I am now aware
of the specific procedure for bribing a beach attendant to get our chairs ready
before we come down to the beach. But
before I put my knowledge into action, I infelicitously run out of gas. After which I immediately develop “Cold Feet.”
The bribing would take place tomorrow. Providing a day for my rich and fertile
imagination to think of what might possibly go wrong.
What if they took my money and they didn’t do anything? What would I do then? There was nobody to complain to. Even if there were, what would I say to
them? “I bribed a beach attendant and he
I was still thinking I would do it. Which triggered the issue of “The Look”, the unspoken
acknowledgment accompanying the payoff, a subtle nod between the participants saying,
That “Look” involves a wink and a smile… actually, I
have no idea what it involves. I just
knew I had to do it. And I had no idea
There was also a timing problem.
I had now heard twice that to start “The Arrangement”,
you had to “take care of”
the beach attendants
at the beginning of your stay.
is, by then, it was already the third day.
You see the problem?
How do you “take care of”
people at the beginning when the beginning was two days ago?
no more “beginning.”
The beginning was
I’d heard no mention of “taking care of”
people in the early
part of your stay.
“The Arrangement” even still possible?
Also, I mean, I’m not trying to be stingy here – but since we were
beginning “The Arrangement” later, would the bribe now become cheaper?
I had absolutely no idea.
The next morning, much to my surprise, I discovered that
without doing anything
Arrangement” had inexplicably kicked in.
Our chairs, I was told at the “Attendants’ Kiosk”, were already down
I went to the beach, and there
Set up, amply betoweled, and
awaiting our arrival.
I must admit to a tingle of excitement.
But I was also confused.
Why was this happening?
I guess they thought…I don’t know
what they thought.
All I knew was “The Arrangement” was in
motion, and I had not “taken care of”
At that point, I made a unilateral “Decision of Decency”.
I would “take
them at the end
I would even give them double, the
“beginning” and the “end” money at the same time, writing Mahalo
, the Hawaiian word for “Thank you” on the envelope.
It felt like the perfect solution. I’d
get my “elite” treatment, and they’d
be appropriately “taken care of”
There was only one flaw in my decision:
Nobody knew about it but me.
This was a major problem, because, while I’m
thinking, “Everything’s worked out”,
the beach attendants are thinking, “What’s up with this guy?
He’s getting upgraded treatment.
Where’s the money?”
course, this misunderstanding could easily have been avoided if I’d just gone
up to the woman in charge of the beach attendants and said, “Now, look
here. I want you to know I am fully
cognizant of ‘The Arrangement’ and I intend to fulfill it to the letter at the
end of our sojourn.” – something like that, only less British. But instead, I said nothing.
Why? Because it sounded like a scam. “Mr. Big Shot Hotel Guest”, promising
hard-working beach attendants he’ll “take care of” them at the end of
the visit? Yeah, right. Requesting a favor with the reassurance of
future consideration felt like the beach chair equivalent of “I will gladly pay
you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” I
could not pull it off with a straight face.
I decided to simply leave things as they were. I would pay them at the end, and hope “The Arrangement”
It didn’t. The
next morning, there were no preset chairs for the Pomerantz family sitting on
Once again, I was back at the “Attendants’ Kiosk”, amongst
the hoi polloi
of the “Waiting
Only now, our chairs were
transported by attendants totally bereft of the “Aloha Spirit.”
I was not a popular person at the beach.
And it was not a good time to be hated.
Nearing New Year’s, the hotel was filled to capacity.
Suddenly, there were more guests than available
There was no question who
would be shut out.
The guy who wanted
something for nothing.
(I didn’t, but
how could they know
Through inexperience and timidity, I had bungled “The
There was now only one
thing I could do – get down there as early as possible, to beat the rush.
Forget sleeping in, forget the leisurely
breakfast, forget any
My single concern was my daily obligation.
I was the Man of the family.
The last thing I wanted were teary-eyed
children sobbing, “Daddy, where are our chairs?” and a smoldering wife
thinking, “I could easily have done better.”
My concern became an obsession.
At night, I would dream of murderous “Chair
Wars”, jolting awake in a battle-soaked sweat.
Every morning, I’d appear earlier and earlier.
On our last day, I bolted from bed and raced
to the beach, only to discover it was six-thirty in the morning.
The beach attendants don’t even arrive until
had managed to do the impossible – turn a dream vacation into a Polynesian
nightmare. And why? Because, God help me, I had wanted more.
by the shore before leaving for the airport, I pondered what it all meant. I had lost my way, stumbled into a strange
and forbidding world, only to be brought crashing down to earth. And as I scanned the scene before me,
carefree families frolicking happily in the sun, a final thought played lazily
across my mind.
How do you get those cabanas?