“You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.”
– “Closing Time”

I have a love-hate relationship with Long Beach, where I live, especially at this time of year.

I love waking up and not hearing horns and sirens outside my window. I love getting home at night when it’s dark and humid and the only thing you can smell is the ocean. I love walking on the boardwalk and running on the beach. I love deciding on a minute’s notice that I want to walk across the street and camp out on the beach with a book for half an hour and not having to drive to do so.

What ruins my town are the people who don’t legitimately live here.

My favorite place I ever lived was Charleston. Sad but true, I grew to acknowledge that tourism was what kept the City alive – and more than once, kept me employed. While it never became any less frustrating to get stuck behind a horse carriage when you were already running late for work, the tourists mostly stayed downtown. In other words, they were somewhat avoidable.

I acknowledge that it’s Memorial Day and that it is, indeed, a beautiful day outside (a true rarity these days). My morning started off with a run on the boardwalk – while the boardwalk was slightly crowded, it wasn’t problematic. After discovering that I had no milk to make cereal for breakfast, I decided to go food shopping, among other errands.

I went to Starbucks and CVS. I washed my car (which was covered in an entire winter’s worth of grime and fresh spring pollen) and headed to Waldbaum’s (the one supermarket in Long Beach) to buy food. First, I heard a man asking where they sell “goat” in the store. Last I checked, goat isn’t commonly found among chicken and steak – at least not in Long Beach. I tried my best to get through the store as quickly as possible, dodging people and dirty looks from people who stood on their phones with carts blocking the aisles.

Every line was terrible. I chose a line in the u-scan section and tried my best to be patient with the two people ahead of me. The first woman finished scanning – I even stayed patient while she let her sub-10-year-old son run her credit card and press the buttons. Then the next woman began scanning. She had scanned roughly 1/4 of her items when her husband joined her on line with seriously an entire cardboard box full of chicken. Time to switch lines.

I move to the line next to me, which seems to be moving at a decent speed. The people in front of me begin scanning their items, which mostly seem to be those probably less than $1 each containers of generic iced tea. Then, she begins to peel a 30 cent off coupon from each one and try to scan it, unsuccessfully. But no, she will not give up without a fight. After all, there is money to save when you are buying 70 containers of generic iced tea.

To the right of me, there are kids from the City who are proclaiming loudly, “Wow, you know you’re not in the City when you can stretch your arms out and not touch both sides of the aisle in the store!” Yes. Waldbaums is like Disney World, isn’t it.

I finally leave the supermarket and head home. By this point, all of the decent parking spaces are taken. I see someone getting ready to pull out of a space on the opposite side of the median … which means you have to hit two lights to get over there. I made the first light and watched the person get ready to pull out of the spot. Then, as I waited at the light, I watched this magnificent cougar in a Mercedes convertible run the light to steal the spot. Nothing like parking a freshly washed car in the sand “parking lot.”

Oh, and I forgot to buy milk – the one thing I went to the store for.

My parents invited me out for dinner tonight which seemed like a good plan. Then I remembered I will get stuck in beach traffic driving out there and Hamptons traffic driving back.