Saturday, August 22, 2009
Gin in Asbury Park
I spent a wonderful afternoon with Dave on Thursday in Asbury Park, where we later met my friend Mark for dinner. Asbury Park, you may remember, is a somewhat faded but resurgent tourist town on the Jersey Shore, and Mark lives nearby.
Dave and I drove down that afternoon (I actually drove -- a rarity for this New York City boy!) and parked near the beach. Mark gave us some ideas about places to check out, so we walked along Cookman Avenue, which is lined with quaint little stores. I bought Ernie and Ruby some dog biscuits at a shop called “Asbury Bark” (how cute is THAT?) and we found some funky little antique stores full of everything from modernist furniture to feather boas. We also explored the adjacent community of Ocean Grove, which is bursting with quaint, colorful gingerbread and Victorian architecture. We walked back along the boardwalk, where kids were playing in fountains near the great looming skeleton of the old Asbury Park Casino.
We’d agreed to meet Mark for a drink before dinner, so we went to a bar near the beach. I was starving and we’d been walking in the sun for a while, but nonetheless, I ordered a martini. Dave quite sensibly ordered wine. Mark arrived, we talked some more, and eventually got another round -- which meant a second martini for me. On an empty stomach.
I’m sure you can see where this is going, and trust me, it wasn’t pretty. We eventually had to leave dinner early so I could just get home and into bed. (I did not drive back!)
I woke up this morning feeling fine, though embarrassed and self-critical. (“What kind of a lazy pathetic Buddhist am I? How mindful was that, for Pete’s sake?”) Eventually I tempered the self-criticism with the recognition that I’m a human being, and sometimes I screw up. C’est la vie.
But as you know, I've had these conversations with myself before, always prompted by a cocktail or two. So I am making a solemn vow: No more hard liquor. I was never much of a drinker, but as I get older I just can’t tolerate that stuff anymore. From now on, I’m sticking to beer or wine.
Aside from that little mishap, it was a great day!
(Top: The Asbury Park Casino, from inside. Middle: A shop on Cookman Avenue. Bottom: The Casino, from the outside on the boardwalk.)