Monday, September 11, 2006

Return to Blogging

I am currently sitting on the balcony of the timeshare we ended up in at Hilton Head Island, SC, by virtue of having won a week here in a fundraising silent auction for a local college. A week in Hilton Head can be expensive, but we got this vacation for a pretty good price, although I don’t remember exactly how much/little. With my Macanudo and Glenfiddich and my laptop, I’m ready to resume blogging, which I had temporarily suspended in order to not interfere with the 9-11 tribute for Jim Greenleaf, a victim of the Twin Towers attack, that I posted last week.

My blogging experience has been an interesting one. Initially, I used the site as a way to continue writing political commentary after my stint as a newspaper editor ended in August of 2001, and I got fed up with bulletin boards. This blog has been going for two years, and I had another one for a short time prior to this one.

Mostly I have written political columns here, and when I had other types of things I wanted to publish I used other blogs for that. I have one that is titled “Reflections” for things of a personal nature, and I have one that is titled “A Little Levity” where I post humorous things. Jokes, mostly. I have just about decided that it really doesn’t make much sense to have three when two will do.

Hilton Head is a great place, although it’s hotter than the hinges of the gates of Hell in the hard summer. These days, it is very tolerable, with temps in the low 80s and not too much humidity. We picked this particular time of year because of the milder temperatures, because both our kids are now in college, and because everyone else’s kids are in school, too. Well, almost everyone else’s. Some minor-to-moderate inconvenience at the pool yesterday (Sunday) caused by kids whose parents weren’t paying attention broke the otherwise-pleasant atmosphere. But dinner tonight was a pure pain.

We chose a place called King’s Wharf because it looked like a good place, had a nice selection of food, and it was close. We chose to sit outside on the deck overlooking what the proprietor chose to call a “lagoon” with the Wharf’s very own 4-foot alligator swimming around. So far, so good. Unfortunately, the lady who seated us put us next to a table with two families that had a total of four children, all under the age of six years. I have nothing against kids, mind you, as I have raised four of them, ages 36, 33, 20 and 18. I know something about kids, young and old. Wife #1 and I, and my better half, Diane, and I, have always been sensitive to how our children behaved in public. If only our neighbors on the deck had been as considerate.

Or even aware.

They screamed when one of the dads tried to keep them from climbing on the railing above the alligator; they cried when they popped their balloon animal; they wailed when mom went to the bathroom without them. The moms and dads went merrily on talking, stuffing their faces, answering nature’s call with nary a care for the mayhem their progeny were causing. You got the feeling that screaming and crying were normal parts of their day. I wonder what those parents were thinking about. I wonder what kind of parents they had. I wonder what those kids are going to be like as adults.

I asked the waitress if we had to pay extra for the pleasure of sitting next to those obnoxious, screaming kids; she said that we didn’t. We paid our bill, and split.

When we got back to the condo, we encountered more confused people. When the security people aren’t manning the gate, you have to enter a code in a computerized terminal to open the gates (the kind you find at a railroad crossing). The people in the car sitting at the gate when we arrived seemed not to realize that the gate would not recognize them and open automatically. They had stopped not near the terminal, but in the middle of the lane. We were trapped out on the main road, blocking traffic waiting for the first car to move. We waited. They sat there. We waited some more. They sat there some more. People behind us were tooting their horns. Apparently the folks in that car at the gate thought some divine power would recognize their dilemma and help them. It didn’t. Finally, a large lady exited the passenger side, slowly ambled around the front of the car. We thought: “At last, she’s going to enter the code and open the gate.” She didn’t. She stood there looking at the terminal as if she had never seen such a sight before. She kept gesturing as if she just couldn’t understand what was wrong. That is particularly curious, because when you check in, they explain all of this to you.

The person in the car behind us decided to go around us and pull up near the terminal and save those poor souls from themselves. That’s what we should have done. But even that didn’t work. When the gate opened the large lady was stunned and just stood there, blocking the path of the person who had entered the code, and who obviously was anxious to go inside. Code entered a second time; both cars go through; lady stunned again. The lady finally moves through the gate, and is nearly hit by it when it closes. She seemed … stunned.

We finally got through the gate and into the condo, and now out onto the balcony to enjoy a truly delightful evening. A good Scotch and a good cigar can cure an enormous amount of frustration. Tomorrow, we take a boat trip to Savannah for the day. That sounds like a great time. I pray no children are on the boat. Or in Savannah.

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