Life’s a Beach ~ Aha Moments via Atlantic City

So, if I don’t like the beach or gambling, then why on Earth am I in Atlantic City?

Well, I had only been in New Jersey for a work trip, and I didn’t feel that it could count as having been to the state, even though I did spend the night and do something local: we ate at both an Applebees and a TGI Fridays–in the same day.

How is it Possible to Dislike the Beach?

I’ll counter with “how is it possible to dislike clowns?” OK, bad example.

  1. There’s sand. Need I say more?
  2. It’s sticky. And sticky is not a desirable sensation. You don’t go to the spa and and ask for a sticky treatment.
  3. While the people-watching is fabulous, it invades my peace. Because I’m zen at all times.

What’s this about not Liking Gambling?

We already know that I’m not good at math. At least once a week since hitting the road I email my brother with a question about some gas savings scheme. I outline the scenario, he does the math, we agree it’s not worth the effort. When I had a job, I regularly called him for help with percentages and ultimately created a math cheat sheet so I didn’t have to keep calling him. I’m totally serious–and I still have it!

Add to this my supreme lack of prowess. In playing Bridge with friends Cori, Bobbi, and Oded, they had to give me yet another cheat sheet that identifies the spade as the one that looks like the shovel, so I don’t confuse it with clubs. And yes, I’m 39.

So gambling, there’s no doubt that the house would win.

I chose some spinning wheel game that was all luck and reminded me of the Price is Right. $1 a round is my speed – it makes the losing, er fun, last longer. I gave myself a $20 allowance and netted negative $17. You should have seen me gleeful and jumping when I won $2 in a single spin. You would have thought it was MUCH more.

hundred dollar bills from the ATM in Atlantic CfityCasinos are not the Real World

I needed cash for my big spend, so naturally went to the ATM. They only dispense 100-dollar bills. I then had to ask a stranger how to use the make-smaller-bills-machine so I could feel like a normal person instead of a goober with hundreds in my wallet.

A-ha Moment about Beach Towns

It’s been established that the beach isn’t my thing. And admittedly I was having a hard time understanding all the flocking that people do, year after year, to the same place.

Serendipitously, friends from home were in AC visiting family and we went to dinner. They’ve had a place there since she was 11. We went to a favorite, locals-only, joint and it was packed at 5:30 on a Thursday. Far off the beaten path. Minute after minute they ran into folks they know–more than would ever happen back home. They told stories of summer jobs, bike riding, dating. Romanticized, sure. Likely true, absolutely.

There are great benefits to exploring vacations. And very different advantages to stationary ones. You get to know a place; you ride a bike with your parents, or cousin, or friend for the week from the neighboring house; you build sand castles–because there’s time.

So sure, I like relaxing, lazy days. I just prefer mine near a mountain.


What do you like about the beach?

3 Responses

While you were visiting Atlantic City, I was sitting, zenlike, at my dining room table, looking out a sliding glass door at the bridge from Brigantine to Atlantic City. I was kind of a woods and mountain person, but I married a beach person and for years we took our two week family vacation at one southern New Jersey beach town or another. (BTW, I’m from Philly and for Philadelphians “down tha’ shore” means southern New Jersey.) When we were finally done paying for college, we bought a beach house in Brigantine, the barrier island just north of Atlantic City–10 minutes and a million miles away from Atlantic City–no casinos, no boardwalk, hand full of restaurants, two traffic lights, dunes and a state park. When we told our 20-something sons that we were buying a place in Brigantine, their appalled unanimous response was “Why? There’s nothing to do in Brigantine.” Exactly!

I 100% concur with your opinion of casinos. As far as I’m concerned, Las Vegas is somewhere you fly to, to rent a car to drive to the Grand Canyon or Zion National Park — or anywhere else. BTW, our sons now love visiting our beach house in Brigantine. They chill out during the day and then we drop them off at an AC casino and they take a taxi back to Brigantine at God knows when. Last week when we dropped them off at the newest casino in Atlantic City, the Revel, we decided to go in and check it out. Maybe there’s a reason we’re known as Mr. and Mrs. Excitement. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Every casino I’ve been in has made me feel like I’m in a Bruegel representation of Hell. (And now I’ll tell you how I really feel about casinos ; – )

love anyone who can casually reference Bruegel!


The ATM only dispenses $100 bills? Wow- that facinated me.

I love the beach, but not all beaches. It is about the sound of the waves, feeling the water on my feet, the smell of the ocean, the breezes and the way the water meets the sky. It is meditative and so soothing to me.

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