I still have no idea why we decided to visit South Padre Island a week ago. We knew it was spring break, for God’s sake. And I had been there before, and was well aware that there was nothing particularly attractive about the place. It must have been that we simply missed the ocean and beach, having been in San Miguel de Allende, in Mexico, studying Spanish for three weeks.
It was the last few days of spring break the desk clerk told us. You should have seen it two days ago. The first thing I noticed was all the shouting and yelling. Kids in the pool or standing on the beach with beers in their hand hollered and hooted for no apparent reason, other than that they were there and were drunk. This went on all day and all night until about 4 a.m., when the place fell totally silent, as if someone had pulled the plug.
The second thing I noticed was the seriousness of the drinking. The kids started with beers in late morning, revved up in the early afternoon with shots, were falling down by mid-afternoon, and passed out at about 4 or 5. After a two-hour nap, they got up and got going for the “real party” which would last until 3 or 4 a.m. Getting drunk once wasn’t enough. It was like they had trained for it.
I had gone to Daytona Beach with a bunch of fraternity brothers in college. I remember getting drunk, or course. I remember trying to get laid (without success). I do not remember hollering all night, falling on my face on the sidewalk, or getting drunk twice in the same day. Also, in my recollection, it was mainly the boys who got drunk. The girls drank, of course, but they seemed mainly the caretakers of the scene. I don’t remember any of them plastered to the point of stupidity, or ripping their tops off and flashing their breasts at the moon.
One evening we were walking behind two young couples when one of the boys, holding a beer in his hand, stopped, turned his head, and puked in the grass. The others waited patiently. He turned back, took another drink of his beer, and they walked on. This happened again about 50 yards on. Why miss a few hours of partying just because you’re sick?
Maybe I was just jealous. These kids were really just letting loose. But it also seemed somewhat like a job, a task. WE MUST GET DRUNK AND GET CRAZY AND PUKE AND HOLLER FOR FOUR DAYS STRAIGHT to prove that we were really here.
And the “green generation,” who loves to lecture the rest of us on global warming, recycling, solar and wind energy, electric cars and all the rest, were compete slobs. The beach was littered with beer cans, plastic bottles, plastic containers of all sorts, sandals, ropes, etc. Pity the poor sea turtle who finds himself coming ashore during spring break.
On their behalf, the kids, even drunk, were very polite and respectful around adults. They held doors for us, stopped bellowing in the elevators when we stepped in, and invited us to cut in the food line for breakfast. A few even invited us to join the party.
We were disturbed to hear stories from a bartender at a pizza joint about how predators came to town to rip off and beat up the spring breakers. This has been getting some national attentions as well. The kids don’t realize what targets they are.
Oh well. On our last night, the kids were gone and the older generation was back in charge. A glass of wine with dinner, a walk along the beach, and off to bed.