One evening, after a very fun happy hour and dinner, I left the establishment with my friend and was on my way back to the car to go home.
Carrying a container filled with some rather cold, soggy french fries that I was taking home to my dogs, I had an unexpected encounter with a stranger. As I walked, enjoying a pleasant state of inebriation, I noticed a woman approaching from the opposite direction. She seemed equally drunk, but her demeanor was out of place with the warm Cape Charles night.
The event happened quickly, but my friend told me she said, “I’m going to knock that food right out of your hand.”
Without too much warning, just as we neared each other, the woman did indeed knock the container out of my hand, leaving the contents of my doggy bag scattered across the sidewalk.
The woman, shocked that she had actually done the deed, quickly bent down and gathered the little remnants of my doggo’s cold fries and put them back in the container.
Anger could (and probably should) have won the day, but I was four martinis in, and it was such a unique and rare moment of pure Surrealism, my friend, who was the DD, and had better recollection says that I just laughed and called the woman a few nasty things, wrote the thing off as a bad job, and we went our way back to the car. My nice buzz was still intact, and I realized that a single act should not ruin all the pricey liquor I had imbibed (but it kind of did).
Back in the car, we laughed, “Can you believe that dumb bitch?”
But as I thought about it more, even as comical as it was, I wondered, who the fuck does that? How dangerous is it to walk up to a stranger and knock their food onto the ground? What if it were someone already on the edge, already angry and prone to violence, and the container was not cold fries but a fresh, hot meal they were taking home? Things could turn ugly, and street justice would more than likely ensue.
This was just a random act, I don’t think any real malice was involved–she was an entitled tourist, thinking it would be cool and fun, filled with a sense of anonymity-inspired impunity–you can just tell. The encounter was Commedia dell‘arte level stupid but it also acts to define the state of summers in Cape Charles, where the town and its neighborhoods are relinquished to the whims of Bert and Karen careening through the streets on their rented golf carts.
A fact we have to embrace is that the class of tourist that comes to Cape Charles is not exactly like those that vacation in Bali, Goa, or even Costa Rica.
The encounter did offer some reflection– I did not let it define my entire outlook on living on the Shore. It became a lesson in resilience, reminding me that, no matter how crappy Cape Charles gets in the summer, we must be the bigger person and continue to embrace the rare beauty of our home, even in the face of unexpected hostility from fat, ugly, stupid, and poorly dressed tourists.
We still have a very nice beach, despite it all…and it is a temporary condition.
Just as the cold will dispose of fleas, mosquitos, and ticks, so will it relieve the infected, rancid itch of the Cape Charles tourist season.
So it goes.