Where was I before we ran out the door this morning to go outlet shopping?
Ah, yes, the pier.
With my feet good and wet and D and family trying to coax the baby into the water:
I decided to wander off and go explore the pier, as I figured I was probably the only one who wanted to and it was probably free of sea lice. I still have no idea of what they actually are, but if it has a warning sign then I'm certain it's something I don't want.
When I got to the pier gate, I found out that it costs a dollar just to walk onto the pier and four dollars to fish off of it. I had no intention of fishing, but it was surprisingly popular based on the number of people and poles around.
That point could probably be better illustrated by a picture with some actual people fishing in it or maybe a shot of more than two poles leaning forlorn against the railing, but that's the picture I took and it's all I have, ok? Just take my word for it that there was a fisherman (or woman, in some cases) on either side about every ten feet or so, and some of them were actually pulling in good sized fish. A number of them were also pulling in smaller fish that they would then use as bait to try for bigger fish, which I thought was surprisingly pragmatic and optimistic.
If I paid four dollars to stand on the pier and fish and only got a little tiny thing, I'd have kind of a "This is all I get? Screw this. Ripoff," attitude, but recycling the tiny fish seems more of a "Guess I'll use these lemons to make lemonade" idea. Maybe my parents weren't kidding when they said fishing and hunting teaches you things about yourself and the world that you'd never consider otherwise. Or maybe they just said that in hopes of convincing me to try it and maybe butch up a little.
Anyway, the people fishing had stiff competition from the pelicans fishing nearby:
The birds seemed to be having more success, but they also got to stay on the water after the lifeguards cleared everyone else out, so they had more time to work on it. The clearing, by the way, happened about a half hour after we got there, when yet another thunderstorm rolled in. In case you're not keeping track, days in the Sunshine State: 4. Days it has rained in the Sunshine State: 4. That name is about as apt as calling Jersey the Garden State.
I gave the beach one last, long look:
and then we headed to the car. I think it took us longer to get ready and get to the beach than we actually spent at it.
Also, I didn't spot a single set of footprints where someone carried someone else, or a young girl throwing starfish into the sea while an older gentleman scoffs and she explains that it matters to this starfish. Every inspirational story I've ever heard about the beach is apparently a sham cooked up to make Res Life training more inspirational and religious plaques more salable. I'd feel cheated if I'd ever bothered to buy into either of those two to begin with.
Speaking of buying, we wrapped up our night with a trip to the grocery store and to Gander Mountain, which D's mom needed to go to for kayaking supplies or something. (I'm sure someone mentioned why we were going, but I wasn't listening.) I've been to Gander Mountain, either because I was with my parents and they had the car or because I was running in just long enough to get a gift card for my parents and then get out, so I've never really walked around the store.
I should do that much more often:
It seems like a classy place, catering to the best sort of people:
I believe Brooke Astor had that same thing embroidered onto a chintz throw pillow in her sitting room.
The high point of the store, though, more than the random taxidermy:
or the pink and rhinestone-studded camouflage for girls (my mom, as an actual hunter, probably seethes with rage when she walks past that) or even the restaurant serving bison, venison, and elk, would have to be the Fine Gun Room. This sanctuary to maleness in the Hemingway mold, located in the very back of the store, is all dark wood, leather seats, fancy rugs, and guns in cases that are so expensive that they don't have price tags. All it really needed was a rhino head on the wall and a photo of Teddy Roosevelt on safari.
Oh, and it also contains vaguely pornographic taxidermy:
I walked around the corner, saw that, and thought, "Holy shit! Is that a buck mounting another buck? No, wait, it's a mountain lion mounting a buck. Oh, no, wait, it's a mountain lion eating a buck. It still looks kind of dirty, though."
I guess that makes up for the lack of an elephant foot umbrella stand.