Who wants to go to the beach? Not me

David Atwood Points of the Compass
Posted 8/9/13

It is summer, the time of year when the Admiral suffers from an acute mental illness. She thinks she has to be at the beach every week, which is fine except for one tiny thing. The car, house, clothes, washing machine, dryer, and a myriad other …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Subscribe to continue reading. Already a subscriber? Sign in

Get the gift of local news. All subscriptions 50% off for a limited time!

You can cancel anytime.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Who wants to go to the beach? Not me


It is summer, the time of year when the Admiral suffers from an acute mental illness. She thinks she has to be at the beach every week, which is fine except for one tiny thing. The car, house, clothes, washing machine, dryer, and a myriad other things are never the same as the beach has a tendency to follow her and the Princesses home.

There was a time, and it wasn’t that long ago, that I enjoyed a trip to the beach, but not anymore. When we lived on Starchaser and were cruising, we did a lot of beaching, and that is part of the reason that I don’t like going. As I think on it, I can’t come up with a single reason why I ever enjoyed going to the beach. If you think bringing home the beach is a problem in a large home, imagine what it is like on a 41-foot sailboat.

My dislikes are many, but first, there is sand. I don’t know if you have noticed, but on a beach, it is everywhere! Not only is the beach made of the stuff, but 20 minutes after you arrive, it is in, on, and between everything. It first attacks between your toes and stays there the remainder of the day, no matter what you do. You can wear boots with your trousers duct-taped over the tops and the boots taped over, stand perfectly still, and the stuff will find a way in where it begins to teach your delicate toe tissue why it is used for sand paper. That is its nature and it fulfills that nature with great aplomb, for it is surely self-confident in its task.

Should you sit, walk, or swim, you will find sand in your clothes, again teaching you lessons concerning friction and abrasion. If you have a chair, it is in the chair; a blanket, count on laying in it; food, I hope you like it gritty and the crunchy sound ringing in your head as you chew, and oh yeah, what a joy it is to drive a grain or more between your teeth. It clings to cold drinks and migrates to the mouth opening. Try and wipe it away and you have done sand a favor by pushing it into the drink where it wants to go in the first place. Sand follows you home in the form of a mini-beach. No matter how much you sweep and vacuum, you will have it in your car and house for months to remind you of your day at the beach.

Second, is the water. Not only does it make you wet, it is the favorite transportation medium for sand. The water also has things in it that sting and bite. As it spends its energy against the shore, it breaks in waves where it can break you, and I have discovered that it is difficult to breathe the stuff. Seawater has salt in it, which, when you have been out of the water for a few minutes, will dry to a sticky crust that aids in rubbing you raw. This sticky film is also nature’s way of ridding itself of pesky sand by getting human’s wet in seawater, rolling them in sand and sending them home.

Third is the sun. There is no escaping it. Even under protection it gets you in the form of oppressive heat. Should you chose to stay in it, which most do, you will cook slowly tricking yourself into thinking, “I’m getting so tanned!” Fooled you! You are now close to knowing how the roast feels in the oven.

To combat the sun’s effects on your skin, there is sunscreen. Its purpose was never intended to be a protection from UV rays. No, its real purpose is to be the grease that aids in your being slowly basted to a golden brown, and it too serves as another medium for sand. Now you have a vicious cycle. You try to wash off the sand in seawater, which dilutes and mixes with the sunscreen, which dries to the consistency of wallpaper paste. You apply more sunscreen over that, and you are a sand magnet. What fun!

Then there are tarballs. Contrary to local belief and lore, these have been around since the beginning of time and have nothing to do with an oil spill of a season or two back. Well, maybe a little. Tarballs are very sneaky in their application. They stay on the bottoms of children’s feet only to reveal themselves as said feet come in contact with your car’s or home’s carpets, where they become permanent to be a reminder for years of your fun day at the beach.

I cannot let pass the mention of broken seashells and glass, sticks washed up, seaweed, sea urchin spines and a thousand other things that are there to torture your feet. Here again, I must point out sand.

Considering all that, will I acquiesce to the Admiral’s pleadings for me to join her? No, I will not, but not for the selfish reasons of survival. No, I will not go for the generous reason of not spoiling everyone else’s fun. I know I can do nothing to keep myself from complaining. At least after writing this, I won’t have to be vocal in my abhorrence. The whining and whimpering are still there, but not as loud, or are they?

David Wilson Atwood is a local writer whose human-interest columns offer a unique perspective. He may be contacted, and his other works viewed at: www.starchasers.us, or david@starchasers.us.