I visited Ocean City, Maryland for the first time in August of 1984. (YES this is the end of last year’s Thanksgiving story.)
The summer I graduated high school, I lived with my BFF Kay and her family. She and I went to see Rod Stewart on my 18th birthday, and the next morning I went with her and her family on their yearly vacation to Ocean City. They’re a big, fun-loving, hard-drinking Irish-Catholic family. Kay had five brothers and all the kids were allowed to bring friends on vacation.
Over the years, Kay and I lost touch. I moved (a lot) and my life was upside-down (a lot). Before the Internet, that’s what happened when high school friends moved away. You wrote letters for a while, then spent a few years sending Christmas cards & newsletters, then just cards, and then you lost touch. That’s how life is supposed to work. But thanks to the Internet, and my propensity for stalking – or as I like to call it: recon-mission/private investigator training – I found Kay again. And as it turned out (I know I say that a lot), she & her husband & sons were coming to Ocean City that year, in keeping with the family vacation tradition.
That was almost ten years ago. We turned out to be extremely different people, but it’s cool that we can still hang out once a year. With my family gone, I don’t have a lot of people in my life who knew me when I was young, or when I was a crazy kid. But Kay & I were crazy kids together for a couple years back in high school. It’s nice to have that connection to my past.
They returned every summer for the next few years, and then took a couple years off to spend summers at their cabin near a lake in New York. So I didn’t see them in 2015 or ’16, which was fine because I was busy trying to control my blood pressure at a job I hated those two summers anyway. But then, shortly after the start of the new year, I got a text from her out of the blue, with the dates they’d be coming to the beach this year. And I was like, “Cool… something to look forward to….”
And as 2017 was getting started, I reeeeeally needed something to look forward to….
Since we reconnected on facebook and they started coming back to Ocean City, Kay & her family have rented a condo at the same high-rise year after year. The kids bring their friends, and we all hang out at the beach in front of the place where they staying. I think they’ve only ever been to our house once in all the years they’ve been coming here. And our hanging out usually consists of my joining them on the beach for the afternoon, my husband meeting us after work for a bite to eat somewhere, and us going home early because we get up so early. And at least a couple days that week I stay home and do my thing while they go out and do the tourist thing. It works out great. I see them 4 or 5 times, we hang out, have fun, laugh, talk, catch up… then I get to come home early and regenerate my energy in my own space in the quiet, and it’s not stressful at all. It’s like a long holiday weekend. It’s perfect. Neither of us imposes on the other.
So after a rough winter of trying to organize my living space, participate in protests, and manage some particularly dark depression, I was looking forward to hanging out with my friend; getting some beach time, even getting a little sun. I’d started working for a friend at a hip little bistro, and the air show was in town so we were going to get to watch the jets. There’d be droll humor, happy hour prices, and sunburn. It was just what the doctor would order… if I’d ever gone back after she told me I had to lower my blood pressure or she put me on medication.
So, for five months, she and I would send texts back & forth. Four more months… three more months! I’d post pictures of the beach on her facebook page, she’d Love it. Y’know… we were stoked.
Finally, we’re less than a week away from vacation. I update my facebook status with some innocuous & excited post about looking forward to vacation with good friends, good weather, and good vibes… or something dumb & corny like that… and shared a picture of Kay and me at Virginia Beach in 1983.
Cute, fun, happy, dorky. Positive.
Next thing I know, there’s a comment on my post.
The comment is from that fucking asshole friend of my husband’s who showed up on his bicycle, unannounced on Thanksgiving day after we’d cancelled with them three weeks earlier.
His comment was something like, “Oh, ‘Good friends.’ I see how it is. Got it.”
Now this is early in the morning. Before 9am. And at first I didn’t get his comment or his tone. At first I was confused. And then I realized he was busting my balls. He was being a whiny little shit. He… for some unknown, out-of-left-field reason was giving me shit on my own facebook post. This man in his 60’s.
So I deleted his post.
So he posts it again.
So, I’m like, what. the. fuck. We hadn’t heard from him since my husband went and met them for lunch the day after Thanksgiving. It’s now JUNE. June, and out of nowhere he’s giving me shit for being excited to see my friend.
I am not even fricken kidding you.
Some other stuff happened after that, but, to show you I can spare you the details sometimes, I’ll just say he is now an ex-friend. Although my husband hasn’t blocked him on facebook, which is something of a burr under my saddle, but we’re old and he’s not savvy with social media, so this is one for those times where I’ve elected to choose my battles and this isn’t one of them. That his psycho, maladjusted asshole friend wants to stalk my husband’s facebook page just makes it fun for me…
…part of me is really looking forward to my sister-in-law and her husband coming for Thanksgiving so I can post pictures and gush about how great it is to spend Thanksgiving with people we truly care about… and then tag my husband so his asshole friend will see them.
This year, I’m thankful for my mastery in the art of passive-aggression… truly a god-given gift.
Thanks for reading this shit.