The long awaited Outerbanks family vacation is finally here. I hadn’t planned on coming because of cost and how long I’d be away and because I’m coming home for 10 days at the end of June, but somehow, Mom and Dad convince (guilt) me into it. They tell me that this is the last EVER family vacation to OBX. This is our fourth year going and we always go the last week before the “summer season” begins because the price is cut in half. But now Sarah and Court are teachers and it’s too difficult for them to take off that week. They tell me I can invite a friend. “Why don’t you ask Kelly to come?” It’s funny they say this because why Kelly, specifically? I mean, besides she’s one of my best friends. I think they said Kelly because she doesn’t have a baby and she’s funny and gets along with everyone. Fair enough and good point. I ask her and she says yes. I actually can’t believe it. I think she’ll have work or some other commitments, but she’s totally on board. I’m wondering how it’s going to be. Kelly and I have never been on vacation together and it’s never just been the two of us (of our friends). I’m not nervous because we haven’t had a fight since we were seniors in high school; just curious to how it will be.
We drive down together Saturday morning. The whole family does. It’s a carpool. Kelly and I start driving for about a mile before she turns into a gas station. Mom calls me. “Um, did we lose you already?” If I were driving, this would be a problem, but Kelly is fine just using the GPS. We’re good, Mom. On the way down, we have to stop three times, naturally. I have to pee. When I came down two years ago, Stephen drove my car; Mike in the backseat. I tried not to drink much because I knew he would be so mad if I kept making him stop. Every time I had to pee I’d look at him and be like, do we need gas or something? “Oh my God, Lindsay, again?” It’s pretty bad. And I’m sure annoying for the driver. But Kelly doesn’t get annoyed at much.
On the way down we catch up on oh, so much. Every 20 minutes it feels like, Kelly looks at her GPS on her phone and says, “Oh my God, we’re almost there. We’re so close.” We are not so close. A couple hours in, I read her my screenplay. She’s the first person…not reading it, but hearing it. I throw a bunch of disclaimers out there, like I know this character is in the first half of the movie and then disappears, and some of the scenes are incredibly dumb, but, bear with me. I love reading it out loud to her. Sometimes I feel stupid, like, I don’t want to read this part, but Kelly enjoys it. Especially because she knows my family and certain stories or references I threw in there. She gets it. It feels good to read it out loud, too. I thought I was going to hate it, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought.
As we get closer, we start to pass the same place over and over again – Wings. This place looks like some kind of local store, like you can buy a bunch of OBX stuff there. I don’t know. But we keep passing it. I think nothing of it, but Kelly comments on it probably every single time. “What is this place? I need to find out. I need to go to Wings.” OK Kel, but, not today. Let’s get to Chips Beer and Wine Market. I looked up this place because I knew I needed to contribute wine to vacation, so I looked up a place close by and Chips looked amazing. Um, beer and wine tastings every day. Yes please!
We’re close to Chips. FINALLY. We’ve been in the car for about six hours. My face is basically pressed against the window, looking for a sign. Obviously, we pass it. Have to turn down these side streets. Finally get back around, and, we’re here! Yay! One side is all beer and wine; the other side has a bar with about six taps, and a wine machine, and tables, and random things to buy like drinking glasses. And chips. Amazing. An older man with gray hair and a beard greets us immediately. “What can I help you with?” Well, we definitely want to do a tasting, but we’re not sure if we want to do beer or wine. He then explains that we can do a flight of beer samples or we can get a card that lets us use the wine machine for a taste, a half glass, or a full glass. I mean, the wine thing seems pretty fun. We’ll do that. He walks away, very jovial, to retrieve us a card. Kelly’s excited. “Was that Chips??” We look at the picture again. Chips looks like he’s black. That man was white. So, I don’t think so.
We’ll call him that anyway. Chips comes back with a card and leaves us to it. It’s just me and Kelly in this place. We excitedly pick up a wine glass and walk over to the machine. Drink a few tastes and talk about how happy we are that we made it. We are so excited for this week. You know, it’s that excited talk right at the start of vacation, which makes you think how much it’s going to suck on the drive back. But we don’t care about that right now. After a few more tastes, we both decide that one white is delicious and pour ourselves a half glass each. Walk over to the tables and sit down. I mean, I love these tables. Wooden with glass tops and the black comfy stools slide right underneath. We sit and chat, slightly giddy, when Kelly notices a card box in the middle of the table. What’s inside? Trivial Pursuit cards. My mouth gapes open. Kelly is equally happy. “This is the best place ever. I’m never leaving.” I mean, me neither. We need to come back here.
We then ask each other questions from the cards and get very excited for the other person when we actually get one right. Good times. We’d like to pour another half glass, but Kelly has to drive and anyway, let’s get to the house already! We walk over to the other side where Chips and a younger guy stand by a register. Peruse the aisles for wine – Kelly for gluten-free beer.
I’ve been that server where when some customer starts asking me about gluten-free shit I’m like, oh my God, go fuck yourself. Do you really need it to be gluten-free? But Kelly actually does. Something with her thyroid. She recently found out about it and now I’m so much more understanding of it. It’s not right, but it’s the truth. I start piling wine bottles onto the counter near the register. “Lynn, that’s expensive, why don’t you get this?” She picks up a large bottle of Woodbridge something or other. I make a face. Snob. No, at this point I don’t even think I’m a snob. I just can’t drink shit wine anymore. And $12 a bottle is not expensive. Mom didn’t charge me what she charged everyone else to come down, so I can at least contribute with some beer and wine. We pick up some gluten-free beer but have no idea what’s good and what isn’t. Let’s be honest, we’re going by what the bottle looks like. Young guy sees what we’ve decided on and steers us away from it. “Do you want beer that actually tastes like beer?” Rhetorical. He brings over a 6-pack of Omission lager. We trust him. What do we know? Thank you for your help guys! We’re very friendly at this point. Got a buzz going and just spent a shitload of money. It’s OK. I plan to spend nothing else on this trip.
Continue on our way. We just want to be at the house. I thought it was closer than this. Can we just get there already? Finally arrive. Yes! We’re here! The house is a huge mint-colored thing. Such a beach house. Open the door and yell that we’re here. It’s quiet. This is the downstairs. A game room. Pool table and couches and TV. The back door leads to a pool, hot tub, swings (yes, swings), and further back a little grassy yard. Amazing. There are two bedrooms on this floor. We walk up to the second level. Three bedrooms. Kelly and I run into every one, looking at how cute they all are. This is the point when Kelly starts to get really excited. “Oh my God, I love this house! I want to stay here forever.” We continue up the stairs to the third floor. Finally, people. Chris, Meg, Herron, and Kuda hang out in the kitchen, already started on drinks. Mom tells us which rooms are already taken, so we go look at every other available room until we decide on the yellow polka dot room. First Kelly wanted it because there’s a deck attached, but then we realized all the rooms lead out to the deck. And last but not least. The elevator. Most of the houses in OBX have elevators and it never gets old. I mean, we have an elevator. How cool is that.
Now that we’ve unpacked and are settled in, it’s probably around 6pm. It’s not that nice out right now – hopefully not a sign of what’s to come this week – so we get started on games. Buzz Word. There is a lot of talk of Kelly’s car for some reason. She has so many things in that car. So if we need anything, she’s got it. She always keeps a bottle of tequila in there, so if we run out of alcohol, don’t worry guys. Then as we’re playing, she talks about this other game, called Don’t Break the Ice. I never heard of that. Do you know what that is? “Yes! It’s in my car.” To which Meg responds, “Your car sounds like a magical place.” It really does. Christine is in charge of the cards on the table and keeps spilling her drink whenever she tries to get to them. To the point where it’s comical. “Like, this cup is in the middle of my life right now. It’s ridiculous.” You are ridiculous.
Stephen, Muffy and Jeff arrive later. On to Cards Against Humanity. I’ve never played it before, but it’s Apples to Apples. Just the wrong, horrible, awesome version. We’re waiting on Herron to continue playing. He walks out of the bathroom and into the kitchen to wash his hands. Herron, what are you doing? “There’s no soap in the bathroom.” Kelly replies, “Soap is for pussies.” So, most things for the rest of the week are now for pussies. That’s what happens when you are with a small group of people for a long period of time. The inside jokes and sayings just start piling up.
Dad walks up later and goes to the kitchen. He yells. “God Dammit!!!” We all turn, worried. What is it??? “The tonic’s downstairs.” He’s completely serious. The best part is, WE HAVE AN ELEVATOR. It’s not even like he has to walk down the steps. And, this is the second time he’s done this.
Weird conversations occur during Cards against Humanity. For instance, I find out that Herron’s Dad is a pastor. He informs us, “They don’t drink.” They don’t? “No!” Dad disagrees. “Sure they do!” “Uh. No.” Kelly interjects. “Catholic?” “Yea.” “OK, yea, Catholic priests are alcoholics.” Dad – “I would be too if I couldn’t have sex.”
And this is only the first night.
*Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers