain which people are less likely to enter than in a normal general admission setting, where people like to jump up and down almost on top of me, it seems. The show didn't start till 7:30, and we were both tired, so we stretched out on our blanket and took a nap. The sun was setting and shining in my face, so I had my sunglasses on and could occasionally finagle myself to block the sun with Bobby's knee, but at one point, the sun was blocked in entirety, which interested me enough to sit up to see if it had finally sunk beneath the trees. It was being blocked by a guy who looked like Glass Joe from the old-school NES Mike Tyson's Punchout game, which I've actually never played, but my sister had it when we were kids, so I watched her play it plenty, and Bobby plays it sometimes now. I nudged Bobby and was like, "Holy shit, that guy looks like Glass Joe!" This suggested an awesome start to a weekend of people-watching on the Boardwalk ...
Jack Johnson was great. He didn't play all of my favorite songs--he has a ton--but he did play Banana Pancakes, which is as close to a song as Bobby and I have. (We used to have "banana pancakes days" when he was miserably working for Customs, when we'd both pretend to be sick and skip work. We used to do this in high school too, with our parents' permission, only we called them "comp days" then, since Jack Johnson wasn't really around yet.) People were really taking advantage of Maryland's recent decriminalization of marijuana (okay, it doesn't begin until October 1, but I doubt a lot of people know that!), and there were a lot of people blazing up around us. Bobby thinks marijuana smells like McDonald's food (he is weird). Anyway, Glass Joe's group was definitely playing at puff and pass, although Glass Joe himself seemed to be abstaining, possibly because--as Bobby pointed out--someone could push the start button at any time, and he'd have to go fight Little Mack.
The show was packed, and people who arrived late (remember, we arrive an hour-and-a-half early and were at the back of the lawn!) were reduced to looking for two-foot-square-sized spaces in which to cram their towels and blankets.
We are in Ocean City now. We took a day off of work Friday (scheduled leave! no more banana pancakes days now that we both like our jobs) and left early yesterday morning. The weather is gorgeous. We arrived here in time to spend four hours on the beach yesterday with almost an hour-and-a-half of surfing for Bobby, then go out for an excellent dinner at a new-to-us Mexican restaurant we've been meaning to try, so now we will have to share our Mexican-food loyalties between Tequila Mockingbird and Mother's Cantina when we are here. (Poor La Hacienda--once our favorite restaurant, full stop, down here--is sadly out of the picture since moving to Ocean Pines and several mediocre experiences.) We are taking the B since Bobby locks his surfboard in the car, so we rode down to the inlet and were intended to ride some rides and then get some drinks on our way up the Boardwalk, but we were both getting tired, so we went out on the fishing pier and played some arcade games and decided to call it an earlyish night. We walked up to 6th Street just for the hell of it, and as we were walking back to Baltimore Avenue to get the B again, I said something about being so stuffed from dinner that I couldn't imagine drinking anything, except maybe an ice cream drink if Brass Balls was closer. Bobby said, "Well, maybe we should take the B to Brass Balls!" I countered that, if we were going to wait for the B, then we might as well just walk, as it was only on 12th Street, so we did and sat out on the deck and people-watched and had drinks and ended up not having an early night at all.
People-watching ... has been capital yet again. It is Senior Week, the annual tradition where Maryland graduates come to Ocean City for the week and basically raise hell ... annoying, yes, but bearable to both of us, since we wouldn't be in the profession we're in if we couldn't tune out teenagers being annoying. Spotting Glass Joe did indeed predict a weekend of excellent people-watching. Some observations:
- As soon as we arrived yesterday, we were walking behind a guy that I named Buttcrack Billy because he was very tanned and wearing very much too-small-for-him shorts that revealed about two inches of pasty-white ass, including a generous amount of crack. We hustled past him pretty fast.
- Clothing with low-cut or cut-out backs seems to be popular this year. Some of it is cute (though not something I'd likely wear myself), but I don't understand why a person would buy something like that and then not invest in proper undergarments to go with it. A cut-out back is ruined by the presence of a turquoise bra five hooks wide glaring out of it. /sartorial snarking
- We saw a Senior Week idiot get picked up by the cops on the Boardwalk for drinking something out of one of those Solo cups that seem to be used exclusively for drinking alcohol out of. There was at least one cop per block on the Boardwalk on account of some Senior Week activity-turned-violent last year. Why why why would you do something so dumb? (This is rhetorical.) With so many people acting like assclowns for Senior Week, some inconspicuous illicit activity would go unremarked upon.
- Not really a people-watching observation, but I had never realized the Ocean City had so many horse cops. It is pretty commonplace to see one clopping down the Boardwalk. But last night, we saw four. One was riding a pinto horse on the beach that stopped to nose through a trashcan. (The horse, not the cop.) I have no interest in working in law enforcement, but if I was promised that I could be a horse cop? Especially if I could ride a pinto horse that noses through garbage like a giant dog?? I might honestly think about it.
- There is something about being on the Boardwalk in a social group that seems to make inappropriate clothing choices seem appropriate. We saw a guy in a Mexican sombrero and lots of young men in Hawaiian leis. And what is up with the young guys wearing speedo swimsuits?? UGH. Also, the non-ironic wearing of Hawaiian shirts seems to be popular this year.
- We saw two different guys in two different groups wearing the same ridiculous clothing pattern. One was shorts and one was a shirt. It was black with pink flowers and looked like a grandmother's old couch. I told Bobby that if they smelled of mothballs and Basic cigarettes, it would be the complete package.
I will leave you with that olfactory image because Bobby is back from surfing and it is time to go to lunch.
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