Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Beyond the boards at the beach

"A fog fills the air while a crowd forms around a magician as he hands a young boy his card that he pulled from his friend's wallet on the boardwalk in Ocean City, Md. Friday evening."

The beach is relaxing. It’s a place I know everything about.

Fortunately I get the opportunity to make the more than two-hour trip south whenever I have the chance since my parents own a condo oceanside.

But the condo cannot hold everyone and it normally takes some advanced planning if we want a quiet weekend or don’t mind giving up the beds to the parents, or brother with kids, which translates into sleeping on the floor during any given weekend in July.

This coming weekend I'll be drinking too much having fun at my good buddy's wedding and then I am off to Japan.

Being in the land of the sun for more than two weeks and then returning to an internship lasting the remainder of the summer I thought sitting on the beach soaking up the sun, eating some great indigenous foods of the Chesapeake Bay and seeing the bizarre sights I love would be a perfect way to officially start my summer.

But after making the trip and walking on the boardwalk Friday night it hit me. I really don't know everything there is to know about the place I call "the beach."

Sure I've been to this barrier spit way more than 100 times, and I've eaten at all the local places along with the staples that are basically the Chilis and Outback of Ocean City.

But there is so much to this small town that we don't get to see. There are so many people we don't get to meet beyond the surface. There is so much to do that we haven't done. The more I think about it, it's like home.

I cannot speak on behalf of everyone reading, but how often are our days consumed with the same daily food chains and people? I know besides work related people I get to meet and my sense of wanting to be adventuress that I mostly eat, see and talk to the same people day in, day out.

As we trekked along the foggy pier know as the boardwalk, I noticed so many different types of people. It's one of my favorite things to do at the beach: people watch.

But in past years, I never took my camera and what caught my eyes this time were the performers. From magicians, musicians and artists, they all had an expression that wanted to be witnessed by passerby.

But who were these people when they weren't performing on the overcrowded wooded walkway? It interests me. I am not normally the kind that stops to watch a man playing two trumpets or the magician throwing cards. I did Friday.

I guess what I am getting at without rambling 300 more words than I should is that there is so much more that surrounds us that we have no idea about.

I pose the challenge to go against the golden rule and talk to strangers. Seek out the stories of the ordinary people you pass daily. Go into the restaurant you've never been. Try something new.

I've always had a strong interest in others, and it hit me when my professor once said, "Do something new each weekend. See the world."

She was right. There is so much to the world, so many places to see, yet, we barely know the town we live in. I guess that's why I love traveling and meeting new people.

On a recent episode of one of my favorite shows, which I've mentioned before, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Bourdain whom has been around the world, came back to explore his hometown of New Jersey. It was fascinating to see his viewpoints of a place he thought he knew everything about and what was his home.

Japan will again open up my eyes to dig deep and step outside of my comfort zone, try new things, meet new people and come back a new person. But I cannot forget that even the places I visit normally can have the same effect on my life.

Now back to my love/hate relationship with Tom Green Live. Yeah, that Tom Green. He has a live Internet talk show which is pretty entertaining to listen to when blogging late night.


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