Below are a few extras I took as we headed back to the train.
I’m no psychologist or relationship counselor but if I’ve learned one thing from my parents, step parents, girlfriends, etc. over the years it’s this. If you want to stay sane in a relationship ….. leave the car at home. When I was a teenager my Father and Step Mother would take trips to places like Lake George and Action Park. These trips were a good three to five hours from us. It was always fun having a back seat view of the chaos that would unfold during these trips. Me and my Step Brother Mike in the back tuned into completely different music on our walkmans . My Dad Jim at the wheel and my Step Mom Barbara at his side. As our trip would progress (or regress depending on how you looked at it.) into total insanity. Now my Step Mom was wound a bit tight or to put it lightly “fucking nuts”. “Do you know where your going?”, “Jim, you;re going to fast.”. “Jim, this is the wrong way.”, “Jim, your lost.” All the while my Father was going exactly where he was supposed to. Dads voice would remain soft and steady throughout. Assuring her that all was well. Incredible considering how insanely paranoid and unsettling she was. However my Fathers short fuse was always put the test and without fail there would come a point where he would pull the car over or even come to a screeching halt and in his stern, intimidating voice say “Barbara, do you want to driver?” to which she would wimper “no” which would be followed by a thundering ovation of “Then shut the fuck up!!!!” It was a classic line we heard over and over. Mike and I would be huddled in the back seat holding our bellies to keep us from exploding in laughter. It was like a cross between the classic TV show “The Honeymooners” and the movie “Goodfellas”.
Years later this tradition has been passed on to me. This weekend was just another example. Whenever we take the car out , whether it be to the grocery store, down the shore or a long drive down the East Coast it’s the same thing. “You’re making me nervous.”, “You’re driving too fast.”, “Oh my God, look out for that STOP sign.” Even obvious things like driving to the same places we’ve been to countless times. “Go right”, “Right there”, “You’re going to miss it.” It’s one of the most unnerving things about our relationship. Most of the time I tune it out but lately it’s just been ridiculous. On this particular trip to Asbury Park she awakened the demon. I was hungry, surly and a little peeved about our late start. We were waiting in traffic to get to the toll when she started freaking out about getting the change ready. All the while there are twenty cars in front of us. All of which are at a complete stop. I just lost it and I said those magical words. The silence was deafening but the rest of the trip was pure bliss. She definitely got the message and all was forgiven by the time we stopped for biscuits and gravy. We enjoyed a beautiful day at the beach and made it home safe despite my driving. So take my advice. Leave the car at home. If you do however decide to put the keys in the engine just shut up and let them drive. Close your eyes and take a nap if you have to.
As much as we talk and really, really try. We can never seem to get up early enough to get to the beach. Living in Jersey gives us the option to pack up the car with chairs, coolers, umbrellas, the whole kit and caboodle as they would say. We’ve enjoyed a number of the beaches including Breezy Point, Sandy Hook and in recent memory Asbury Park. Set the alarm and I’m ready to go. No matter how early the time. No matter how late I may have been out the night before. But my better half is another story all together. There are just too many obstacles in her case. The Food Network and her computer are often major blockades to getting out early. This was the case this particular Saturday morning. A day at the beach is often ruined when you don’t leave the house before 2:30 in the afternoon. On this day in particular though determination and my “Let’s Go, Let’s Go!!!!” voice would not be denied. At 2:30 with thoughts of Asbury Park crumbling. We were headed instead to Coney Island. Just a couple of stops on the Path and a transfer to the D Train. Before I knew it I’d be stopping off in paradise for Nathan’s original Hot Dogs, a ride on the Cyclone (unfortunately for me, in that order) a walk on the famous boardwalk and a Baseball game at Key-span Park. As we crossed the street and headed towards the endless line in front of Nathan’s, Kayuri said something I’ll never forget. “Why can’t you just get a hot dog at the Nathan’s at the mall?” My jaw dropped and I said “Who are you?” “Where did you come from.” I was dumbfounded. I know I don’t have to explain the difference to anyone who experienced it. So I won’t waste any further words on the subject. Just a note though. It’s little moments like these that can forever change a relationship. (And not fro the better) After consuming some yummy bliss we headed towards the Cyclone. I’m not big on roller coasters for obvious reasons but the Cyclone is a must. A true piece of history and one of the only wooden coasters I’ve seen ever. On a live and learn note. Never ride a coaster after consuming hot dogs or any Carny type food. If you do whoever choose to disregard this information. Make sure you sit in the back of the coaster and and turn to your side. Nuff said.
After that adventure we headed up the block to the boardwalk where we encountered snake handlers, bikers, dance marathons, cross dressing senior citizens and a spray painted dog. Just to name a few notables. Coney Island like so many boardwalks has an amazing personality and history. The people, the personalities, the smells all make the senses come alive. After a stroll down the boardwalk we headed over to Key Span Park where we took in our first Minor League Baseball game. We had great seats right on the first base line and were surrounded by a lot of fun and funny people. The starting pitcher for the Cyclones struck out twelve batters in eight innings but left with a tied score. The game remained tied until the 14th inning when the Jammers scored the winning run on a single. A lot of changes are coming within the next year or so. New unaffordable condos, overpriced restaurants and the most likely the kind of commerce that has turned Manhattan into what it is today. (which to me isn’t anything special or unique.) Hopefully there will still be plenty of room for the freaks and the all around circus atmosphere that is Coney Island.