(This is Volume VI of the Seagull Saga. Volumes I through V can be found in the Archives.)
Okay, now I’m both angry and mad (mad meaning, in this case, crazy). Imagine that.
It seems the complaint that I registered at a neighborhood hotel was ignored. The following morning I gathered five more beer bottles — Amstel Light this time — from the same spot as the day before. The littering occurred in one of Jon Seagull’s favorite roosting places. I’m not going to let anyone dishonor Jon like that. No sir-ee.
I think the clerk, who looked like William Hung of “She bang, She bang” fame, and his redneck buddy — I grew up in the country, so I usually use the term, redneck, with fondness — put my complaint in the circular file as soon as I left. Heck, I was polite. I gave them my name and telephone number in hopes of chatting with someone. The beach bum can’t stand when someone trashes his name. Uh-uh.
Time to vent. Not against the hotel employees. I’ve saved my venom for their employers. I can’t expect much from employees who are underpaid and overworked.
Many hoteliers in this town prefer to pay their lower-level employees slave wages. That’s why there is a bus system that transports people two hours, one way, from inland to the beach to work here. The people pay a small fee for those long, bumpy rides. Small fees add up to a lot of money after awhile. It’s disgusting, especially when one considers that many of these hoteliers wouldn’t have a pot to take a leak in if their families weren’t wealthy. It’s worth mentioning here that I’ve heard so many good things about the hard work and sincere hospitality of the generations that came before them. Their parents and grandparents are the people who made Myrtle Beach what it is. Unfortunately, those who have taken over are more worried about profits. Bank accounts. Stature.
Trash? Not so much. Let the cake-eating, peon locals handle it. Yeah, the city has an adopt-a-beach program. I see the adopt-a-beach signs almost every day; they laud businesses that get the credit for helping to keep the beach clean. What I don’t see is anyone from those businesses actually cleaning the beach.
Back to my beef. I’ve had friends who worked at hotels here who were pushed to work shifting schedules of 40, 50 and 60 hours a week. Incredibly, they were never offered full-time jobs with paid benefits. The hoteliers wouldn’t even look at their employees when they passed them in the hallways. At Christmas they weren’t given any kind of bonus for their unheralded dedication, despite long-term employment. In both cases they were “let go” at summers end, although more insidious excuses were used for their terminations. I’m not sure how anyone with a conscience can treat his or her employees like that, attend chambers of commerce meetings and preach about good business practices.
Then there are the two-story, ghetto-like places run by slum lords. Those scumbags take advantage of monthly renters who don’t have money to lease an apartment. They collect money from the poor, don’t fix up their properties and do very little for the community as a whole. When tourists check in, God forbid, they end up being overrun by cockroaches while sitting on furniture cast out by larger hotels in the seventies. Tourists booking those places get to stare at dingy, yellow walls “adorned” with gaudily-framed seashell prints. The dark, dank rooms are like something out of an Edgar Allan Poe story. The tourists are lucky if they last the whole week without getting mugged by the crackheads and drug dealers living in the dope dens around them.
Slum lords in this second category treat their monthly renters like second-class citizens. Complaints regarding bed bug infestations, mold and water-logged ceiling cave-ins (et al.) go ignored. The same slum lords only pretend to care about their tourist guests. Most of these owners are wretched, obnoxious people whose mamas and papas handed them the keys to hotels they built themselves in the fifties. Does that last part sound familiar? I reckon I’ve written full circle. Nothing new. My head’s always spinning.
So, I ask publicly that these hoteliers take a little more pride in the areas in front of their properties. Upon learning that bottles are scattered all over the beach, track down the jerks and read them the riot act about their irresponsible partying ways. Tell them to have a little pride and clean up after themselves. Toss them out if need be. Oh, no. That doesn’t often happen. Money-hungry hotel owners are too concerned that they might lose business. They might have to refund a few dollars in the name of decency.
Am I being a little crazy here? Maybe. So what? Abraham had to have been a bit off his rocker when, at God’s request, he considered toasting his son, Isaac, on burnt offerings. God wanted Abe to prove his fear of him. Poor Isaac. He was asking his dad on the way to his own funeral pyre where the lamb was if there was a sacrifice to be made. “Yeah, pops. I see the fire, but where are the chops?”
I’m proud of my last name, Hufnagle, and I’m proud of my mother’s maiden name, Fenstermacher. Those are the genes I have. Maybe I didn’t come from wealth, but it was a privilege being raised by people who had some compassion. People who cared about the environment. It seems to me that some owners of these coastal hotels have forgotten how hard their parents worked to establish their names within this beautiful community. They’ve forgotten that it was the aesthetic beauty of the beach that attracted people to Long Bay in the first place.
Now, Jon Seagull, you owe me one, you pr***!