Thursday, March 17, 2016

Auspicious Day

Today the principal item on our admittedly less than enthralling agenda was the renewal of our monthly Guest Pass to Sea Pines Resort where we currently reside. Sea Pines is a 5,200-acre private residential gated community located on the southern tip of Hilton Head Island.  As recently as yesterday morning I overhead an Island resident complain that she and her family had moved out of Sea Pines because there were too many restrictions.  It requires little imagination to recognize that the pristine appearance of Sea Pines is no accident.  Aside from the obvious manicured nature of the entire resort, the homogeneity of the homes and the noticeable absence of so-called "personality" traits peculiar to residences in other communities, Sea Pines practically screams militaristic conformity.

Community Services Associates (CSA) owns, maintains and secures the common property and roads within Sea Pines.  CSA runs for example a 42-man security department which handles traffic violations and other limited law enforcement functions.  It is not unusual to discover CSA security guards regularly making their rounds, keeping a general eye upon whatever transpires within the community. Our renewal of the monthly Guest Pass never fails to reinforce the highly regimented nature of the community. The Sea Pines Resort administrative centre is a very serious institution, well constructed and glaringly marked with signs and directions.  It announces its dominion and standing. Personally I have no problem with the regimental nature of Sea Pines though I readily accept that many people would find the compliance and conventionality overwhelming.

Anyway, this is all an aside.  After our sustaining egg-in-the-hole breakfast this morning, and after we had called the Sea Pines Resort to order our replacement car pass, we trundled to the administrative centre and completed our duty within moments. By the way, the officious manner of the clerical staff at Sea Pines Resort is generally echoed by the guards at the two gated entrances to the Resort. It is an experience akin to dealing with international Border Guards; namely, a communication never to be lightly undertaken. For one such as I (obsessed with uniformity) there is no complaint; however I am occasionally sensitive to the case for a greater laissez-faire approach.

When that task was completed we directed ourselves to Harris Teeter where we hurriedly fulfilled our quest to collect household provisions and groceries.  There were more specialized products that we required from Fresh Market, so that was our next stop.  With the car trunk laden with fresh food on a hot day, we determined to return to the condominium to unload the goods.  But because today was to be my "day off" from bicycling, I was set upon getting the car detailed at Island Car Wash, a ceremony which is traditionally within my exclusive domain.  I also wanted to check out some clothing items at Belk, another custom (shopping) which we do not share.  So after having discharged my passenger and the baggage, I headed northward through Sea Pines to Pope Avenue.

Along the way I telephoned my sister and got caught up on the latest news about our elderly mother.  Then I stopped at the office of our estate agent and collected the small bit of mail which had come in. Finally I was able to commit myself to the project of the car wash, a matter notoriously dear to my heart.  The staff at the car wash work hard at what they do and I always give them a generous tip which inevitably precipitates some further attention after I have been called to collect the car.

My next stop was Belk.  The important feature of Belk is that it has a "Big & Tall" section.  I seldom have any difficulty finding something which suits me; and there is never an issue with size.  In fact in the context of "Big & Tall" I flatteringly fall into the lower range of sizes! When I was checking out my order of shorts and tropical shirts, an elegant older woman approached me and asked where I was from.  I told her Canada.  When I asked her how she knew I was an interloper she remarked that I had bought some shirts as a "memento".  Clearly she disapproved the floral designs on the shirts but I countered that I needed all the help I could get, in particular some colour.  When I returned the favour of her enquiry about my origin, she informed me she was from Tennessee though her "daddy" was from Alabama.  Her accent was thick enough to cut and, when I mentioned it, she was unquestionably pleased that I had done so.  I privately thought to myself that here is a woman with whom I could have some fun!  But of course nothing of the sort transpired and I was left only with the fond reminiscence of someone with her audacity.

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