ShoreBilly's Swill on ShoreBread

This time of year carries many monikers – depending upon how empty or full the glass is for the person you’re speaking to. I’ve heard it called the second season, the shoulder season, the quality not quantity season, the quiet season, the off season, etc. Each of these names carries a slightly different level of optimism, and bull excrement. I don’t use this particular phrase, but if this is in fact the ‘shoulder season’, then at least for the year 2013 we should change the name of this town from Ocean City to Sleepy Hollow. Whichever your phrase of choice, they basically all mean the same. They’re describing the time of year when late summer morphs into early fall.

Kids are all back in school, and the peak season (if we had actually had one) is behind us, but the weekends are still very solid. The weather has been unusually warm which certainly helps to extend our season. In fact we are just now getting the weather that we wish we had in June, July, and August. This time of year, each weekend brings with it some sort of event, or theme, or specific group of people. Some weekends consist of people who plan their annual vacation around being near twenty thousand or so complete strangers who have similar vehicles. This is a ritual that is bizarre to me, but to each their own. I’ll now touch on a few of these various events.

A few weeks back we had Sunfest. This is OC’s annual end of summer tradition which brings many people to town for one last weekend of fun in the sun. I was waiting on a lady that weekend and she asked the following question, “Sunfest weekend must be really good for you, huh?”

For many years, I’ve been really good about keeping my personal opinions about this little gem to myself. But for some reason I felt inexplicably compelled to answer this woman honestly. So I did, and now I’m going to share with you my feelings about Sunfest as I shared them with this poor unsuspecting lady. I explained to her that it was certainly NOT in fact a good weekend for me. While it does bring many people to town, it does little if anything to boost my income. For the most part, it’s essentially a bunch of out-of-town vendors taking over the south end of town for four days to peddle their wares. Where else, and WHY else for that matter would you be excited about the fact that at one of these booths you found a piece of driftwood art with your niece’s unusual name burnt into it? For some reason, at this moment of confusion $30 seems like a bargain for this item so you purchase it with pride as if sweet little Brielle is going to view you as a hero from now on.

Strolling through this sea of dried floral arrangements, and sand art you sure do work up an appetite. So it’s a good thing that you don’t have to look far (in any direction) for someone seeing how many different items they can toss into a deep fryer and coax strangers into paying to eat them. Where else can you have an oyster sandwich with curly fries followed by a battered Oreo cookie all cooked in the same deep fryer? They only bring enough paper towels and napkins to get through Saturday at best, so if you happen to be going on Sunday, make sure to wear a shirt with sleeves, (and keep in mind this diatribe is coming from the guy who spent two weeks talking about his epic, albeit greasy, sandwich!)

I was explaining to this nice lady over the bar that it doesn’t help me any because these people aren’t exactly coming in to see me for a nice dinner. After spending the day sampling the finest in festival fare prepared by the best and brightest society has to offer, the furthest thing from their minds is getting a filet mignon and a bottle of wine. Nope! Instead, they’re back at the condo or hotel room buckled up in fetal position in the midst of an agonizing period of self loathing. They’re trembling and sweating profusely asking themselves out loud, “why, why would I do this to myself?” (This is not hypothetical by the way, I’ve been there.) And yet, at the time it seemed like such a good idea to eat off of wax paper while standing at a high top table under a tent that roughly 11,000 others had dined on in the past few days and it’s only been thoroughly wiped about four times.

If you’re one of the lucky ones, you can catch one of the concerts. Even as I good-naturedly bash the event, I have enjoyed some of the concerts. Sorry if I hurt some feelings or hit a little close to home with my opinions about Sunfest. I’ve lived in town for about 25 of them now, and it’s been my experience that unless you own something south of the numbered streets, it’s just not that great for you monetarily speaking.

The following weekend brought the “V-Dubz”. I know I’m not what anyone would accuse of being hip. But I just learned that stupid little phrase a couple of weeks ago. It’s an abbreviation that this massive sub culture uses. Because it’s far too cumbersome to say Volkswagen, and apparently there are too many syllables in ‘VW’ Hence, the clever little phrase V-Dubz was coined by someone who’s only A was in shop class.

Now this little jewel of autumn isn’t even sanctioned or acknowledged by the town. And this year’s was massive! I don’t know what the official count was, but I’m pretty sure I counted just over a million. I could be just a little off, but that’s what it seemed like to me. They came from everywhere too! I checked ID’s from as far west as Wyoming and as far north as Ontario. It seemed as if most of them were from the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. It’s astounding how colossal this subculture has grown to be. I never would have guessed that there were that many people willing to buy a $2,000 car and put $40,000 worth of accessories on it.

Molding your entire existence after the Fast and Furious movies is something I just can’t wrap my head around. If your heroes are Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, then you have most definitely installed a dimmer switch on your future. If your biggest long term goal right now is to save enough money to string neon lights around the under carriage of your 1989 Jetta, than you have narrowed down the field of paths before you exponentially. You pride yourself on being the only member of your entire car club in that suburb of Cleveland to currently have a girlfriend. Heads up there Sparkey, she’s only with you because she temporarily hates her father. Eventually she’s going to outgrow that and want a guy who has a job. And working one day a week for about four hours at the local auto parts store so you can get a 10% discount is not going to cut it.

I found myself sitting in traffic at a stop light looking around at all of these little fart cars whose roofs are about hip high to me if I were standing beside them. Suddenly I started giggling like a psychopath fantasizing that I drove a monster truck. How awesome would that be? When I noticed some of these trolls staring at me wondering why I was sitting alone and giggling, I looked right at them and ramped it up to full blown maniacal laughter. I sounded like Ming as the phrase, “The End?” appeared on the screen at the end of the movie Flash Gordon just before the Queen song started playing.

And that folks, will do it for this week as I’m out of space. Thanks for playing along everybody.

Until next week,

Syd Nichols