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Anyone ever had that one place they feel connected to? For some it’s a camp, for others it’s their grandparents house, and for some, it’s wherever their heart feels at home. Always, and I mean, always, do they talk about these deep, emotional, and philosophical reasons why they feel this way. Whether it represents a bigger picture, or it’s just the people that live there. It’s always this strong tie that seems unique, yet universal somehow.
Well, fuck you and your clichés.
Where I feel truly connected, and at home, if you want to call it that, is at some random, tire mark covered, sea salt infused, seagull shit strewn, sun bleached pavement, down by the jetty on Wells Beach. Yes, that old parking lot that everyone does doughnuts in and had their first run in with the cops because you towed around your friend on a skateboard in their car and they wiped out around a corner just as the cruiser pulled in. Yeah, that parking lot… You see, when where you live is a snow covered, freezing cold hellscape for two-thirds of the year, you come to appreciate the little things you can do. But that’s mostly just because whenever it gets warm out, the roads have more tourists behind the wheel than mosquitoes in the air. And trust me, no one wants to drive when the Canadians are out… It’s just bad.
So right back to it. The parking lot. Well, there’s a bit of a lead up to it so I’ll explain. Working in this town gets exponentially more difficult the closer you get to the summer months, but hey, that’s money in your pocket. Working at a coffee shop and trying to describe a macchiato to at least twelve people a day can be draining after you’ve just boxed up your fifth set of assorted donut holes, but this time they didn’t want chocolate glazed, which honestly I don’t get but it’s fine. So, you get off your shift, stuff your paycheck from last week in your pocket after depositing it on your phone (because technology), and you call up one of your friends for a ride cause you don’t have your license yet. This is where the fun begins.
You roll up to the beach with your crew. You know, the one group of misfits that you get along with but just barely enough so that you don’t slaughter each other? There’s the over-the-top one who you sincerely ask yourself why you ever go out in public with, the timid-ish one that always surprises you when you see them leave their room in the morning, those two in the swimsuits that they didn’t coordinate but ended up matching and will not stop talking about it, the one who legally shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a Taco Bell anymore, the one who is one of your favorites 'cause you skipped practice when the coach didn’t show up and instead went to a Popeyes at the local highway stop with, and the one who gets along with the cops on a first name basis because, well, those stories are separate and probably best to leave out of the public eye… Yeah, that band of misfits who call each other fuck-ups, but it’s alright, because you’re all fuck-ups together.
Now, you all gather at the “Jetty lot” as everyone calls it and I will be referring to it as in the future. Your brother rolls up in the ozone layer destroying hulk of an automotive that your grandfather fixed up and subsequently gave to you, right next to your door, and just a bit too close, causing you to have to escape from your friend's car through the sunroof, because you’re not climbing over their center console. Your friend is saying “Oh, fuck off!” while they chuckle, because they did the same thing to him about a week ago at band practice. Now, some may say that it’s weird to go the beach at 8:00 at night, and I’d say you’re right. But nothing beats breaking out some blankets in the sand and sitting around for a while, cracking jokes and alerting the other beach goers with a megaphone that your history teacher is going to rule the world and they should all bow down. Later on, you pack up from the sand, and move to the warm pavement of the old jetty lot as someone uses their car as a barrier between your little party and the tourists who might accidentally think the open spots your using to break out a speaker and some chairs in would be a good spot to park their cars.
On this cool summer night, you’ve got a forecast of around 75° and a light breeze carrying the scent of low tide into your pimple covered nose. The transfer student starts to shiver and wrap up in their jacket as they get teased by the other kids about how last February it was -30° and they wore a sweatshirt and jeans to school. In the meantime, you’re trying to set up your telescope that your friend convinced you to bring because it’d be cool, yet you only get one person who’s genuinely interested in it, but it’s mainly because they got stoned before they showed up and the fact that you can see a moon of Jupiter from Earth shatters what’s left of their brain activity. When everyone quiets down, all you can hear is the subtle crunching of Doritos, the sixth can of Pepsi crack open from the last sleeve you bought, and the hum of some random music from the speakers on the car next to you. To you, everything is right in the world, at least in that moment.
Now, this jetty lot is special because of these types of interactions. The subtle poking of fun, the antics you get up to, and the things you’re not even sure are legal but are too afraid to ask even if you had time. But also the calm serenity of the waves, the distinct smell of the seawater mixed with the beach roses, and the rustle of the sleeping bags your friends are laying on but have to share because someone forgot theirs. These are the types of things you live for in a town like yours. 'Cause I know that my favorite spot in my town is that old jetty lot down by the water.