Welcome to a series of stories that basically make up my autobiography. It’s not entirely thorough, but I’ll do the best I can with the memories locked away inside my head. Could be therapeutic for me. Could be humorous for you. Either way, enjoy…
Previously on Life Story… I graduated from Patrick Henry High School and got to have Red Lobster for lunch. Let’s call it a reward system.
So, did I ever tell you about the time I went to the beach? I should probably be specific. I’ve been to the beach more than a couple times. I’m specifically talking about the time I went right after high school.
Senior Beach Week was this mythic thing. I’d heard the kids in school talking about it before we graduated. But I really didn’t think I was gonna go. I wasn’t exactly a social butterfly back at the Patrick Henry High. I’m not exactly one now either, but I was less so back then. So I didn’t think I was close enough with a group of friends that would be going down to Myrtle Beach.
Somehow, it happened. I don’t remember if someone in the group invited me or if I invited myself. Whatever the case, I ended up driving down to South Carolina as a part of a caravan that may or may not have gotten slightly lost. All I’ll say about the road trip itself is that we missed our exit at one point. And then, for some reason, the lead car decided to pull a U-turn through the median on the highway. And for some reason I decided to follow. I pulled through the median on the interstate. Let us never again speak of it.
Eventually we made it to the beach, where about thirty of us packed into a three bedroom, co-ed condo. It wasn’t really thirty… but it was close. I think. I know I was one of several who found themselves on the floor due to lack of beds.
We played it pretty smart. We weren’t the crazy high school graduates who felt the need to party excessively, and none of us experimented with the alcohol that week. At least, I don’t think any of us did. We ate most of our meals there in the condo, which saved us quite a bit of money. Don’t get me wrong, we did explore many of the fine establishments that the Myrtle Beach area had to offer in the summer of ’98.
We went to Planet Hollywood but skipped the Hard Rock. We went to Dick’s, hoping to have a great time getting insulted by a jerk waiter, instead we just got a guy who made dirty jokes. And they weren’t even at our expense. People at other tables seemed to be having a much better time than we were. Oh, and Broadway at the Beach was a lot of fun.
A couple of our guys decided to get some fireworks and set them off on the beach. This was probably illegal, but we’d been driving through medians on the interstate and refusing to wait in line at tourist traps. We were rebels. Most of us stayed back and watched from our balcony while they lit fuses near the water. The display was cut short when a stray bottle rocket shot down the beach and nearly killed a couple taking a romantic moonlight stroll on the shore. Let us never again speak of it.
It was a long week. But at the time, it just didn’t seem long enough. I’m not sure I walked away without getting sunburned. Generally, as a rule, I get pretty fried whenever I visit the ocean. It wouldn’t be my last hurrah with this particular group of high school friends, but it was the final one before I moved on to the college years.