Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tales from the Beach | A Mostly True Story, Volume 3

The World's Meanest Cabana Man
What does "The World's Meanest Cabana Man" look like, you ask? Kinda like A-Rod. Racially ambiguous. Obnoxiously tan. Highly defined muscles. Wears Oakley sunglasses and a tank top.

Beana: He's not that big.

Translation: He probably works out two hours a day, six days a week, avoids carbs and sugar, but doesn't take steroids.

Since I'm the ginge with a history of skin cancer, securing a chaise lounge with a giant umbrella is of paramount importance. I won't last an hour out there otherwise. As such, I am reliant upon Cabana Man for survival.

You should know going into this, that my way of coping with aggressively hostile people is to turn into the wide-eyed and demure "Charlotte" from Sex and the City. 

Me: [cheerfully] Hi!
Cabana Man: [sighs, annoyed] Yeah.
Me: [confused by his hostility] Uh...I'd like to rent a pair of chairs. With an umbrella.
Cabana Man: [shrugs] Ok. Which chairs do you want?
Me: Oh! Uh...I can pick any chairs I see here?

Cabana Man impatiently nods. I attempt to communicate this information to the girls, who are about a quarter -mile down the beach, using sign language I've just invented, to ask, "Which chair should I choose?" The girls don't understand my made-up sign language.

Cabana Man: Look, I don't have all day.
Me: Right! Right...so sorry. 

Mean people make me nervous.

Me: Umm...so I can choose any chair? Ok, let's go down this way.
Cabana Man: [highly agitated] I'm following you.

I begin marching down the beach towards the girls. Following me is Cabana Man...who is fast becoming Cabana Nazi, along with a middle-aged man who is also interested in renting chairs.

Me: Let's see...I can choose any chairs without a yellow tag? We would like to be seated away from children if possible...do you--

Cabana Man shakes his head and gestures to five pairs of chairs in a row.

Cabana Man: This is it.
Me: Alright. I'll pick one in the middle.

Cabana Man begins filling out the rental form.

Waiting Man: We're going to be renting four pairs of chairs, so my family will be seated on either side of you, and there are some children, but--
Me: [smiling] Oh! I can rent a pair of chairs on the end. Your family should be all together!

I think it's nice when strangers are kind to one another and work together in a spirit of cooperation. It gives me a sense of hope for the future in a world filled with chaos.

Waiting Man and I turn to Cabana Man, who glances up from his clipboard, annoyed.

Me: Can I change to that chair? [pointing at the chair on the end]
Waiting Man: It's just I heard you say you didn't want to be near children, so that might be better for you since we have children with us.
Me: Oh, yeah, we like children. We have children. We just didn't want things to get too rowdy.
Waiting Man: Oh, they're pretty calm.
Me: I wasn't talking about your children. 
Waiting Man: [uncomfortably] Oh.
Me: [laughing sheepishly] We're on vacation.
Cabana Man: [sigh] Whatever! You need to just pick a chair and stick with it! I'm writing this down in pen!

A pen?! That's absurd. He should work in pencil.

The girls approach with their cooler and bags.

Mama: [points at our chairs] This it?
Me: Yep. [grabbing Cara by the arm and whispering] He is the meanest Cabana man ever!
Cara: To hell with him. What did he say to you?
Me: I asked to rent a different chair, so that we wouldn't be sitting in the middle of that other man's family, and Cabana Man snapped at me because he had already filled out the rental form in pen.
Cara: Well, that's his fault for being stupid. He should work in pencil.
Me: I know, right?!

Beana, unsatisfied with the position of our umbrella, begins to wiggle the umbrella out of the sand

Me: [whisper-shouting so Cabana Man won't hear] I wouldn't do that if I were you.
Beana: [loud and indignant] Why not?
Me: [in a hushed tone] That Cabana Man is scary.
Beana: Psh. [continues wiggling umbrella]

Cabana Man throws down clipboard and stomps over to Beana.

Cabana Man: You can't do that!
Beana: [Pivots around with hands on hips] Why. Not?!
Cabana Man: Because. Then the umbrellas wouldn't all be in a straight line.
Beana: Psh. So?!
Cabana Man: Don't. Touch. The umbrellas!
Me: [whispering] I told you he is the meanest!
Beana: What a bastard. He isn't even that hot.

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