The grocery store is packed with tourists. And I mean packed. There are hundreds of them.
And I am stuck in a cluster of middle-aged men who wear neon-colored swim trunks and flip flops.
You could say that I’m here against my will. My wife sent me on a very important shopping mission to buy:
And because no household can survive for more than forty-eight hours without salsa or the miraculous properties of Neosporin, here I am.
The middle-aged men in the checkout line are laughing and carrying on. They are wearing Margaritaville T-shirts, and their skin is a deep reddish-tan.
I can spot a Beach-Tourist-Dad tan a mile away. It’s all in the nose region.
Middle-aged male tourists, you see, rarely apply sunscreen to their noses—don’t ask me why. Thus, on a typical beach vacation, a Beach Dad often resembles the captain of Santa’s sled team.
As it happens, it’s a good thing Beach Dad isn’t ACTUALLY steering Santa’s sleigh because Beach Dad also drives like a clinically insane stuntman.
Sometimes, you can see Beach
Dad weaving his minivan through heavy traffic while singing along with a Jimmy Buffet greatest hits album, nearly causing ten-car pile ups.
But getting back to the grocery store. There’s a small boy standing in the checkout aisle behind me. He’s pushing a wheelchair with a woman in it. The woman is mid-seventies. She has a cast on her ankle.
There is also a teenage girl with her. The three-person clan is a nice-looking one. And because they are only buying sodas and popsicles, I insist they cut in line.
The boy wheels the woman ahead of me. The older woman thanks me.
I ask where they’re from.
“Arkansas,” she says. “These are my grandkids. We’re down here for two weeks.”
She tells me that she is still recovering from ankle surgery. Her injury happened a few weeks ago…