Leader of the Pack

The Puritanical admonishment — redundant in symbol and text — should have been enough of a clue as to what kind of people populate the seaside inn on the resort’s sandy but rocky coast.

A red circle with a vicious diagonal slash encloses the jagged-edge green leaves. Below the symbol, text crafted in the politely autocratic way currently fashionable: “Thank you for not smoking marijuana on these premises” articulates the message for the symbolically challenged.

Boisterous and ostentatiously (as if there were some other way) flashy, those who require such warnings daily descend to the breakfast room. Albeit very slowly and in a magnificently measured way. Almost en masse, and nearly exactly at the minute the space opens, the gang of mostly look-unalike strangers seems to travel as a single pack.

They are  unified in only a uni-dimensional way.

They’re oddly but unsurprisingly fixated on their devices, possessions worthy of a status beyond reason or reasoning. They fuss and manipulate and fidget. Long, rectangular, compartmentalized plastic tubes. Or, among the more modern, round plastic containers separated into pie-shaped wedges. Round or rectangular, in each instance there are seven compartments. Pill portion containers.

Noisy at a level of distraction only to nonmembers of the club, of which few were present and to which few ordinarily aspire. The mob’s arrival, as if by some kind of homing instinct, is signaled by the sweep of the minute hand (which, for those who don’t know, is Mickey’s longer one), since theirs, of course, is an analog world.

Absent the athleticism of those with fewer years and greater flexibility – not to mention ability – the crowd compensates with loudly aggressive conversation. One frequently punctuated with “What?” Or “Pardon.” And “Excuse me” and “Again?”

Few were under 70. Years. A position once thought unattainable and even less desirable.

​And just a few years from my present position.

All members of the group that long ago gave up smoking – tobacco and marijuana.

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