Driving into Rehoboth Beach on July 15, I was bursting with excitement. There I was arriving in one of my favorite places, a place I have visited a few weekends a year for over 20 years. Actually in 2003, I lived here for the summer. I was teaching high school at the time, and spent my summer lifeguarding, teaching swimming lessons at the Y and bartending at the Renegade. But this time was different. Two months at the beach – a tiny escape from Covids unknown, present and future.
Riding out the Covid lockdown in my Brooklyn apartment from March through June was rough. NYC was a scary place to be. There’s no sugar coating it. I went days, weeks without leaving my apartment. Even as June began and things and bars and restaurants reopened, many friends were not ready to dine out. ‘Social’ life in NYC meant picnics in parks. Blankets, food, drinks, all while socially distancing. Many parks painted large white circles on the grass to show where everyone can sit safely.
Even with Covid still waging war on our country, life for me felt like night and day when I arrived in Rehoboth. Within 30 minutes of getting to the house in Canal Point where I rented a bedroom, I was sitting on Poodle Beach staring out into the glorious Atlantic. Unpacking could wait! Later that first day, I biked out to US1 and joined RISE gym, a massive two story complex that is unlike any gym I have ever been. That first night ended with dinner at Jam. Beach! Gym! Outdoor dining with the mandatory mask requirement! I am going to like it here. Strike that, love it.
The next day, as I was biking home from Poodle Beach, thinking how lucky I am to be here, an SUV driving down the street swerved into my lane. I instinctively pressed my brakes hard, too hard, causing me to flip over the handlebars. Would you believe the SUV driver didn’t even stop to see if I was ok?! Thankfully a few other drivers did and apart from some bad abrasions, bruises and a sprained right wrist, I wasn’t seriously hurt. How is that for a welcome to Rehoboth Beach!
After taking the night to ice my wrist and get some rest, I woke up Friday ready for my first weekend! All of my friends here are still working from home full time, so once Friday evening comes around, game on! We spent the night sampling flavored crushes on the patio at Aqua Bar and Grill. I already see many of those in my future. Watermelon is my favorite… this week.
Saturday and Sunday afternoon were spent at a friend’s pool catching up with DC and Philly friends I haven’t seen in far too long. It was also spent playing rounds of pool beer Pong! Or, with us gays, pool White Claw Pong. I am happy to report that my teammate Noah and I are undefeated, and humble brag, I was throwing left handed because of the sprained wrist.
Sunday night my friends surprised me by taking me to see Pamela Stanley at The Pines. I have ended many a weekend here singing and dancing along with Pamela Stanley. I was excited to see her at her new venue. I did wonder if I would have fun this time around with the new guidelines restricting seating at your table and only your table. My fears were alleviated in the first few minutes as the sold out crowd cheered when Pamela entered the room. As the show continued and the drinks flowed my adoration for Pamela Stanley might have exceeded normal levels as I repeatedly shouted, “We love you Pam Stan.” My friends have jokingly told me Pam Stan has banned me from all future shows. They are joking, right?
The next day laying out hungover on Poodle Beach, eating a sandwich from Coho’s (my new favorite sandwich shop tied with Lori’s, my first favorite), I reflected on my first days here. It’s hard to put into words how grateful I feel to be healthy and financially stable enough to be in such a beautiful place spending time with friends and making new “friends.” I already have two beach crushes and two gym crushes, one more spot to be filled. Robert’s rule – one can only have five crushes. I am not a crush whore!
Maybe I will just make Rehoboth my boyfriend this summer. Every day I wake up and decide where I am going to bike, what new restaurant or bar to try out. One night after a few White Claws, if you hear “I love you Rehoboth Beach” you know it’s Robby from Brooklyn 🙂
PS PAM STAN, I STILL LOVE YOU, TOO.
(this column was originally published in the August 14, 2020 edition of LETTERS FROM CAMP REHOBOTH)