Wednesday, July 10, 2024

A Day at the Beach

Recently, I spent a lovely afternoon hanging out at a beach in Rhode Island. Here are some random thoughts:

I saw a woman come out of the water and I said to myself, “Oh, she’s got seaweed all over her leg.” Then I looked a little closer and said, “Oops, never mind. Just a massive tattoo.”

As the afternoon wore on, I thought, “That sunblock I sprayed on myself four hours ago should still be working, right?” Later that evening, I had my answer: “Wrong!” Say hello to Mr. Redneck. Or if you prefer, Mr. Red Calves. Or Mr. Red Left Ear. (I have no idea how one ear got burned but not the other.)

Speaking of sunburn, I get it that the beach in the summer is not my ideal environment. I’ve never had a tan in my life, and I’ve had skin cancers removed three times. But now that my hair is gray, I look more pale than ever. I look like Andy Warhol and Edgar Winter had a baby. To give you an idea, if I took off my shirt and stood next to the Pillsbury Dough Boy, I’d make Poppin’ Fresh look like he was from Puerto Rico.
Speaking of taking off one’s shirt, I was pretty much the only person on the entire East Matunuck State Beach who kept a shirt on the whole time, even when I was in the water. I do that partly to avoid the sun and partly to keep young kids from exclaiming, “Look Mommy! Frosty the Snowman is swimming!”

I can only assume that tattoo artists are now in the same tax bracket as investment bankers. There were more works of art on display on that beach than in the entire Louvre. Have you ever gone to an event at, say, a fancy country club, and walked through the parking lot filled with Mercedes, BMWs, and Bentleys, and thought, “I wonder what all these cars are worth?”? Well, I took a long walk on that beach and thought, “I wonder what all these tattoos cost?” The total has to be equal to the annual GDP of some mid-sized country. The U.S. economy is not in recession as long as people can afford that many tattoos.
Walking around for hours while barefoot is something I do exactly once each year, when I visit the Rhode Island shore. Even though I pamper my feet with socks and shoes the other 364 days, I’m always taken by surprise at how tender the soles of my feet are. I’m pretty sure every part of my body is tougher, including my corneas. Walking around the smooth sand at the edge of the surf was OK. But then some areas had a lot of pebbles, and the walkway at the pavilion where the bathrooms were located was made of some kind of asphalt with embedded gravel. So, by the end of the afternoon, my doggies were howling. But on the plus side, this year the blisters on the soles of my feet healed in only nine days.

Even though I’m not cut out for the sunny shore, and even though I limp for a week afterward, I love going there. The smell of the salty green ocean and the steady drone of the crashing waves are delightful sensations. Whenever I go to the beach, I just close my eyes, inhale deeply, and listen. Within 15 minutes my blood pressure drops 20 points. It’s awesome.

I had so much fun at the beach this year, maybe instead of waiting until next year, I’ll go again later this summer. I just have to wait for the burns, the blisters, and the sand-in-your-shorts chafing to heal.  

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