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In My Opinion

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Beach bummed over an abandoned tent

By Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis is a humorist, writer and speaker. She writes family humor for the Charlotte Observer. Her column appears each Sunday.

There’s a giant tent frame outside my beach rental blocking my view of the ocean. It was here when I got here and it’s clearly been abandoned. I understand canopy tents are a pain to take down, but to just strip the canopy and leave the frame? Talk about pitching a tent …

Day 2. Sitting on my porch, craning my neck left and right of the tent contraption, I’m marveling at how anchored this thing is. My tent never stayed in the ground like this. Even when we tied it to the children.

Though impressive, it’s not the view I paid for. If I want to sit on my porch and stare at junk out back, I can stay at home. This is the beach, not “Sanford and Son.” I call the rental company to come get it.

Day 3. It’s still here. Sunk into the sand about a foot, it looks like something from the space program. But today it has an orange violation ticket from the police department, warning it will be discarded. Great, discard away.

Day 4. It hasn’t been discarded. I call the police department to report that there’s an abandoned tent frame in front of my unit and it’s blocking out the Atlantic Ocean. Please discard.

Day 5. Today I decide the tent is mine. I cover the top with towels and I make a huge sign, “Free Tacos and Tequila at Tracy’s Tent – pick up your $5 taco and tequila token at the Isle of Palms police department, they know who I am.”

Day 6. I make another call to the police department, but this time, try to create a sense of urgency …

“Yes, I need to report a dangerous piece of shrapnel embedded in the beach, posing a danger to children,” I inform.

“You mean the abandoned tent?” the dispatcher asks. Whoops – I backpedal a bit and say it’s just that it’s sinking lower into the ground and I think children may mistake it for a jungle gym. Or NASA may mistake it for a fallen satellite, I don’t know, but we need to get it out of there.

She tells me they sent someone out, but they couldn’t find it. I tell her come out after 6 p.m., it’ll be the only 12x12 tent frame wearing nothing but an orange ticket. She says they may need a better description. Oh okay, well it’s a tent-shaped tent with a sloped tent top. If you walk into Dick’s and buy a canopy tent, it looks just like that.

And finally, a police jeep pulls up and I witness the hit that I ordered. I cringe a little as they smash the joints, bending the tent into a twisted heap of metal. Then throw it into the back of the jeep, and cruise on down the beach.

While I happily polish off the tacos and tequila.

tcurtis@charlotteobserver.com
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