As a full-time New Jersey shore resident, I am grateful that I live a few blocks from the ocean in a place where many people save their hard-earned money to visit for just a few days or weeks. But instead of painting a false picture about living in “paradise,” I’m going to be honest about what my life is really like living in a place where everyone around you is on vacation.
Dear tourists: Please know, my life is not your vacation, unless your vacation involves impatiently waiting for strangers to get their tantrum-throwing toddlers to quiet down and move the hell out of the way when you’re just trying to walk from your car to your house.
Or random people sitting on my porch steps (to put shoes on, reposition all the shit they are carrying, or wait for their slow-ass friends to catch up). And giving directions. All. The. Time.
Even with all the nuisances of being a full time shore-dweller, I love it. And while summer is my favorite season, here are the things I will not miss now that summer is officially over:
1. Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed vacationers waking up super-early to get a great spot on the beach and talking and laughing and yelling at each other as they walk past my house. Um, it’s Saturday morning. Some people worked all week and want to sleep in. So thanks.
2. People who rent beach cruiser bicycles, in spite of the obvious fact that they haven’t been on a bicycle in years. These people love riding on the wrong side of the road. Slow as hell. But that is in no way worse than ...
3. Road bikes with cyclists wearing helmets on the boardwalk. Do you really think you’re going to actually ride your bike? Or did you come out here because you love weaving around beach-goers and boardwalk mosey-ers at four miles per hour? Is this fun for you?
4. People walking in the middle of the street, because, um, I can’t even figure out why. Maybe they saw it on a brochure or something? Don’t you see my car? Don’t you see the sidewalk?
5. The parking problem. We don’t have assigned parking. Or driveways. So when we buy groceries, we get to park illegally, dump all the stuff inside the house and pray for a spot that’s less than a quarter-mile away.
6. Children throwing tantrums because they have to wait in a long-ass line and they can’t be first. If you’d like to give your kid a nice reality check on how they are not the center of the universe, take them out for ice cream in my town. The 30-minute line is a good test of endurance. (For you and your kid.)
7. People walking in a large group, slow as hell, then fanning out and stopping short when I am only a few feet behind them and trying to get to my car. Is there an unspoken assumption of owning the entire span of sidewalk/boardwalk/footpath among vacationers? Why does this happen?
The joyful exclamation of “Yay! We’re finally here!” when kids and adults get out of their cars and look around is always a refreshing reminder to appreciate where I live, but all the locals are glad that vacation season is over. Some people look forward to sweatshirts and fireplace fires and extra blankets and autumn leaves. Not me. I look forward to my personal space and peace and quiet.