Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bad Moon Rising?

Not deterred by yesterday's fiasco in Long Beach, Richie determined that after our 9:30 a.m. haircuts, we would go straight to Long Beach for our second attempt to see the ships.

In the car, heading for the freeway and Long Beach, I said plaintively, "I sure hope some entrepreneur has set a hot dog stand..." and Richie said, "Tell you what, we're coming up on Nathan's, we'll stop and get a hot dog. So we did.* Delay #1.

Then I couldn't find my hat anywhere in the car, so we went home and got it. Delay #2.

We arrived at the parking lot (free for once,) parked, cleared Security and went to the back of the line/mass. Picture some 20 to 30 people abreast, 40 or 50 people deep.

Periodically a security guard would order us into a line-like mass, but it was, for him, like trying to walk an octopus.

We chatted amicably with the people immediately around us -- an older guy, who was very knowledgeable about boats and the history of San Pedro and the couple beside us who live in San Pedro. Behind us there were seven Asian nuns and they looked too cute - all of them were about 5 ft. tall, all in traditional nun garb - navy blue jackets and long skirts, white blouses, crucifixes hanging prominently from chains around their necks. Believe me, they kept their part of the line string straight.

But, at the 40 minute mark, this was becoming boring. Just then a Navy officer, in white uniform, chest covered with ribbons and medals, popped himself up onto a table and addressed us. The problem was: a minesweeper is a small ship and only 12 people at a time are able to fit on board. The tour takes 20 minutes. Do the math...

At the one hour and 15 minute mark, I said to Richie, "This sucks - see you at the car." I hit the restroom on the way out, went to the car and settled in the comfortable passenger seat, put the windows down (lovely day, refreshing little breeze) picked up my book, lit a cigarette and relaxed. Standing on a concrete floor, wearing glove-soft boat shoes, is not going to do the average back any good at all.

An hour later, Richie appeared, looking irritated. He said, "I give up! I'm not standing in that line any longer!"

Astonished, I gasped, "You've been in the LINE all this time?" "Yes," he said, put on his seat belt, started the car and away we went.

He discarded his plan to try again today when he read the front page of the Daily Breeze - "Ship viewers wait up to three hours to tour..." Delay #3.

* Make one hot dog seem like two: put mustard, onion, pickle relish on one end; put mustard, sauerkraut on the other end. Viola - two different tastes!

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