Yesterday was the fifth of July and I did absolutely nothing of consequence. I think our founding fathers did enough, two hundred and thirty-three years ago, and the country didn't need me to add to their little rebellion, revolution...whatever. Actually, all I had was one Geo. Washington in my wallet and on this little island of love, that don't get you far at all. Christ, Jitney bus fares are now two dollars and twenty-five cents. I sat in the house and watched telly, I sat on the porch and read a book, I sat in the backyard and looked at the bugs and shoobies doing their thing. Both were disturbing and annoying. I weeded the little flower garden that lines the back fence, watered said flowers, grass, bushes, front yard. It was a very relaxing and a very boring way to spend the holiday.
I was hankering for a walk but the sun was out in it's full glory. Luckily it wasn't hot, just bright and I really didn't feel like slathering sunblock three-thousand all over me just to take a little constitutional. It's sticky, smelly and uncomfortable. The stuff works (and I definitely need it) but I try to avoid using it when I can. So I waited through the day for the beginning of sunset (which is around eight or nine at night) to take a nice, long healthy walk.
I also figured that waiting until later on the Sunday of a holiday weekend would also help me avoid the mass of shoobies that infest my city each year.
Boy was I dead wrong.
A bit of dumb luck was on my side for the first part of my walk. I started off in Ventnor (a block from the Wawa for those who know the area) and strolled down Atlantic Avenue, looking at the clouds in the sky, the people on their porches and dodging the cars that tried to kill me when I crossed the streets. I made it to Atlantic City in one piece and found myself on Pacific Avenue, wandering by The Knife and Fork, peering in to see if Becky from the Art of Flowers was there. It's one of her favourite haunts. She wasn't and I continued along Pacific, noting the lack of Eastern European kids in the city this year. Usually by now, you can't walk ten feet without hearing Russian or Ukrainian or Estonian or some other Slavic language. Now, there are so few in the area and I've heard it's because there weren't enough jobs so they issued far fewer work visas. Before I knew it, I was down by Caesars and I decided to cut through to the boardwalk to see how things were there.
My first clue should have been the mass of people in the casino itself. Just trying to get past the zombie slot players was a chore and I took the steps (the gods know these well fed Americans weren't going to use the stairs!) and made my way to the boards. Insane! It was like those Fifties movies where you see so many people on the beach, no one can move! I was astounded that the city was still so bloody busy! I zigged and zagged through the crowd, my years of training by working in a casino really helped and before I knew it, I was down by Resorts. That's where the insane shoobie woman was running around, screaming something about "NOOO! The fleas!!!!" and jumping up and down in a circle and ducking her friends. She was truly Ancora crazy and I somehow ended up in the middle of the crowd that began to surround her (as they always do for some strange reason). I found the nearest exit through these really cute surfer boys and ran up the three outside levels of steps and into Tramp Touch My Hole...err...I mean...Trump Taj Mahal. I wandered down the enormous hallway to Plate, the restaurant where my friend Carlos works but I couldn't find him. It was surprisingly slow in the casino but I figured everyone was outside on the boards. I took the steps down through the main atrium and made my exit out the front door, ducking the army of Asians and dashing past the little Indian lady in full sari and smoking like a fiend.
I took Pacific Avenue again, this time facing West but by now, the sun had made it's way low on the horizon and I was safe from it's evil rays. Strangely, the traffic was light along the avenue, in harsh counter-point to the crush of humanity on the boardwalk, a block away. I kept my pace brisk and sailed down the street until, once again, I was at Caesars.
Here's where I had my own moment of madness and went BACK into Caesars to the boardwalk to once again attempt walking through the masses.
I gave up rather quickly. I ducked into the Boardwalk Hall underpass that exits from the boards to Pacific because no one goes through there because it's scary and dark. I finished my walk down Pacific and finally made it back home.
Where I sat and did nothing.