I love it and dread it at the same time. When I have a free day and the marine layer cooperates, I’ll don the board shorts and head to the beach. I usually encounter many good and many bad things. There must be an angle to making the trip enjoyable.
Here are the essentials I bring with me and my clan of nobody:
- Water Bottle
Once I find a parking space, I wobble down the stairs to the beach. Hoards of families abound. I look for an empty circle. A ten-foot perimeter will do. My view should be sand, waves, and horizon. It should include no children.
Laying out my towel is one of those tasks I hope nobody watches me do. The breeze doesn’t cooperate. My backpack falls to my elbow. The chair is upside down. Finally, the towel is set. I stand on the far corners, holding them down with my sneakers. (Yes, I know sneakers don’t belong on the beach. Sue me.) I knock off the sneakers, stand in the middle of the towel, and peel off my socks and shirt while sucking in my gut. I stuff my socks into my sneakers and plop my grogginess down into the chair.
A sip of water, a sigh, and I’m powering up my Kindle to finish The Hunger Games. Not five minutes later, three idiots decide to play Frisbee. Guess where? Yep, right in front of me. Can anyone throw a Frisbee accurately? No, they can’t. Does the ocean breeze make matters worse? Yes, it does. Is it safe for me to bury my face in my Kindle? Not unless I’m prepared to be scalped by an errant toss. Miles and miles of beach and these fuck-knuckles pick here to display their genetic flaws. After they hit three different people (not counting the one who was counting), they finally decide to head back to the family circle and consume Tostitos and sarsaparilla.
Here comes little Suzy and Debbie with their dad who is going to teach them how to play Smashball. What better place than right in front of this nice man and his Kindle? Children can’t play Smashball. Girls don’t even want to play Smashball. Give them a fucking toy shovel and tell them to bury each other. You’re not raising Russian tennis pros, dude. Suzy is bonked in the head and cries. Game over. Thank goodness.
Teenage girls decide to set up camp in front of Mr. Nice Guy. Under my breath I say, “Please stop bending over. No, I’m not looking but I can tell you’re bending over. Quit it. Why do you need a reason to not do something? How about because it’s not ladylike?”
They carry on obliviously. Now, it’s time to wiggle out of tiny jean shorts. “Stop wiggling. Will you PLEASE stop wiggling. Just pull the shorts down. Oh Christ. Hold onto the strap of your … aw, now look what you did. Your Honor, I don’t know why I couldn’t look away. I’m sorry. Yes, take me to prison as long as no Frisbees are there.”
Fine, the girls are lying quietly. Back to my book. On one I notice a tiny gap between the bikini waistband and her waist. I’m not looking. Nope. What if they’re both nineteen? It’s legal then. I’m not looking. Shit. Don’t roll over … oh no. Keep your ankles together, will you? Please! I’m not looking. I’ll turn over and read on my belly. There. Fine. Jesus, now my back and neck ache. I’ll lie on my side. Now my elbow hurts. I need a beer. OK, back on my beach chair.
Now, three pink dodos decide to throw the football around to impress the girlies. I am unimpressed. I want a big shark to beach itself and eat them one at a time with a nice chianti and some lupini beans.
Why must I torture myself?
Finally, I pack up my little picnic and head back to my home where I can recline on my bed with my Kindle and … ring, ring, ring … there’s no escaping telemarketers. I wonder if I can find a YouTube video on how to tie a noose.