Monday, August 21, 2006

Rehoboth: Our Summer Vacation

This is a purely self-indulgent post, nothing really about sex-ed or anything, just telling you about my week.

Our family doesn't go to the beach much. Grandparents live thousands of miles away, so most vacations are trips back to visit them in Iowa or Arizona. I go to conferences, but that's hardly a vacation, when you have to chair sessions and present papers and stuff. We've had our times: we went to England last year; one year we just drove aimlessly and planlessly all around the northeastern US -- New England, Pennsylvania, upstate New York; we went to Denmark once, New York City once, just to see stuff.

Years ago my wife worked with someone who had a house in Bethany Beach that they rented out, and we stayed there a couple of times. It was nice and quiet, the beach was OK. But remember, we moved here from California, after living for years in Pismo Beach, and we may be spoiled. Bethany is conservative, peaceful -- the main thing it's known for, I think, is its speed trap. There's always a cop in the median along there. If you like sand and water, it's good enough, but we stopped going.

This year, we got a week in a house in Rehoboth in a silent auction at the PFLAG gala. We just got back home last night.

Friday we went over to Ocean City, to the big boardwalk. Basically that's like walking on any street in New York City, except people have their shirts off. If you're a people-person, you might like that, it's all high-rises and commercial stuff, arcades and fast-food and hairy backs and beer and fading tattoos. We had fun, I guess. The kids liked it because there's lots of free stuff for teenagers to do. Like, walk around and look at other teenagers. They even ran into a couple of kids they knew from Montgomery County.

On the way back to our rental from there, we stopped in Dewey Beach for some supplies. Friday night, the streets were packed with college-age kids, lookin' good, out to party. All miniskirts and ripping muscles and hair just-so, lots of laughter and jaywalking and youthful randomness. I like that, well, I'd like to be twenty-two again and hanging out in Dewey Beach. At this age, I am just another obstacle to walk around, a kind of empty volume in the environment. But ... that's Dewey.

Rehoboth doesn't really have any high-rise buildings to speak of. There's a beautiful little "downtown" area, several blocks long, with lots of funky and cute shopping and all kinds of restaurants. A few bars, mostly unobtrusive, though the rooftop at Hooters seemed like it might get a little rowdy sometimes.

Rehoboth is several things. First, it's a family resort area. The beach and boardwalk and main street have lots of kids, lots of families enjoying the sun and the clear air. The atmosphere in Rehoboth is ridiculously G-rated. It's the kind of town where parents can let the kids run ahead a block, or depending on their age, two, so Mom and Dad can be together a little bit and the kids can stretch their wings, and it's all safe and happy and fun.

The second thing Rehoboth is, is gay. At least the locals. It seemed like nearly everyone we talked to on the street or in the shops and restaurants, male and female, got a non-zero reading on the gay-dar. It is a very unique family-friendly, comfortable situation; as the Wikipedia says, "the town's family vacationers and residents seamlessly blend with its gay and lesbian vacationers and residents." Rehoboth is a family scene, a place to go with the people you love to have a nice homey happy time, and a lot of the people who like to do that in Rehoboth turn out to be same-sex couples. I'm sure some of our readers will find something dirty in this, but it's really a good place to be.

The third thing, I need to mention to make this a fully accurate report. The women in Rehoboth are prettier than in Ocean City. They're not dolled up like in Dewey, just regular wives and daughters and girlfriends walking around shopping, maybe eating ice cream, catching some sun and looking healthy and good. I think my wife and daughter thought the guys in Rehoboth were nice, too, but I wasn't paying attention to that.

Luckily one of the neighbors had an unsecured wireless system, so I was able to get online intermittently, blogged a few items, kept up on email more or less. The weather was unbelievable, sunny and not hot, not humid, but warm, and the ocean water was cool but not cold. We went out on a boat one day and caught two hundred fish in two hours in Delaware Bay, it was unbelievable, often you'd have two on the line at the same time. I lived the whole week in my bathing suit, only put on my jeans and tennis shoes once for an especially formal occasion. We slept till nearly noon every day and just did whatever we felt like doing. I re-read The Stranger, my daughter read an entire four-book series that she'd been wanting to get to, and my son read some novel by Mick Foley that he found in the bargain bin.

Yesterday we headed back home, to bills and work. You could see the kids getting a little antsy to see their friends again. I was getting curious to know if the steering committee decided to go forward with the dot-net project. So here we are, back to the grind, refreshed.


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