They’re HEEEEeeeere! Hopefully, as you read the first two words, in your head you heard them in the voice of little Carol Anne from the classic 80’s movie Poltergeist. That’s what I was going for. I even used upper and lower case E’s to denote a change in note and pitch. If it helps the effect, go turn your TV on but unplug your cable so that there’s only snow on the screen and read it again out loud. It’s to imply that something creepy, and ominous is approaching. Some super human force that we will fear and be powerless against – at least for the next four months or so. That’s right friends; it’s the kick off to another “in” season in our cute little seasonal resort town. Though the seasons are not nearly as defined or segregated as they once were, Memorial Weekend still generally marks the starting line for a four-month sprint.

Pretty soon, you’ll be able to tell those who have lived here a really long time from those who’ve either not been here long enough, or are just chronic whiners. The seasoned veterans don’t rush either season. We take the good with the bad on a year round basis. It’s a small price to pay to live in a town where you can watch the sun rise and set over bodies of water every day, and a cocktail is never more than a quarter mile away. To many, this is paradise. You’ll never hear the true vets complain about the temperatures, or the amount of people in town, regardless of the time of year. It all comes out in the wash.
On the other hand, it’s easy to find those who just don’t quite get it yet. Unfortunately, they are in the majority. You’ll be hearing them within the next few weeks. It usually only takes until about mid June for their ugly heads to rear. You’ll hear them say witty things like, “I can’t wait til October.” Or, “Only X number of days to go til we get our town back.” Or, “I can’t take this traffic!” Or, “It’s too damn hot, I can’t stand this!” You don’t have to go far to find these people, or to hear any of these lines said. I almost guarantee that most of you will hear at least one of these lines, probably verbatim, within the next three weeks. These folks won’t say them just once or twice. They’ll recite them incessantly over the next several months until all of the people who provide them with their livelihood have gone.

AND THEN…all of these very same unhappy people will start complaining about how broke they are, how boring and quiet the town is, and how cold it is. They’ll now spend the next several months saying things like, “Man, I’m broke; I can’t wait til the people come back.” Or, “I can’t take this cold weather. I wish it would get hot again soon.” Now keep in mind that these quotes in the last two paragraphs are coming from the SAME people. Take some advice from a guy who’s been on Senior Week for 25 years now. Don’t rush either season. Take the good with the bad. Be the ant instead of the grasshopper for a change and you’ll get through the winter. Accept, enjoy, and be thankful for the fact that you live at the beach. There are people who go their entire lives without ever seeing an ocean in person. You can lay in your own bed and smell it. You don’t have to shovel heat, and you don’t have to mow cold, so quit complaining.

Let’s now do a quick review of the early portion of the 2013 season. A few weeks ago, we had the cruisers, or hot rodders, or classic car people, or whatever you choose to call them, or they choose to call themselves. In any event, it seemed to be a pretty massive turnout. Folks came from hundreds of miles in every direction (well, except east), to line the sidewalks along Coastal Highway with beach chairs, Styrofoam coolers, blankets, and tripod mounted video cameras as if it were the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. They’ll sit for as many as sixteen hours staring intently at the vehicles of complete strangers, even cheering loudly if someone revs just right, or lays a little rubber. Now don’t get me wrong, I dig good old classic American made muscle and steel just as much as the next guy, I just have a little trouble wrapping my head around the whole concept. These people are all staring at the road while I keep looking up expecting to see a massive Snoopy float passing over. It never happens though, and I’m perpetually disappointed.

I know I’ve told you this story before, but every time the cruisers are in town, I’m reminded of the time several years ago when I got pulled over by one of OC’s finest while driving my 1989 Toyota Tercel hatchback. It was the middle of the afternoon, and the car at the time was approximately 14 years old. I’m a bit of a saver. Anyway, to make the story brief, I was issued a citation, and repair order because my tail pipe had a hole in it, and my car was too loud. I evidently was creating a public nuisance. To those of you not familiar with the awesome piece of machinery know as the ’89 Tercel, I’ll describe it to you. It had roughly the same horsepower as a two-man bobsled team. In fact, if those two vehicles were in a race, the Tercel would more than likely lose. It’ went 0 to 60 in just over nine weeks, assuming you lived somewhere with a pretty steep hill. Its top speed was 48 miles per hour. And yet, I was issued a ticket from a young man who somehow was able to keep a straight face throughout the process. Keep up the good work.

I have one other fun ritual I try to perform annually when these vehicularly enamored people are in town. (I just blew spell check’s mind). I found myself sitting front row, center lane at a stop light in my beloved Honda Odyssey. (And yes, I do in fact refer to my wife’s car as the Iliad.) I found myself flanked by a ’68 GTO, and a ’69 Camaro, two amazing pieces of both machinery, and pure Americana. They were both revving viciously in anticipation of the pending green light. I could feel the vibrations from both vehicles all the way to my core. I’m convinced, that if I sat there long enough under those conditions, my rapidly aging Chia Pet of a prostate would have eventually given up causing me to soil myself. So I threw the Man Van into neutral, put the best psychotic look I could muster on my face, and started revving. I whipped by head back and forth violently looking at each of the other two drivers as if to say “who wants some!” The light turned green, and I took off. Were it not for a very last second push by the Camaro, I would have won instead of taking a very close second. I had a pretty good head start though since both of the other drivers were sitting behind laughing hysterically at this pathetic, middle aged idiot in an elephant grey, French fry, crayon and juice box filled dork wagon. I’m not ashamed of it, and I don’t even live vicariously through anyone any more. I just convince myself in my state of perpetual delusion that I’m so cool that I transcend all conventional wisdom. I’ve broken through to the other side into a paradox of coolness. And mini vans are freakin’ awesome. In this world, if I wanted to, I could rock a fanny pack and people would stop on the street to ogle me with near salivating envy. Either that, or I couldn’t possibly care less what anyone else thinks about me who doesn’t live in my own house. Whichever one you choose to believe.

Well, I’m going to leave you with that this week, and I didn’t even get into Memorial weekend yet…

Thanks for playing along.

Until next week,

Syd Nichols