Jul 272008

As I publish this, we’re headed home from three nights in Gulf Shores. It’s been a good trip. The weather has smiled on us, and we’ve gotten a lot of high-quality beach time in:

Lea is such a babe:

We stayed at Gulf Shores Plantation, which is our go-to down here. It’s two-thirds of the way to Fort Morgan down 180, which puts us far enough away from the touristy stuff in Gulf Shores proper to enjoy our beach time, but close enough to restaurants and so forth to be there when we want to be.

It’s been an unusual trip, in some regards. This is the second trip in a row that we haven’t been to Lambert’s. We didn’t go to Mellow Mushroom either, because we’re about to get one at home. We didn’t hit the Foley outlets at all this time. We did go to Mikee’s, the Original Oyster House, Tacky Jack’s, and Gulf Shores Steamer. (More to follow below on the latter two.) No new beer discoveries this time; the trip was fueled by Road Dog and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Some further highlights:

Our Hyper-Securing Owners
Gulf Shores Plantation contains privately-owned condominiums, so it’s usual to find a locked closet or cabinet in each unit. Folks want to keep some personal stuff on hand, of course. However, this is the first trip (out of six or seven times down) that we’ve found such a substantial percentage of space locked. Check this out:

Stack after stack of $100s? Brick after brick of a potent Peruvian cocaine hybrid? Trilateral Commission meeting minutes? Who knows?

Unsettling as all of that is, check this one out:

Now this is in the master bathroom, which makes it at least moderately disturbing. All the hell we need is to wind up on fattourists.com, for you $19.95/month sickos out there to peruse. I found that the door would open enough for me to have a decent look inside with a flashlight, and best I can tell, they’re locking up an extra towel bar, some linens, and a board game or two. I found no evidence of cameras. Still, if you see me, let me know. And I apologize.

My Inner Redneck
We had lunch at Tacky Jack’s on Saturday, and everything was lovely, but my mostly-suppressed inner redneck did show himself at one point. (I really am ashamed to tell this part of the story, but that’s what makes it good blogging fodder, I suppose. Oprahfication of the country, blah, blah, blah).

Nathan had to go to the restroom. It’s a single-seater. I sent him by himself, because I could see him, and knew he would be in there by himself, so no problem. Follow? OK.

So he tries the door. It’s locked. He turns back to me and gives me a shoulder shrug, and in that time, the door behind him opens, and this surfer dude-type hurries in there. This second guy saw my kid try the door. Follow? OK.

I’m a bit irritated, but I think no big deal; short-term problem. Then the minutes start ticking by, with Nathan standing at the door. I’m pretty even-keel up to five. The anger begins building at six. At eight I’m mad. At nine I’m furious. At ten I am a man possessed.

I walk the twenty feet to the door, pound on it three times hard enough to shake it in the frame, and yell “HEY, MY SIX-YEAR-OLD HAS TO PISS! ARE YOU ALMOST DONE?” He mutters something through the door, it opens 20 seconds later, and Nathan goes in. I walk back to my seat, vaguely aware that the entire restaurant is silent and watching me do so.

The din slowly comes back online. Nathan comes back from the restroom. The manager walks over and asks “Do you have a problem?” I answer “No sir.” He steps back to the bar. We’re there for another ten minutes as everyone at the table finishes lunch. I pay the check, and we leave. Lea and the boys are first through the exit; as I’m leaving, I hear a single person applauding.

Yeah, I deserved it. Cool? Oh, certainly not. There was an injustice being done—I don’t know what the hell that kid was doing in the bathroom for ten minutes, but I didn’t smell anything, dig?—but that was not the way to handle it.

In the first place, it’s rude. I am acutely aware that I am setting a continuous example for the boys, and this was not anything approaching reasonable conflict resolution. As George Costanza remarked more than once: “you know, we’re living in a society here!” I didn’t make a big deal of it after the fact, and I don’t think either one of the boys noticed. I did apologize to Lea later.

In the second place, it’s a good way to get my ass kicked. I have a commanding voice and (unfortunately) an imposing size about me, but I don’t have the horsepower to back up a would-you-like-to-step-outside, okay? I was not challenged this day, but I easily could have been, because I was that guy. It’s unlikely the end result would have been positive, had it come to something beyond the verbal.

I did get this cool microcosm-of-society photo on the way out:

Gulf Shores Steamer
The day recovered nicely. Jim, Amy, and their two boys happened to be in Gulf Shores at the same time we were, so we met them for dinner at Gulf Shores Steamer, where nothing is fried. It’s their favorite place, but it was a new place for us, and it’s definitely in our regular rotation now. Here is the steamer plate for two:

That’s an imposing $35.95 pile of red royal shrimp, crab legs, oysters, mussels, new potatoes, and corn. Lea and I shared it, and it was outstanding.

Here is Amy with me after dinner:

I love Amy to bits, and cherish her friendship. We have huge circuits of similar wiring, to the point that she and I were slam-dunk boyfriend-girlfriend under different circumstances. As it happened, we met with each of us already happily married, which is the only way we could have possibly been friends forever. Had we met single, we’d have had an intense couple of months followed by a thoroughly caustic breakup. So God bless circumstance.

So we had some engaging beach times, great food, familiar friends in unfamiliar locales, and some societal (re-)education, and it’s all good, but I don’t think any of us will complain about hitting our own pillows tonight.

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 Posted by at 6:24 am

  8 Responses to “Gulf Shores 2008”

  1. You know what? I could TOTALLY see that scene playing out as you described it. You’re right, of course; you did handle it badly (and Nathan (and probably Aaron) saw you do it, but it’s done and you move on.

    One of the things I so greatly respect about you (and there are many) is that you’re so aware of your propensity to overreaction. You’ve actively worked on it; you’ve been mindful and careful about bringing it under control. Lesser people don’t do that; lesser people expect the world to adjust to them. You’re also willing to admit that you still sometimes do shit like this, and that takes guts.

    I love you.

    I’m also glad I don’t vacation with you. That’s a %39.95 plate of anaphylactic shock for me, right there. JEEZ! I couldn’t even eat the corn at that point – it’s been contaminated.

    And, yes; Lea is a babe.

  2. Gulf Shores. Is that part of the Redneck Riviera?

    We had a sojourn at Destin once. Of all things, we went into an antique shop, found a beautiful old English credenza with curved glass doors. Walnut (veneer of course). We still have that piece and it is still beautiful. It was delivered all the way from Destin to our then-home in Fort Lauderdale.

    As for the bathroom. In my road travels I have, a few times, been stranded in need outside a toilet while someone inside did, well, whatever they were doing. I never reacted when they came out, but did I think of some things to say? Of course.

    So phooey on that surfer dude.

  3. Sorry you had a tense lunch; it happens. It shouldn’t happen, but hey, you are a human, with human flaws.

  4. Chili: Thanks for your kind words. It was really my son in the middle of it that escalated the anger beyond reason, and I need to be mindful of that. Stuff’s going to happen to him too–it’s part of life–and though I’ll certainly do my damnedest to keep him from getting railroaded while he’s young, this was probably a good time for an after-event discussion, rather than a live demonstration of assholishness.

    Gerry: Indeed, it’s the heart of the Redneck Riviera! We love Gulf Shores. May have a place there one day. Destin is nice too. It’s where my dad used to do his annual fishing trip, and Lea and I stayed there a few times ourselves.

    ‘seester: I agree in that I shouldn’t obsess about it, but I do consider it something beyond a minor faux pas. I shall endeavor to prevent its recurrence. 🙂

  5. If you have a place there someday, we might be neighbors, then. I absolutely love it down there. But, mostly during the off-season. I’d have to flee away during the summers.

  6. […] one morning, where I was delighted to discover that I wasn’t blacklisted for my behavior last time.  […]

  7. […] at Tacky Jack’s yesterday, and I’m pleased to report that for the second year in a row, I did not behave like an unhinged redneck.  Went on ahead to Fort Morgan, on Lea’s spur-of-the-moment […]

  8. Wow, I wonder how long I’ve had that blue pen? I still carry it today. There is a little ding in the chrome on the top of it, and there’s a small spot where the finish is worn on the body, but otherwise it’s still thoroughly presentable. I’m a big Cross fan.

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