Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fear and Loathing in Ocean City (Without the Fear and Loathing)

Guess what everybody? Today we had the privilege of visiting Ocean City, in the glorious and widely beloved state of New Jersey. In case you were wondering, this excursion was at the behest of the Summer Discovery Program, which has once again shown its dedication to exposing us to iconic features of America. Thus it was that I discovered the land of $7 slices of pizza.

The day began with a 3 hour bus ride, which of course I slept through. When we arrived in Ocean City the first thing I noticed was a store selling gelato. I was very insistent that Other Julia and I get gelato, on the principle that it was gelato. I don't think Shebek was convinced by this line of reasoning, but I eventually won her over. The area we were allowed to inhabit was an interminable stretch of boardwalk, tourist shops, and shoreline. It was in many respects totally different from the beaches back at home and in other respects very similar. For instance, the seagulls here look different (and terrifying.) The Atlantic Ocean is much warmer than the Pacific, which makes it superior for frolicking in.  

Seagulls and beachgoers
When Shebek and I got gelato I summarily failed to consume mine in a timely and orderly fashion (it melted and dripped everywhere; panic ensued). Afterwards we wandered the boardwalk and explored candy stores. Candy stores, it turns out are a dangerous place for me; in one of them I started laughing and couldn't stop for several minutes. (I blame Shebek. She said something funny. Probably in a Russian accent.) 

We also spent a lot of time on the beach, where we tried to make a sandcastle. Allas our efforts were rebuffed by the unsandcastleable sand and destructive children. 

This adventure gave me time to think about some of the things I learned yesterday about the relationship between people and urban and commercial spaces. Yesterday, during our graffiti tour one of our guides said that graffiti is an inherently political action because graffiti artists only tag private property that they think should be public property. He also compared graffiti and corporate advertising. According to him, graffiti is democratic because it levels the playing field between individuals and corporations. I was interested to note that there was no graffiti visible on the boardwalk, though we were inundated with a deluge of corporate advertising.

 Today was a lot of fun and I even had a little time to continue reading "The Dispossessed," which may well be my favorite book this year. 

No comments:

Post a Comment