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People Get Ready, Update

UPDATE: Well, I'd have to say the holiday weekend is off to a rip roaring and early start. People definitely got their fancy cars with out of state plates down here way early today and were out in force in all the usual spots (idling in the middle of intersections and congregating in supermarket aisles, natch.) I really do welcome all the people back, it makes for a much more interesting place to live, but that first shock of it never wears off: it really feels like all of a sudden people are traipsing through your house without knocking. In any case, weather forecast looks like it's improving. And I'm trying not to use that word this summer, but aw, you cute little tear-streaked children of parents just in from Pennsylvania, why are you crying? It's only the produce aisle at Casel's! Now, move along people. The front of the melon case is no place to stand around and catch up on a year's worth of summer people chit chat.

That's a sweet little view from the third floor of the Pier at Caesars looking down at the first floor deck, where this week's possibly hurricane intensified waves looked like they were going to crash tsunami style on our onlookers. The waves got a lot of surfers reaching for their wet suits, and the warm weather had it feeling like maybe the summer season has a right to start this weekend after all. Various young locals such as my daughter already have tried out the ocean for you. Still cold. Alas, it seems sweatshirt weather may roll in by week's end (but UPDATE trending warmer) but that surely won't stop people from rediscovering my little neck of the woods. Or valley of the sand. I can tell it's almost Memorial Day because there are little voices suddenly coming from houses that have been empty all winter, like the little voices of little girls playing some kind of weird game on the balcony across the backyard that was, frankly, somewhat troubling. Voices carry, people.

In any case, this season, we locals have a bit of swagger in our flip flops; after all, we endured a winter no less traumatic than every one else, and we've now become a global mega-brand, thanks to Snooki and company. Usually, we sit out the big snowstorms, but not this year, as extensively documented elsewhere on this blog. Snow at the beach makes for endlessly ironic and beautiful photographs. But we're ready for summer. The Jersey Shore tourism folks up in Seaside Heights are holding various yackathons trying to get out in front of the Jersey Shore MTV phenom by reclaiming the JS brand as wholesome. Good luck with that. But hey, living in a place that's become a global brand can't be all bad, can it?

We've even managed to connect the bottom of the steps leading to the beaches to the actual beach through a little creative sand relocation. So you will not have to jump down off the cliffs to land on what's left of your beach after all. And really, if one can intuit a region wide feeling, I would say, there's a little optimism in the air. New restaurants are opening, people are reinventing themselves (see under: Terry O'Brien, karaoke maven of Cape May and mystery writer, is now manager of Morey's not-so-secret million dollar new Dark Ride, Ignis Fatuus, which will be a ghost ship filled with actors (jobs!) and animatronics and fake blood and gore and 12 minutes of not-for-the-kiddies frights. And, at some point, inevitably, karaoke? Whether it will replace the late great Castle Dracula, which was destroyed in a real life horror fire several years back, in the hearts and minds of dark ride enthusiasts remains to be seen. O'Brien's definitely got a dark streak, so it's got potential.)

Meanwhile, another O'Brien in the process of reinvention, Conan, will be at the Borgata for two shows on Sunday night. Of course, at this point, the main event of the entire weekend is the Flyers, who play Saturday night and will be a nice reward for a chilly day at the beach. (Though I've already heard the inevitable exchange among true waterlogged beach bums: "Sailing Cup?" "No, Stanley Cup.") In any case, welcome back Pennsylvania and not-as-south South Jersey. We're pulling out all the stops for you, including these sofas at the Hilton beach bar.