Year-rounders never make it to the beach

July 9, 2013

Whew, we made it halfway through what we would consider the summer season, even though summer has just begun according to the calendar. The Fourth of July is always considered a landmark.

In other words, all those who have been to the beach, raise their hands.

I thought so.

Every year, I vow I’m going to take a day and spend it at the one place people pay money to visit, the ocean. But I think something happens to those of us who live here year-round and attempt to make it to the beach once in the season. I don’t know if it’s the milk-white legs or all the sand stuck inside our bathing suits, but it’s definitely an eerie experience.

For instance, I will pack up that car, get to the park and head down to the water. Seems simple enough. The problem is that after I jump in, just to remind myself how wet water is, I never can find my way back to where I put my stuff. Sure, it might be the fact that I am just about legally blind, but I think there is something else going on. So when I come out of the water, which I am forced to go into from peer pressure, I’m so lost I could just as well have landed at some beach in the Middle East. Everything is a blur, and I often say excuse me to umbrellas and sorry when I trip over coolers and offer to exchange insurance information with a beach chair.

It’s odd since my husband’s eyesight seems to increase whenever we go to the beach. I swear he can spot someone wearing a bikini with a French cut a couple of towns away. He’s been on probation since the last time a woman walked by with only enough material on her bathing suit to make a handkerchief; his eyeballs fell out into the sand and we spent hours digging them out. There were so many buried there it was difficult to find the right ones. Apparently it’s a common male problem.

Anyway, probably the most difficult thing to do if you make that one appearance as a year-round resident at the beach is to pick out that right spot. You don’t want to seem like a doofus and not know where you are going. Please, you live here, right?

The beach has changed, though. So don’t be surprised when you get there to find a sea of umbrellas and enough people to fill Tiananmen Square on a good afternoon. I know you expected a little solitude but the number of beachgoers could seem like a family of 60 relatives in those old rent-subsidized, one-bedroom apartments the Russians put up for athletes in the early ‘50s. It would be so packed, they would have to coordinate when one group inhaled with the other group across the room that exhaled. Seeing all those people may cause you to be anxious, sort of like when you hear the side effects of those drug commercials on television that warn you of depression, speaking in tongues and wetting your underpants.

So you are going to have to canvass the area before you make your move. One place near the water looks good, but then there is a fellow next to it with a machete chopping a watermelon the size of an aircraft carrier and with the intensity of someone on a wanted poster in the post office. Maybe not.

Another empty spot emerges, but as you head out, a family sits down behind and is putting up a tent that could house the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. And judging by the number of kidlets, it could actually sound like them too.

So what I would do is the old Johnnie Carson routine and take the Ventura Freeway, cross the 101 and exit on the Pismo Beach exit, go onto the 106 and drive to the Huntington Beach exit again. Sure you’ll be in San Diego, but at least you’ll have found a spot. We’ve just got to get to the beach more often.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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