Darling, I Love You But Give Me Park Avenue

Yacht leaving of Saint-Tropez port, FranceAt the base of the green hills the ocean was bluer than blue. The red tiled buildings were as colorful as a box of play chalk. The sight of San Tropez brought memoires of the first days of summer.

Along the narrow streets of the shopping district we found everything from kiosks selling cheap sunglasses and knockoff perfumes to fancy boutiques offering shoes more expensive than my car. It didn’t have the snobby feel I’d expected from this famous yacht port. Most of the visitors strolling around town were ice-cream-licking, t-shirt wearing folks.

Down near the water affluence was more noticeable. Dozens of impressive vessels were moored in the calm waters of the marina. These babies had everything – spas, fancy bars, and tables set with white linen. Uniformed crew members catered to the stylishly dressed sitting on decks pretending not to notice all the faces staring at them.

Our kids ran straight to the jetty and climbed an old stone lookout tower from the fifteenth century when San Tropez was a military station. We followed them up the stairs and enjoyed a view of the bay with snow covered mountains in the distance. Chris spotted a little beach nearby that didn’t look crowded. We climbed down and navigated the rocks toward the small cove and found soft golden sand and colorful townhouses – yellow, pink, and orange. Jill buried her toes in the sand and sang under her breath – like when she was little. Chris grabbed his Nerf football and Alex bolted for the water with his arms high – barely catching Chris’s pass before falling in and making a big splash. A handful of curious faces watched them. It was good to see they’d made up.

Donna lay back on the sand with her eyes closed, soaking up the warm sun. She looked calm and was smiling again. I joined her and stared at the clear blue sky.

Determined to stay put in this little oasis, Donna suggested Alex and I go fetch some snacks. As we approached the marina, I spotted a thirty-something guy wearing shorts, white trainers, and a tiki-drink shirt.

“Just keep walking and try to look European.” I said quietly as we neared him. A pretty young woman along with two young girls posed in front of the biggest yacht in the marina. The guy’s head moved pigeon-like as he looked for somebody to take a photo.

“Don’t make eye contact.”

Just when I thought we were clear, I heard him say: “Hey Bro . . .”

I took his camera and he joined the other three. I raised the viewfinder to my face and saw three smiling faces and one distracted by the yacht behind them. “Okay – say ch. . .”

I was trying to say “cheese” but he interrupted me. “Back…back.” he said, pushing his palm toward me. He wanted more of the boat in the shot. I stepped back. Alex sighed.

“Say ch…”

“Back man! Go waaaaay back.”

His cell phone went off. He put up his index finger and reached into the pocket of his Tommy Bahamas. “Dad!” one of the girls yelled. My finger instinctively pressed the shutter button just as he walked out of the shot. The woman looked back at me and laughed nervously. After a moment, she took the camera back.

“What a dick.” Alex said under his breath.

How to respond was my dilemma. I was hoping to keep our conversation positive and didn’t want to give in to the temptation of blasting that guy. Besides, I wasn’t that different from him. My approach to admiration might not be showing off photos of my family in front of somebody else’s boat, but was my desire to be a rich and famous television star any less pathetic?

Where did all this come from?

As my son and I searched for the French version of Cheetos, I found myself struggling for words of advice regarding what we’d just witnessed and was coming up empty.

NEXT: A Serial Killer named Bunny?


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