Tuesday September 07, 2021
Day 13: A Variety of Morbid Symptoms Appear (But Not Those)
Rehoboth makes it hard to get to and it makes it even harder to leave. Even if you have a car, it's a slog down 1. And if you don't, as we didn't, well, god bless.
I figured out my exit strategy late, which, as U.S. foreign policy will tell you, is never a good idea. Last Sunday, my first full day there, I ran down the options (we were heading to D.C. for the weekend, then flying home on Labor Day):
- rent a car, drive to DC
- bus to Wilmington, Amtrak to DC
- bus to DC
I was assuming the first option but it proved to be a nonstarter, since there were none to rent—at least none that I could find. Inventory is down in the pandemic era, now people are traveling, and many don't want to do public transport, thus... The bus to Wilmington seemed a slog, and, though I like Amtrak, why bus/train when you can just bus? Anyway, that's what we went with—even though, for some insane reason, the only Rehoboth-to-DC bus left at 6:45 PM and didn't arrive in DC until 9:30ish. Which meant a day of waiting around. Was this a chamber of commerce thing? Keep the tourists in town for another day of spending? It wound up being a kind of wasted day. I think of Antonio Gramsci: the old is dying and the new cannot yet be born; in this interregnum, a variety of morbid symptoms appear.
Patricia seemed off in the morning, tense, not quite there. We both agreed that a day at the beach wasn't smart: getting lubed up, sanded and salted one more time? Why? We were lucky that my sister's family was staying with a friend, who was staying at her friend's place for the Labor Day weekend, and who let us hang for the day; but we didn't want to overimpose with showers and all that.
So what did we do during our “extra” day? Walked to a Starbucks, where the servers were masked but 95% of the patrons weren't. We walked back. Then we went to my first movie in a movie theater since the pandemic began. Not suprisingly, given Delaware's habits, few of the workers at the theater were masked, and even fewer of the customers. But thankfully the theater wasn't crowded, Patricia, Ryan and I sat in our own area, and when not snarfing movie popcorn (oh, movie popcorn, how I've missed thee) we stayed masked.
The movie, by the way, was Marvel's “Shang Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings,” which has superlative critic and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes (92%/98%, respectively), and was abyssmal. Sorry, everyone. The scene on the bus was great. As soon as they got into la-la land, I could barely stand it. If I could climb walls, I would have.
The bus to DC, on Best Bus, wasn't bad, to be honest. People were told to mask up, most people were responsible, the driver was good. Our intro to DC was a little off. My wife had booked us at the AC Hotel, near the Convention Center, but it turns out there are two AC Hotels in downtown DC, and she didn't have the address readily available and we were taken to the wrong one. The clerk there wrote down the proper address but without the proper east/west/north/south designation, which confused the second cabbie. But we finally arrived. And it was nice to be in a place again where people took a worldwide pandemic seriously.