Given that America’s east coast is the home of numerous military hot spots, it followed that the Virginia area would offer touring options for at least one of them. Our warcraft of choice was a bit of a drive from Virginia Beach, but seemed like an interesting idea at the time. We might remember it more fondly if it weren’t for my ongoing physical issues, and if hadn’t taken us two tries to gain battleship access.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Over the past few days, live performances have been on my mind for a couple of reasons I’ll get to at the end of this miniseries — to wit: my life at concerts over the past 25 years, mostly but not entirely rock-based, including a smattering of stand-up comedy and a pair of classical orchestras in more recent times. That number of years might sound impressive if I were a 30-year-old roadie and if the results were novella-length. As a 45-year-old introvert, I’m surprised they add up to as much as they do.
The next two concerts in my timeline shared quite a few traits. Both were at the same venue in downtown Indianapolis. My wife and son accompanied me for a change. Both featured large orchestras, multimedia displays, and original scores from entertainment media.
One of these presentations differed from all the other shows in this miniseries in a very noticeable way: we took photos!
With each respective chapter of all our annual road trips, I have memories remaining from every stop to varying degrees. We’ve completed so many and I’m so old that I can recall some in greater detail than others. Our 2008 visit to Busch Gardens is very nearly an exception. I’ve spent months straining to summon those images from the recesses of mental storage, but I remember virtually nothing. Not the rides, not the snacks, not the animals, and thankfully not the physical pains I brought with me. For reasons that’ll be apparent by the end of this chapter, that day is largely a blur.
I say “largely” because, as I worked through the “Historical Notes” section, a couple of repressed scenes came back to me. Now I wish they hadn’t.
I’ll always remember Virginia Beach as the place where I checked off and “frolic on a sunny, legitimately oceanside beach” from my bucket list. Two of Earth’s treasures are inaccessible here in Indianapolis and are a bit glamorized — possibly even mythologized, given our muted responses in the moment. It’s not the first time I’ve had my first encounter with something beloved by billions of other humans throughout world history only to discover my personal response is “I don’t get it.”
Moving forward from there, we turned to the rest of the Virginia Beach and sought other forms of fun, meaning, and/or bang for our buck. Results continued to be, um, mixed.
I have a coworker whose vacations are the exact opposite of ours. Her day-to-day life is so much nonstop on-the-go never-ending battle against the forces of entropy and laziness that her ideal getaway involves laying out at the beach, catching up on her reading, surely having drinks at her side, and nothing else if at all possible. I understand her story is normal, as beach lovers are a majority among vacationers. One time in Virginia, we tiptoed into their world to see what the fuss was about, and to see if the idea might catch on for us.
Mild spoiler: nope.
In designing and composing our travelogues, we pride ourselves on capturing the narrative that we lived through. Sometimes we find ourselves in a state of zealous motion, pausing only for fleeting glimpses of our surroundings. Other times, a notable sight will stop us in our tracks and invite closer examination, sometimes indulging in variations on a theme like the following mini-gallery. Such was the case when we approached Virginia Beach, where a certain King of the Sea towers over the boardwalk and commands the attention of anyone with an eye for detail who isn’t in a hurry to go get sunburned.