Monday, July 29, 2013

Grand Avenue

There's a plastic sign on the wall that says, "PLEASE NOTE OUR CHECK OUT TIME. 10 AM. AFTER THE ABOVE TIME ANOTHER DAY WILL BE CHARGED. LEAVE KEY AT OFFICE. HAVE YOU LEFT ANYTHING? THANK YOU. COME AGAIN."

The hair dryer is inexpertly screwed to the wall, and falling off. The door takes a real key, clipped to a green plastic rectangle: 19. Room 19

The furniture has white paint, shaded light brown at the edges. In many places it's chipped and worn to bare wood.

A train goes by every few hours, out back, a few feet from the jacuzzis. It blasts a whistle and shakes the room.

The rooms are on the sides of a U with a parking lot in the middle and the pool at the bottom of the loop. We are on Grand Avenue: a street of old motels with outdoor pools, T-shirt shops, mom and pop shops,  pizza places, a Greek restaurant, and a candy store.  At the end of the Avenue is a carnival with scary rides and more shops.

Our favorite housekeeper is from Romania. She cleaned motel rooms all morning and then we saw her working a kiddie ride at the carnival in the evening. The girl in the candy store is from Turkey. She asked me how Bonono Turkish Taffy got it's name. I said I didn't know. She didn't either.

Across Grand Avenue is a path to the beach. A white sand beach on the Atlantic Ocean. A beach with hundreds of tourists. Maybe thousands.

There is also a synagogue. A man came to clean inside this morning. One year I saw people go inside on a Saturday night, to express their religious beliefs. What's it called when you must have enough people? A quorum? That's the right word for a board meeting, but I can't remember the right word in this instance.

The other guests here at our motel are from New York, Vermont, and Quebec. There are a lot of people from Quebec. Big family groups.

The Quebecois get three rooms in a row and gather in the parking lot to talk and smoke. They go to the beach even when it's 62 degrees, windy, and misty. They dig big holes in the sand and place their chairs in there, out of the wind. They swim and toss frisbees. They drink beer and smoke cigars and cigarettes. They talk and talk and I don't know what they are saying. Then they come back to the motel and get in the jacuzzis and pool. They drink more beer, barbecue burgers, and smoke more cigarettes.

The sun came out this afternoon. We lined up on the dry sand as the tide came crashing in. Frothy white on the green waves. Sky foggy around the edges. Thousands of us on the beach. Pizza, beer, and cigarettes. Boogie boards, beach chairs, and bikinis. Wind, rain, fog, mist, and then the sun. It was grand. 

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