Friday, September 4, 2009
OK, "Motel Hell" is a bit strong for this place but it was a catchier title than "Motel That Gives Me a Sinus Headache" or "Motel with Creepy Black Marks on the Bathtub Floor." Not everything about this place is terrible—the beach is 20 feet away. Walk up a flight of stairs from the parking lot, cross the boardwalk, and you hit the dunes. And right outside your room is a deck (carpeted in electric blue astroturf strewn with beige and brown patio furniture) and you can stare out at the ocean, the clouds moving across the sky, the rides lit up at the far end of the boardwalk. While soaking in the scenery you can also listen to the screaming toddler who doesn't want to do something (I can't quite figure out what). The 5-year-old with the electronic sword that makes swooshing noises every time he slices the air, which he starts doing at 6:30 in the morning. Or the girl who pounded on our door, unnecessarily loudly at 7 today, until her mother came by, minutes later, to apologize saying she had the wrong room.
I love the air at the beach right now, slightly cool, salty with a mellow breeze. But our room doesn't have windows that open. It's like living in a ziploc bag. We can't open the shades either, as people are constantly walking back and forth past our room. Regardless of what it's like outside, our room is a stagnant, dark cave. We've got 4 people, 2 beds, and french fries from the boardwalk Entenmann's donuts, bottles of gatorade, purple cotton candy, slightly damp beach towels, rinsed out bathing suits, books, trashy magazines, countless half drunken bottles of Poland Springs water, Model Magic, and 15 trolls strewn over every available surface (I think I slept with a People magazine and 2 troll dolls. Our room comes with a "dressing room" which is really a closet with a pole, 4 hangers and a mini-fridge and microwave. The fridge is housing Jack's meds plus the giant bowl of pre-cut watermelon I insisted on picking up at Acme. It's hard to find fruits or vegetables when you're living on boardwalk fare. Onion rings don't count.
It feels like Sponge Bob is on ALL THE TIME, punctuated with short pauses for iCarly (which I like) or Drake and Josh (which I don't). Oh, and the penguins from Madagascar. Their theme music makes my heart pound. The great part of all our other beach vacations (when we rent a house and have time and space to stretch out and relax) is that we have time and space to stretch out and relax. We've been coming to Ocean City for 9 years and always rent a variation on the same house. Second floor of a 2-story, walk into the living room/dining room/kitchen with an island, deck off the front. Up 4 stairs to 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a washer/dryer halfway down the hall. This year, after a bat mitzvah road trip to NC was derailed due to a sick kid, we decided to come back for a few days before school, to soak up some sun, play that last round of mini-golf, and ride the bumper cars until we ran out of tickets. None of that's happened so far.
It's hard to motivate out of our stagnant cave. The lure of the boardwalk is less so when it's only steps away but the parts you actually want to go to are more than a mile hike to the other end. When you can't see the sky, who cares what it's like outside. And at this point I can't walk 10 minutes for my peanut butter and chocolate with chocolate sprinkles custard cones. That's its own tragedy.
We have one more night. One more night that I won't be able to sleep for more than an hour at a time, on a squeeky bed, breathing recycled dry air, needing to spray saline up my nose and drinking gallons of water so I have to wake up and pee yet again. One more day of whining kids who are used to vacation space and freedom. 24 more hours of walking on the almost soggy floor in our room, not quite carpet, not quite astroturf, just some slightly spongy material that's mildewed.
I want to go home. I want someone to come rescue me and say we don't have to stay, that we can forfeit the money for the 3rd night and leave. And I realize the person to do that is me. I can make that decision. I'll keep you posted.