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From summer mania to off-season monotony

September 17, 2017

Yes, we finally made it to Labor Day weekend. Like the last runner in a marathon, we stumbled across the seasonal finish line into the arms of a cool fall. And as the country western song philosophizes, "Thank God and Greyhound,” they're gone. OK, now that a majority of the tourists have left and we will have returned to some semblance of normalcy, I remember the feeling from last year. In other words, we are about to be lonely.

And nothing knows more about loneliness than country western music. It's full of heartache, betrayal with your best friend, broken loves, divorce and meeting up with old lovers. Most of this is relayed while hanging over the counter of a saloon at three in the morning. But the great thing about these country western music sagas is that all is forgiven in the end. Creepy!

Anyhow, here and now, it will be way too quiet. A small bug splattering on my windshield almost had me jumping out of my tight leotard, which incidentally I'm told is the new attire for the fall. But I constantly have a thought that keeps running through my mind, the thread being that the reason no one is around is because they are off someplace else having more fun than I am. Of course that would be a given in any season, not just the end of summer.

I've built up such anger and rage over the summer that now I won't be able to function without it. I'm like a drug addict prowling the streets, looking for that fix; all I need is just one more distracted driver, one more rude gesture or at the very least, someone without a turn signal on. Is that too much to ask? I promise to go into anger management rehab if you'd just give me someone bolting across three lanes of traffic. I have so little in my life.

I remember one day, I gradually followed other cars on Route 1 to see where everyone was going, but then it turned out they were following me because they too could feel the isolation and loneliness. There is no one to yell at, no traffic to bite your nails over and worst of all, no major driving attitude. And yesterday, someone actually let me cut in front of them while I was driving the speed of sound. What's up with that?

I'll admit, the seasons have made changes we longed for, but now that they’re here, we're not so sure. I will tell you there is one thing about this resort that never changes, though; it is a constant. And that is the beach. On any given day, the sky is capable of waking up and smiling lazily on a cerulean blue palette. It accents itself with lacy-white, puffy clouds. Someone will be flying a kite and giggling to see its multicolored triangle and tail bobbing and weaving. Lots of folks walk the sand, heads bent, looking for that perfect seashell or smooth stone polished by the ocean.

There is no hint of technology here, as old friends greet each other and young children run in circles chasing seagulls. You don't need anyone here. You don't need to be lonely. I think we know that we are a nation of lonely people. We often feel isolated, even in the middle of a mob of pedestrians. But this never happens where there is sand, water and the sounds of nature.

The ocean reminds us of how temporary our troubles and sadness are, especially in the face of larger devastation. We are encouraged to keep focused on the real importance of life and how we live it. No worries here. No loneliness here. Just summer memories. And dogs that are overjoyed to be back to the smells of the beach.

Wait, wait a minute! Someone just pulled out in front of me! Forget the beach; this is nirvana. 

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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