Saturday, August 1, 2009
What Kind of Day at the Beach Are You?
The other day, we got our first chance to go to the beach this summer. I am admittedly at odds with this area and its Nascar-loving, small animal hunting denizens, but when I go to the local beach, I don’t want to live anywhere else. These are pictures of the beach about fifteen minutes from us:
I remember getting so annoyed when my adult relatives asked me to look at the sand dunes. Who wanted to do that when there was a beach with an ocean right there? I tried pointing out how amazing these places are to my kids. They responded with such a blank stare that I could hear mental tapping and the low whisper of: “When will she be done talking about sand?”
I think you can tell a whole lot about folks when you see them on the beach. My husband, the engineering type, is a logician. He reads the table they post about water temperature, tidal patterns, and the danger of rip tides before even putting the blanket down. I’m not sure what difference any of that makes; I figure out the water temperature and currents once I’m in the ocean - if I remember to think about that stuff.
Of course, he grew up inland so the beach isn’t home to him like it is to me. I grew up on a beach and never remember, not even once, having any kind of scientific table to consult before swimming. Then again, if people like me ran the world it would be a whole lot messier and way, way more bridges would collapse. I usually dump everything in a kind of territorial scatter and plunge into the water. Son #1 is like that, too. He heads straight for the water, only now, he makes sure he is really, really far from the middle aged lady in the bathing suit. When we bump into each other in the water, he nods at me and paddles away as if he has just spotted my dorsal fin.
Son #2 has become a herrmit crab. Angry that he could not spend the afternoon redesigning his myspace page, he sat with towels covering his head. I think he was texting under those towels, but he refused to budge off his spot. I did slide a juice box and some snacks under the towels which were silently accepted. (Please tell me that some day he won’t be fifteen anymore; I think he‘s been this age for three years…)
Emma is an arts and crafts beachcomber. She collects shells, “great rocks” (meaning weirdly shaped or super flat ones) and anything glittery or interesting. These usually get made into weird sculptures that she puts together with gorilla glue and acrylic paint. They look like mini gargoyles when she is done and we put them in the garden to keep the psychotic squirrel at bay. (He’s a squirrel who swings down from the branches and sits right near us when we are outside -- then he leaps back into the tree without warning and makes a screeching sound -- we never knew squirrels made sounds. They shouldn’t make sounds in case you’re wondering what he sounds like)
But most of the people on the beach are barges. I never understood this behavior, and I still don’t. They come down to the water in bathing suits, set up an umbrella and just sit there and watch everyone. I guess they watch crazy people like me shivering in the water. Occasionally, they turn their lounge chairs to or away from the sun, but they don’t get up too much. I guess everyone likes the beach, even non swimmers.
So what kind of beach visitor are you? A barge, a beachcomber, a plunger, a logician or a hermit crab?