Saturday, June 30, 2012

Escape From Almost Alcatraz

Pandemonium too grand and a surfeit of people living loud and partying long, Friday morning found me skedaddling from my beachside haven to parts removed. Basket case pretty much describes my nerve jangled condition this past week, the beach starting to look like the place not to be—and with 4th of July festivities just over the horizon. In the words of my also frazzled neighbor, “Get out while the getting is good!” So I threw some gear in a bag and headed for Maitland, to my sister’s empty house fifty miles west where the blessed quiet has already begun restoring my sanity.

Last Saturday brought the invasion of a wedding party of fifty or sixty adults, who along with their beach trappings and wedding baggage all brought five children under the age of ten. By noon my quiet spot on the beach had morphed into Wet ’n Wild at high season. Loud disco music thumped from speakers set up around the pool, the water seethed with a mass of children and their water toys, while forty big-bellied men stood around pouring can after can of beer down the hatch. Others stood on their balconies having shouted conversations with people on opposite balconies across the wide courtyard. Over my head a child drummed on the balcony railing sending resonant vibrations through half the building. I looked out the window to see a plastic bottle of Coke tumbling down from a floor above, and when it hit the brick walkway and burst into a foaming spin, the waiting munchkin screeched in fury that his drink lay spilled on the ground. 

Heading out for a walk early Sunday morning, I found the shower and hose both spouting water, left to run all night, and nearby trash cans stuffed to overflowing with a ring of beer cans and pizza crust around the base, the oceanfront deck littered with cigarette butts, the sand off the front of the deck an oversized ashtray. On a table by steps leading down to the beach one of our guest clowns had arranged a spill of soggy corn chips into a plate-sized smiley face.

Later in the afternoon I watch a father playing catch with his six year-old son, throwing a football from his second floor balcony down to the boy at ground level. The ball bounced onto my patio two times before I said anything. Maybe I should learn to keep my mouth shut. With the pounding disco beat unbearably loud, I walked down to the pool to remind the Shake that Booty Dance Team that house rules disallowed music around the pool without earphones. I was almost attacked by a woman with three pounds of turquoise and silver attached to her navel, screaming, “I paid my money and I’m gonna have music, dammit!” The crowd in the pool shook their beer cans and hissed at me. The property manager was having a harder time of it than I was.

The mid-week wedding ceremony (seen from a distance) turned out to be a dusty pink eyesore. I had a feeling the wedding planner told the bridesmaids design didn’t much matter if their dresses were something close to pink. The only thing that matched were the beer cans.


  1. Bill, I relived every minute of that with you!!!
    Hope that Maitland finds some "relief" for you. Enjoyed the post as always, Karen

  2. Happy that at last you are in peace and quiet.

  3. Apparently the revelers are not aware there is a well-known blogger in the house or they would take their bad behavior elsewhere.
    Remember, man, this is the South, where "He needed killin', your honor" is a valid defense. Or pick up the July issue of Southern Living, last page, and chill with Rick Bragg's latest essay, "The Eternal Gulf".

  4. I'm glad we weren't there to see that display, but I can picture every bit of it from your vivid description! Must have been some wedding!

  5. Yes, the answer was to leave. The only alternative was to drink heavily all weekend, put your boom box on the patio with an endless string of operas at full-blast, and run around (drunkenly, of course) to everyone saying, "Rodney said the cops are on the way because Edna said she put cobra venom in the pool."


About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America