Cape May Journal

Wednesday, July 17Horrible early morning, we considered driving north the 40 minutes to Atlantic City and the casinos. There was a tornado watch to the north in the state! But we tried the beach, only about five of us, and the skies cleared. (And the hordes came.)

The traditional large seagull is not commonly seen here—the herring gull (sardinius gullibilum). It has been supplanted by the smaller, more aggressive laughing gull, characterized by a scream which is a cross between Phyllis Diller and getting your finger stuck in a door. (The laughing gull is, technically, a tern, but I digress.)

There was an uncommon number of both gulls on the beach by late morning, and then I realized why: For some reason, there were far more small children than on prior days. (Do people begin vacations on Wednesdays?) The gulls understand that the kids spill food, and they are quick to dive-bomb any scraps and leftovers. Not a bad synergy. Clean beach. Except then the largest gulls head for my car. I’m positive one dropped an egg.

The dolphins must have known about the kids, because one big one, maybe eight feet long, slinked by about 10 yards off shore in about five feet of water. The kids went crazy. (So did their parents.) I raced to the water’s edge, hit the power button on my camera, turned it “off” by so doing, and failed to take a picture. (I pretended I got a great shot.)

We’re going to the Lobster House tonight, which we’ve never visited. My take is that it’s a vast warehouse of a restaurant where everyone is eating with their fingers and tossing food, while drinking cheap beer. But several people have urged us to go. So the next paragraph will be written upon our return.

Well. The Lobster House is on the marina where the fishing boats are kept. It must seat 600 people (the guy at the door didn’t know). The attractive women in the place were so tough they could have bench-pressed me. Our waitress has been there for 14 years. Looking around, she said, “It’s not that crowded.” People were waiting outside to be called, but they had a table open for two. (The parking lot consumed about five acres. Luckily, an enormous SUV—a Chevy Torquemada—pulled out as I dawdled past, and I had a space the size of Lichtenstein. I set all three alarms plus the self-defense system. Essentially, the car was on defcon3.)

The Caesar salad came with anchovies without our asking, and my four-pound lobster was steamed very nicely. The Pinot Grigio was from March, but that was not a bad month. As we left, even the illegal parking spaces, with threatening signs depicting tow trucks and German Shepherds, were occupied.

I’m not hurrying back, but I can say I was there.

Herring gull on the left (sardinius gullibilum), and black-headed laughing
gull on the right (tête-noir-screamus).

© Alan Weiss 2007. All rights reserved.

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