Loud Bird Land

We’ve officially left the South, crossing over the Mason Dixon line away from the softly chirping birds and people waving to us from their porches.

Our waitress, Marge, 82, telling us the story about the customer who made her open several bottles of wine before asking for a cab
Our waitress, Marge, 82, telling us the story about the customer who made her open several bottles of wine before asking for a cab

I know we are getting close to New Jersey because the birds are loud and bossy. There are still turtles that never quite make it across the road and you can see their soft fleshy bodies under their smashed-in shells.

Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach, Virginia

At the Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware it may be normal for a couple of fat footed sticky haired dudes with their bottle blond and over bronzed ladies to swoop down in front of us and steal the next available seat at the bar. And it may be normal for an unremarkable young couple to edge out a couple of silvers who looked like they could really use a seat. There’s only a couple of roadkills to go around and the competition is brutal. The acoustics, ill equipped to muffle the loud crows and showy wiggles of long satin shorts on men too fat for their ladies but too ignorant to care.

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

And I paid $4.75 for a disappointing soft serve frozen custard on the boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach at 11am, because my mom once told me “if I ever get to the east coast, try the frozen custard”. I still hold on to the faith that I will find that jewel of the Northeast.

And we went on a tour of the brewery led by a girl with unfortunate legs where I missed some important facts about the brewery because the old ladies in front of me kept moving their head back and forth in front of me. Bravo, of course, for letting those legs hang out.

And the guy at the New Jersey Visitor center didn’t even say hello to me even though I was the only one in there. Outside, the note on the candy machine read “candy may be melted”. They know it and now I know it; it’s not very nice up here.

The fine for littering in Los Angeles is $1,000, and there is so much trash along the highways in Los Angeles that either the city could make a killing or nobody gives a shit. The fine for littering in Massachusetts is $5,000 but people are too busy worrying about the gypsy moth outbreak. In Rhode Island, the fine for littering in Rhode Island is a mere $500 and it is a very small but clean state.

In Delaware the homes are so tidy and primped and the communities so planned that we wondered why they are so good at covering up all the garbage they buy and garbage they throw away, and then we remembered that the beach we were at was a popular retreat for Washington, DC.

And a sign on the highway in New Jersey warns drivers not to be aggressive, and if they are what number to call. And the beach in New Jersey costs $10 per person, and if you are caught you will be kicked off the beach and onto a cesspool of last night’s vomit from the brassy haired Jersey girls. Police are known to line up along the shore watching for wayward surfers trying to approach the beach from the water.

Sunset over the bay behind Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Sunset over the bay behind Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

On the east coast the sun sets on the wrong side of the ocean, and people at the beach sit with their backs to the water. So sad. Some of the seagulls have dark black heads forming a straight line against their white bodies which looks like a pre-war helmet. They laugh at the other birds, or maybe at us for the foolish move of leaving the South. Of course, this is not surprising, given that they are called laughing gulls.

I can’t tell you who are the bigger assholes, Southerners or Northerners, city-folk or country-folk, but I can tell you that our country’s startup phase didn’t exactly go as planned, especially since we thought that the best place to set up camp was on a soft marshland in Virginia.

First off, there was the problem that the first batch of settlers were a bunch of rich English guys and didn’t know much about farming. And then oops, we showed up too late to plant anything. Then oops, we killed the natives who could have given us a hand in figuring things out. Oops, we ordered more supplies, and the ship got lost in the Bahamas. It’s really a wonder we’ve made it this far.

It might just be because we’re just a bunch of assholes. I know this because at this point in our journey, I’m being an asshole to my husband, and he’s being an asshole back. It’s a habit too hard to break even though we both know we love each other very much.

The boardwalk on the Jersey Shore on a cold rainy night
The boardwalk on the Jersey Shore on a cold rainy night

I wonder what would happen if we gave a shit about each other. I wonder what would happen if we weren’t afraid to interact with each other. I wonder what would happen if we weren’t so darn focused on getting our own fat asses propped up on our own chairs, instead of offering a chair to a cute little silver who just walked in.

It’s so easy for me to be critical of our country because I have chosen to opt out of “the system” of home ownership, a full time job, a family, and even medical care. The so-called low cost insurance is four times what it was when we couldn’t afford it, and even if we bucked up and paid for it, it wouldn’t cover us since we’re always out of our “home” state. I have been refused medical care because I don’t have health insurance and the receptionist would not allow me to pay cash. I could go on and on.

I know of course, that I have chosen to be free and roam the country, but I can’t help but finding this country a little bit ironic, and wonder what it may actually mean to be free.

My husband John with none other than Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione in Milton, Delaware