Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Why I Could Never be a Pierson

For those not related to me, the definition of a "Pierson" is essentially an outdoors person. Mixed in the family are 4 of such characters, aka my cousins - Rob, Dan, Jon and Liz. (This the first time I'm noticing all three of em have 3 letter shortened names). All of them are people who could survive anywhere. Hell, Jon just finished a bike trip from Mexico to Canada a few months ago. Me? I have a perfectly good condo, complete with a roof that I enjoy sleeping under.

This past weekend I went down to Pensacola, FL with Matt (and we dropped Lauren off to see her family) to see his cousin, my friend, Scott. The main focus of the trip was to see the Blue Angels perform in an air show at Pensacola Beach on Saturday.

We drove down Friday afternoon, and after a must stop a Whataburger (not quite as important as a stop up north at White Castle), we made it down in time to go to McGuire's Irish Pub & Brewery. It's a pretty well-known place. They've literally got dollar bills hanging from everywhere. As of last year, there is over $700,000 in dollar bills hanging from the walls and ceilings. Supposedly once a year they shut the place down and spend all day counting each and every one of em...for tax purposes I guess. Another tradition is a green drink called an Irish Wake. It's served in a "dirty" mason jar and is strong enough that they'll only serve you one. Another fun part of McGuire's is the trickiness of the bathrooms (see picture). On the Mens room it says, "Don't go in here LADIES this is the Men's Room" (With "LADIES" in a very large font). So of course after drinking an Irish Wake I was pretty easily fooled and walked right in. Some other guy followed me so that made me feel better.

Saturday morning, because of the HUGE crowds they get for the air show, it's important to get an early start, which isn't really my thing. But luckily Central Time bought me an extra hour. We loaded up Scott's car with beach chairs, towels, an umbrella, sunscreen and a cooler with beer and water. It took about 2 hours to make the 12 mile drive, which is better than I remember a couple years ago when we went. Eventually we were able to find a place to park at about 11am and we decided to kill some time by heading over to Subway for some food before we hit the beach. After Subway we walked back to the car (which, it's important to note that walking to the car is in the OPPOSITE direction of the beach). So it probably looked like we were leaving. So, I thought it'd be fun to, as people walked past us, to say "I can't believe the cancelled the air-show" loud enough for whoever walked past us heard. Ok, so it was funny at the time. Little did we realize how powerful karma is! Because after dragging all our crap to the beach (coolers without wheels are a BITCH to carry!) not to much afterwards...Mother Nature unleashed herself on the beach and in fact DID cancel the show!

It was actually one of the most scary experiences of my life, and which is just one example of why I wouldn't survive a day in the life of a Pierson. But, seriously, it was really bad out there. All we could do was huddle around an umbrella and wait out the storm...and wait...and wait...and wait. In the end about 6 inches of rain fell and tons of thunder and lightning pounded the area. At least 4 people were hit by lightning and taken to a hospital. It probably doesn't count but at one point I was holding on to the cloth part of the umbrella, to help make sure it didn't blow away, when I got shocked! I saw a bright blue light right on my thumb. It felt just like getting shocked by an outlet at home, but it put a good scare into me! Ryan and Anne (Scott's wife) also felt a little buzz on their hair at some point. It was just a pretty miserable experience. About 2 hours later or so when they finally announced the show was cancelled and the lightning let up, we packed everything up and started back for the car. Everything was drenched, and it was still raining. The street where we parked had floods halfway to my knees, it was nuts. I can't even imagine all the hurricanes they get down there, this seemed as bad as it could get to me! Finally we made it back to the car, but with the traffic no one was going anywhere. Me, Matt, Scott and Anne just sat in Scott's car for another 2 hours or so, completely drenched. It was pretty miserable. Finally we drove a half mile or so to a beach shop where we all bought new, clean, warm t-shirts. I also lost my sunglasses at some point in the mess, so I got new sunglasses too!

And for fun, here is an MSNBC article about all this that seems like it's written by a 12 year old.

More Pensacola weekend stories to come...

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