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5:53 a.m. - 2003-06-02

I DON'T KNOW WHY I DON'T GO ON MORE VACATIONS

The only decent photo I got in Hilton Head.

We had a decent trip although as SOON as we got to Hilton Head Island, my sinuses started to close, I developed a nagging death rattle of a cough and I was one woozy sonofabitch for the entire trip. I have no idea why. But this morning, I'm still hacking up loogies the size of chihuahuas and I cannot freakin' breathe.

The trip over there completely sucked because my sister's directions took me down two-lane highways rather than the interstate. So for seven hours, this is what I saw.

That's beautiful and scenic and shit for about an hour. Maybe two.

But we saw NOTHING for seven hours except poor people in Cadillacs passing me at 80 mph.

I saw more podunk towns than I could ever hope to want to see. Every single one of them had one cop. And that cop's job was to sit on the side of the road with a broken hair dryer and point it at people like me in order to make me come to a creeping crawl while flying through their podunk town (Pop. 40).

We finally made it to the Island and the first thing I noticed was that every single building...from McDonald's to the hotels to the homes...were all the same color: Baby Shit Brown. I later found out that the residents want it that way to keep it looking naturally beautiful.

Huh?

It's just a personal opinion here...but I don't find brown to be the most beautiful color in the world. Brown is the color of dirt, dead flowers and certain bowel movements after bad Mexican food.

But every building in town is brown. Like it or leave it. I chose to leave it.

We go to my niece's graduation Thursday night. It's outside in the football stadium. Luckily, there's always a breeze from the ocean there and it wasn't too uncomfortable.

The highlights of the graduation were an old man a few rows behind us screaming "Quit the Goddamned poetry shit!" when the class valedictorian was reading some Maya Angelou poem. Everyone turned around and tried to see who said it.

Somebody was smoking pot during the ceremony. That was kind of amusing. My Dad turned to me and said "I'm surprised you haven't gone to make friends with the guy" alluding to the time they found my pot stash 20 years ago in my closet. Ha, ha Dad. Don't tempt me.

Afterwards, we go to this restaurant called Sticky Fingers, because it's my niece's favorite restaurant. Yes, she's obviously sheltered. My sister had rented out the back room for her graduation party. All her friends showed up as did my niece's father who happens to be my sister's FIRST husband.

Needless to say, they don't get along too well, my sister and her first husband. But they sat at different tables, made quick small talk before the dinner and acted amazingly well all night.

Andrew was a bit antsy because he had not had a nap all day long. So he was dog tired. But when he's tired, he's silly. So he's running around the room, squealing and showing everyone his belly button, of which he is most definitely proud of.

He found a girl about 15 years old who was spinning him around the room. I didn't mind this because he was enjoying it, she was enjoying it and I was able to sit down and cough up some amazing loogies to the delight of my table mates.

The girl spins Andrew for about the 155th time and Andrew gets a bit dizzy and tumbles to the floor face first.

I jump up to swoop him up in my arms because he's 2 and that's what kids want when they hurt themselves...big men who are oozing bodily fluids out of their faces to swoop them up in their arms.

He's bleeding from the mouth. He won't let me peer inside to see where he's bleeding from. It's not gushing, but it's getting on my white shirt which I'm not too awfully thrilled about.

By now, it's about 10:30 at night and I ask my sister to give me directions to the hotel. She tells me to go through a few traffic circles (which I fucking HATE...don't get me started on those stupid traffic circles) and to take two lefts and I'd see my hotel.

Fine.

I get Susie and Andrew in the car and we take off.

For those of you who have never been to Hilton Head Island, I'm going to tell you something you need to know.

It's beautiful in the daytime. There's a main road that goes all the way around the island with all the businesses and shops and stuff on it. All the businesses are behind trees and all of the signs for the businesses are on the ground. The people on Hilton Head Island do not want big signs in the air proclaiming "Walmart" or "Quality Inn and Suites" thus taking away from the "natural beauty" of the island.

That's understandable.

...During the day.

At night, you find out very very very very quickly that the residents on Hilton Head Island also do not believe in street lights.

None.

Zero.

So if you're a tourist and aren't really sure where you're going, you are properly fucked.

Because all the signs are close to the ground and most of them aren't lit.

There are no street lights.

All the businesses are behind a forest of trees.

There are no street signs telling you what street you're on.

And then there's those goddamned traffic circles.

Tell me if you've ever done this....driven around in circles for about 45 minutes, totally f'n lost with an exhausted two year-old in the back seat bleeding profusely from the mouth?

Hmmmmm??

Ever done that??

If so, then you understand what the word "Hell" is all about then, right?

I finally pull over at a gas station and ask how in the misty blue fuck do I find the hotel.

The guy tells me I'm lost and have managed to find myself on the other end of the island from the hotel. He tells me to go through three more traffic circles and take three rights, two lefts and pass the partridge in the pear tree and I'd find the stupid freakin' hotel.

I stand there and shoot the shit with the guy for a while because it sure beats getting back in the car and listening to Andrew scream in pain some more.

I get back in, we drive and I find the hotel by some sort of divine intervention.

Andrew falls asleep in my arms as we make it to our room.

Oh...no crib.

When I made the reservations I specifically asked for a crib.

No crib. All the cribs are out. No crib for you.

So Susie slept with Andrew in one bed and I laid in the other bed hacking and wheezing all night.

...After I killed the wasp in our room, that is.

It was a lovely hotel. Really. Once you overlook the fact that they fucking lie to you over the phone about cribs and then plant wasps the size of your fist in your room and then watch you on closed circuit television, trying to kill it while laughing their fool heads off.

Friday night, we went to this Italian restaurant for pizza.

Nothing fancy...it was a family restaurant.

But as soon as people saw Andrew, they grimaced. How DARE we bring a child to their restaurant?!?

Andrew was a perfect child, sitting at the table and coloring and playing with his flash cards.

The thing with Hilton Head...it's a lot of old folks. It's a resort area, but it's mostly old folks who want to come and golf their ancient asses off.

And if you show up at a restaurant with a child, they treat you like lepers.

Honestly, I have no interest in going back anytime soon.

I guess when my niece gets married, we may make another trek there.

But for now, I'll just say goodbye to it in my rear view mirror.

Bye Hilton Head.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass.

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