In preparation for any beach trip, I have learned that a spray tan spares me the compulsion to be tanorexic. Not only does it non-melanomically brown my winter white troglodyte skin, but relieves me of my insane chameleon like nature. What can I say, I’m old school, we used to mix iodine and baby oil for gods sake.
So, with my good old spray tan in place, I had to wait the prescribed minimum 8 hours to shower. This is the worst part. You feel sticky and dirty, and over time, the bronzing agent gets darker and darker until you look like Magda. Once you shower, the bronzer washes off and you are left perfectly tanned, but until that glorious moment, you better make sure you are well hidden from the general population, because you look ridonk.
I got my spray on at 9:30 am, picked my kids up from school at 3:30, under a hat and shades, head down. With my car packed and ready to go, I dropped them off to their dad at baseball practice, and hit the road for my cousin Rachel’s wedding in the Outer Banks, NC. My plan was to drive about half way to Richmond, VA, spend the night in the not so glorious Comfort Suites, and finish the drive in the morning. As I cruised down the highway, the wind blew through my greasy disgusting hair, and the heat of the sun amplified the stickiness of the spray on my freakishly brown face. I had my eye on the prize though, by 9:30pm I would be in the shower, squeaky clean and perfectly tanned to crawl into the crisp white hotel sheets.
Traffic was good, and I pulled up to the hotel at 9pm. I grabbed my backpack and laptop, and proceeded to wait what seemed like forever for the miserable looking girl to appear and check me in.
Her, with a big sigh first, “Can I have your name?”
Sigh. “I need your credit card”
“I already paid for the room online”
Sigh. “Oh. Yeah. Here’s your key, room 382, checkout’s at 10, breakfast is served over there from 6-8. Sigh”
She turned to leave, having exhausted herself giving me all of that information.
“Uh, can you tell me where room 382 is?”
Big sigh, complete with enormous exaggerated eyeroll, “Elevator’s over there” she lethargically pointed, and walked away.
I hopped on the elevator with a Green Mile sized black man.
“Girl! Shit, your tan is BANGIN’!”
“So’s yours” I replied.
He cracked up, we high-fived and I got off the elevator to find my room. I slid my key card, ran in, threw my shit on the bed, undressed and showered as if I were just returning from a month long stint on Survivor. The bronzer pooled around my feet as it washed off my body, it was magnificent. I scrubbed and soaped and stood in there for what felt like 4 hours.
The next morning, I was up and on the road by 6:30. I skipped the stale pastries and powdered egg breakfast at the hotel and began my hunt for Starbucks. I pulled into Wawa to gas up, and decided to slum it with a cup of their coffee. It was not coffee at all, it was hot fucking brown water and it made my heart sad as I sipped it driving down the highway. Like a junkie needing a fix I stared down all the road signs looking for the Starbucks logo. About an hour and a half into the trip, I saw it and started whoo hooing like Corky as I whipped over three lanes to make the exit. The sign portrayed a Starbucks logo, with a left arrow. I went left. I drove, and I drove, and I fucking drove some more. Then the saddest thing happened. After driving SEVEN MILES, I pulled in on two wheels, only to discover that it was shut down. Motherfucking fuck fucking FUCK!
After the 14 mile detour of disappointment, I got back on the highway, and scowled at my Wawa cup of shit. Eventually I crossed into North Carolina, the land of super cheap smokes. Time stands still there, and cigarettes are still $4 a pack. I was like a kid in a candy store, or more accurately, a woman in a cancer store. I bought my $48 carton and threw in some fireworks, just because. You never know when they’ll come in handy, that is, unless you leave them in the disgusting gas station bathroom by mistake because you’re busy trying not to throw up from the stench or touch anything.
At 10am I pulled up to the rental company and collected the house key. My brother, his fiancée (aka girlfriend of 9 years) and myself had all rented a little house. My Aunt (mother of the bride) had a large house on the beach with 4 of her 5 siblings and their significant others. So, there’s Aunt Cheryl, my cousin Aaron, his wife Robin and their two daughters, my cousin Rebekah, cousin Tim and his joined at the hip adorable girlfriend who must eat special enzyme pills before ingesting cheese, Samantha, and my cousin Jake. Jake and I are the same. It’s like looking in a mirror, except that he’s a gay man/boy.
My cousin Rachel and her fiancée Chris had rented a ginormous house further up the beach in Cordova, which is the 4 wheel drive only. There are NO roads, everything is only accessible by beach. The wedding was going to be at their house, and they had rented huge 4 wheel drive school busses to shuttle everyone out there…but that all comes later.
So, the town of Corolla was flooded with family and friends. My family can party, like rock stars, and they do. But let me tell you something. Chris is from Boston, as are all his people, and holy motherfuck can they throw down. It was like the Jets vs. the Sharks in West Side Story, but with drinking and pot brownies. It was fun imitating their accents all weekend. Jake was all “who faahtid it’s retaahdid” and I was all “Ahm from Bahhstin, whiz my khakis?” And “khakis” is how you say “car keys.” It was delightful.
OK, back to checking into the house. I’ve already got on my bikini under my cover-up, so I get into our house, drop my stuff, grab my pre-packed cooler of Smart Water and Rockstars and O’Douls and head right over to Aunt Cheryl’s house. I had FB’d Robin earlier, letting her know I was almost there. She messaged me back, “Watch out for the man passed out on the beach…that would be Jake wrapped up in his cocoon of blankets. Everyone’s stopping to take pics!”
I knew I was in for a great day!
I arrived at their house by 10:30, and was greeted by my Aunt who was on her way out to pick up flowers for the wedding, and headed straight out the back door to the beach. I set up camp with Aaron, Robin, Tim, Samantha, and three other people I didn’t recognize. It was hot and sunny and absolutely beautiful as I kicked back in my beach chair and began getting the rundown on the preceding days’ events from Robin. It was Thursday, and they had all been there since Sunday, so there was a lot to catch up on.
The day before, Jake’s bestie, Kimmie toes, from the show they were on together “Out of the Wild” came up from South Carolina with her fiancée Ian. In somewhat of an elopement, Jake, who had been ordained online, married them on the beach. They are all crazy kids like that, then they spent the night doing cartwheels and high kicks until Jake “fell asleep” on the beach wrapped in blankets around 4am.
A good-looking, but pasty white guy walks over and hugs me, he says, “You must be Tracy!” I said, “You must be the crazy man who married that fabulous little woman!” I noticed he had 2-12-12 tattooed on his chest, so I say, “It’s amazing that we just met yet you have my 31st birthdate tattooed on your chest!” Then he says, “Really? That’s your birthday? That’s the day my dad died.” Insert sad robot out of batteries pose.
But it was cool, it was 11am and he was clearly hammered. I sauntered back up to the house to find Jake and Kim, who I located in the kitchen, eating humus and drinking vodka. We all hugged and high kicked, as is the ceremonial greeting of our people. I brought Kim up to speed on my sobriety, separation/divorce, dating, and life in general and she filled me in on hers as a news producer, gymnast, crossfit maniac, and 18 hour married woman. I could tell Jake’s patience were wearing thin, as he was not the center of attention. I understood, so I let him know how amazing his abs looked and how his shirt really made his blue eyes pop, and all was right with the world.
They refilled their cocktails and we headed down to the beach, this is where the real story begins…
Me, Kim & Jake. Amazing.
Kim & Ian, “while you’re down there…”