I recall Mrs Monk telling the people who helped us move, as they carried our furniture into our present home, that we shall be moving again very soon.
They must have wondered what she was talking about and so was I, and she has been saying much the same continuously for as long as I have known her.
Similarly, no vacation would be complete without the multiple shifts and movements of Monks, and accompanying baggage, from one unsatisfactory location to another.
We moved out of the Keystone Motel for a number of reasons, but since our Keystone Neighbour, Duncan may be reading this, and has been mentioned on these pages, the only reason we considered continuing our stay at the Keystone Motel, was him.
Due to Mrs Monk’s wanderlust, we officially left Keystone Motel due to the following Mrs Monk issues: cockroaches that prowled in the night, a cat that screamed in the night, and a bathroom, that could stifle a dwarf especially at night. Furthermore the overcrowded pool, “too small to do laps”, the phone that never worked, and then finally the Keystone Kops who ran the place as if they cared, but never got around to fixing the problems.
So we moved on, in spite of my pleadings to the contrary, to the Coral Reef Beach Resort, St. Pete’s Beach, after much research by Mrs Monk, who is so hard to please. Mrs Monk approved of the Coral Reef, because she was impressed by the long snaking pool that was devoid of other swimmers and especially devoid of annoying screaming “American” children.
We looked down upon the pool from our balcony where we also had a sideways view of the beach and the ocean. That first morning Mrs Monk was into her swimming attire before you could say, Jacques Cousteau. Below us towels had been arranged around one small pool, but it was not that long snaking pool that invited Mrs Monk so tantalisingly, and swimmingly in all respects but one; it was unheated.
However, the one small pool that was claimed by anyone who had been there more than a day, was heated. And that would of course explain why that pool was claimed by towels draped over ranks of sunloungers, before breakfast, and before the sun doth shine. I joined Mrs Monk beside the pool with my book, but she was already pissed off, by towels on loungers, and then in due course she became particularly annoyed by the largest lady I have ever seen in a swimsuit.
It took three days to work out that the large lady had a brood of six kids and that the husband had the daily chore of laying out the towels on eight loungers before breakfast, thereby securing one entire length of the pool, the sunny side. The kids took over the pool for the whole day, not for the swimming but for the screaming; I never saw any kid so much as touch one of the sun loungers that was reserved for them.
Then we met a young couple in the Jacuzzi. They explained that they were there because a relative of theirs owned the timeshare that gave them the right to be there that same week that we were there. Mrs Monk said she could not stand the noise. He said he was a school bus driver, and that he also hated noisy kids.
“What about that side of the pool?” said Mrs Monk.
The bus driver lowered his voice and told Mrs Monk how that same family had damaged his stuff which he had left beside the pool. We then learnt that this had happened five years before, and that they had never spoken to each other since that incident.
What do you mean? we wondered before it dawned on us that they were locked into a time-share scheme, and were therefore obliged to appear once a year in this same place at this same time. For 51 weeks a year they lived far apart, but for one week a year they were bound by circumstance and mutual antipathy. They hate each other. What a way to spend a vacation?
Duncan will enjoy this story because with great prescience he told us at the Keystone Motel, a negative time-share story, and in fact wondered why anyone would buy a house, let alone a timeshare.