Ana Marie Cox's Girlfriend Getaway to South Beach


Day two: More lobster quesadillas

3 P.M.

The children. Something must be done about the children. Kate is reading up on TomKat's plan for a silent childbirth and comes up with a better idea: silent childhood. Where have they come from and why are they here simply to scream?

The thing about children is that they do not respond to Kate's and my preferred method of discipline: withering irony and a malevolent glare. Also they like to throw things. They are amusing at times, however. Like the three kids playing in the sand who turned out to be channeling Donald Rumsfeld: "Why won't you help me?" "Because we're not allies."

Also the preteen curled up with Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. That one could stay. If anything, we plotted how to slide an Us Weekly her way to prevent her from winding up collecting Precious Moments figurines and playing John Tesh ballads at her wedding.

The sun is gorgeous and the tans (and freckles) are coming along nicely, but the periodic shrieks distract from the fourth lobster quesadilla of the trip and the umpteenth margarita. (We decided lobster quesadillas are, in fact, saving us money because we're not ordering anything else.)

10 P.M.

Dinner in the hotel restaurant provides another budget travel rationalization. After all, we're saving money by not leaving the hotel. Surely, we're dodging a multi-venue excursion. Dinner also provides another photo session opportunity, but there's one misstep: a rather impressive and costly mistake in our wine order. Budget Travel, I keep telling Kate, Budget Travel. As we drink it, we rationalize that we're consuming, in effect, an additional night's stay in the hotel. It made sense at the time.

After dinner, there's another photo session on the lawn of the hotel's grounds, courtesy of hotel employee who's wearing, mysteriously, rubber gloves. We dance barefoot--much cheaper than a club, right?--and hope that tomorrow all the screaming children go back to school. The quiet and cute ones, like the blond kid who convened a marathon magic tournament in the shade, they can stay.

Day three: A nasty surprise during checkout

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