CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I've spent the past several days on a North Carolina beach, adding to my freckle collection. I figure if I crowd those freckles tight enough together, I might actually look tan. (Not easy when you're slathered head to toe in mega sunblock.)
It's early in the morning, not long after sunrise, when I write this. With my roommates, it's the ideal time to write, as they're essentially comatose. It's like vacationing with vampires. Allergic not only to sunrise, but also to the first several hours that follow.
(This early hour isn't, however, the best time to use the hotel's business center, which seems to be doubling as a nursery, and not the kind that grows plants. Although based on the fragrance, fertilizer is present.)
Several months back, a family member had offered us the use of their Myrtle Beach condo for free. At that time, our station wagon was about as reliable a car as anyone could hope to own. Both were major factors in my agreeing to take my daughter and three friends to the beach for Celeste's 13th birthday.
When the family member reneged on the condo, Celeste was so crushed I found a somewhat affordable hotel. And I actually got to enjoy a few days as a hero before the car went kaplooey.
Yeah. I'm a softie. I got a rental.
Truth be told, I'm glad I didn't go the responsible route and force her to learn one of those life lessons she's due for down the road. There aren't many opportunities for a 45-year-old to revisit being a 13-year-old in such a thorough fashion as I've experienced this week.
I've learned much the past few days. For instance, it isn't just teen boys who have vulturelike tendencies. While I took a quick shower, they downed a large pizza, a gross of Pop-Tarts, a liter of green tea, and half a gallon of milk.
I've also learned that if I'm peacefully floating in the ocean and notice the girls all happily waving at me at the same time, it isn't because they're feeling friendly. It's because I'm about to get swallowed by the ocean.