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STATE OF THE TROUT: The sea is awful, I was very brave, and other news

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Hey there, friends! Have you heard of this thing called the ocean? Well, I have. And it is awful.

Last week, I did a big, scary thing. I traveled on a plane, all by myself, to South Carolina to spend a whole week in the Sea Pines neighborhood of Hilton Head Island with a friend and a group of seven other strangers who would not, my friend assured me, be mean to me.

I was so afraid someone would be mean to me. I am pleased to report that they did not.

I am also pleased to report that, although this opportunity presented itself on my connecting flight, I did not rush in and start flipping switches hither and thither, despite the nearly overwhelming temptation to do so:

A view from the first row of a plane showing the aisle and the open cockpit door. Inside the cockpit are just like, so many buttons to push.

There are switches on the ceiling. ON THE CEILING. I knew I could reach those bastards before the pilot could even stand up. I had this vivid image of smashing my hand on those buttons and just pressing everything frantically as they dragged me off the plane.

Since I controlled myself and did not get air marshalled straight to federal prison, I got to see the sun come up while I was in the sky:

The sky underneath looks like a frozen pond with cracks in it, but the cracks are clouds. The sky up above is really clear and blue, and the horizon is like, this bright orange line ripping between the two.

Can I just interrupt this previously scheduled post to rant for just a second about people on airplanes? Not, you know, the fact that I forgot my mask on my return flight and ended up next to someone who sneezed constantly, loudly, and with alarming force and therefore I am now ill, myself? I need to address the jaded flyers out there. I know some of you are reading this thinking, “I fly all the time for work, so yes, I’m a jaded flyer.” You’re who I’m talking to, okay? With love, I’m talking to you.

YOU ARE IN THE GOD DAMNED SKY. I get that it happens a lot. Maybe you’re a pilot or a flight attendant and it’s all in a day’s work. But you’re in THE GOD DAMNED SKY. It’s a miracle! Imagine explaining this to your caveman ancestors. Or walking up to a medieval knight and being like, “Yeah, I was IN THE GOD DAMNED SKY FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS, but no big deal.”

It’s a big deal. Don’t let routine destroy the wonder and joy that you experience. YOU GO IN THE SKY.

I was pretty tired on my way down, owing to the fact that just hours before my flight, I got bit by my dog. It was an accident, she felt horrible, she would never bite me on purpose, but boy howdy, she’s an enormous pit bull/great dane mix and she got me BAD. I will spare you a photo, but suffice to say that after an ER visit, a shit ton of painful wound cleaning, and a prescription for enough antibiotics to permanently destroy my vaginal biome, I had just enough time to stop by the house for my luggage before leaving for the airport with a gauze-and-pressure-bandage wrapped hand. By the time I arrived in South Carolina, I’d been awake for thirty consecutive hours (with a light nap in the Charlotte airport). And by the time we went out for dinner that night, I was coming up on hour thirty-seven.

The food was worth staying awake for:

However, I do believe they were a bit stingy with their grits. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but the sauce-to-grits ratio was definitely off.

At the end of the day, I returned to this lovely little room. The picture over the headboard factors into the story later:

A nice little finished attic room with a bed that has a lovely wicker headboard and and two bedside tables. All of my luggage is on everything. Above the bed is a photo of a boardwalk leading down to the beach.

The next morning, refreshed from a brief, exhaustion-induced coma, I decided that I would venture to the ocean.

“There are paths to beach that run between the houses,” my friend Stella, who booked the trip and had experience staying in Sea Pines before, told me. There was a path behind our house, so that’s what I assumed she meant. I left the house with a little bowl of raspberries to munch on and followed the path.

It lead me right onto someone’s pool area.

Those were not the paths she was talking about. Later in the week, I noted that these little paths behind the houses were actually so landscapers and such could move about without being too visible. You know. Like how you want servants to be invisible when you live in a place where the five bedroom, five bathroom, over 3,000 square foot house we were staying in is a shack in comparison to everything else.

Yeah. This:

A gorgeous brick patio with a plunge pool, surrounded by palm trees. There's like, a tenth of a ridiculous, three story, big ass house visible through the trees, and a little bit of the aforementioned path.

…is what passes for a modest home in Sea Pines. This gorgeous, heated pool and lushly landscaped patio area. You can see the path behind one of those chairs. Also, a giant ass house that I mistook for a hotel when we first arrived. Some of these places have legit hotel-sized mechanical systems outside for like, their A/C and such.

The actual beach access path was somewhere else, and I did not find it until later that day. When I did, I found this:

I’ve been to the ocean before, but never in South Carolina. I was a little shocked to learn that it looks about the same as it does in New England. I thought it would be, I don’t know, slightly different looking? Like how in some places it’s like this but in other places it looks blue or green? But it was like something out of Moby-Dick about 99% of the time I was there.

It’s also incredibly spooky, as each day that I visited, the ocean had picked something new to murder. The first day, the beach was covered in dying sand dollars. After that it was like, scallops, another day was horseshoe crabs just bashed to fucking pieces all over the place, and on one day, the whole thing was a jellyfish graveyard.

A dead cannonball jellyfish on the sand like a gross blob of goo.

I learned that the sea is full of murder and gross stuff and I don’t feel like I need to interact with it further. Disgusting.

I got a lot of work done on this trip, lest you think I was just fooling around and writing negative reviews of the ocean. I came home with a little bit under 20,000 words written across three projects, and a whole bunch of knowledge from my new friends, who are all indie authors. We shared our tips and tricks (and I don’t have a lot of them) for sales and promotion and having successful signings, which made this not just a good trip for writing, but for network and branding and such.

And nobody was mean to me! I came home with new author friends, and we’re already planning to do it again next year.

Now that I’m back and not exactly rested, since my mask mistake resulted in creeping sickness (yes, I’ll test for Covid), I have good news!

The Business Centaur’s Virgin Temp is coming back from hiatus! You have until Friday to refresh your memories, because that’s when the next installment posts. Also, if you’ve been following Fablemere, season two, The Vampire’s Willing Captive, begins on Vella, Ream, and the $3 (USD) Patreon tier TOMORROW! On Vella, season two will be attached to The Ogre’s Fairytale Bride, so you don’t have to go looking for a different link.

The Ogre’s Fairytale Bride will be available in ebook and paperback on February 29th. You can pre-order the ebook now on Amazon, but printing issues with the paperback has pushed that pre-order back on other platforms. Hey, if a book release of mine ever ran smoothly, I would probably pass out from shock.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print right now. Stay tuned to find out what disease I got from going maskless on a plane.

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Here for the first time because you’re in quarantine and someone on Reddit recommended my Fifty Shades of Grey recaps? Welcome! Consider checking out my own take on the Billionaire BDSM genre, The Boss. Find it on AmazonB&NSmashwords, iBooks, and Radish!

One Comment

  1. Victoria

    Yay for doing scary new things! I’m super proud of you!

    I went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans last week (it was a BIG BIRTHDAY for a friend who loves it) and I was super scared and it turned out magical. We did it like real middle-aged ladies with very moderate drinking and a spreadsheet.

    February 19, 2024

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