As completely moronic as it might sound, I found myself thinking about the beach this morning. I know; it’s like two degrees outside, right? Our country has been hit by a sudden flash freeze that even caused Hotlanta residents to put on a jacket.
None of us have any thoughts of the beach during this frigid moment in our future’s history.
Yet there I was, sitting all wrapped up in wool socks, a twenty-pound bathrobe over sweats and a thick cotton shirt, shivering, alternately smacking the space heater in protest and looking for warmer gloves, and remembering with fondness one of my three or four ever trips, in my lifetime, to the beach.
One occasion was an all girl road trip I had taken with my daughters and granddaughter. I’ve already told you about that one. One occasion is not really in my memory, but rather just images conjured up in my head based on true stories I’ve heard about a trip to the beach when I couldn’t have been much more than a toddler.
This morning I was remembering a trip to Huntington Beach CA. I had traveled with a group of folks to a convention in a nearby city, and after the close of business on one of those days, someone suggested that we all go change, grab a bag, pile into a car, and just go.
As I’ve already explained, going to the beach is not something I do often. This was, in fact, my first time at a beach on the west coast. I was all grown up with children, but my children were on the other side of the country, being cared for by relatives for the duration of my business trip.
I was guiltily hanging out on the beach with associates, wondering what my kids were doing, until I was finally cajoled into getting into the water.
I am not a beach-comber, a native, or even a little acclimated to beach life. Sand between my toes and a rank odor usually means it’s time to bathe. But others seemed to be enjoying this stench-filled atmosphere. Despite having seen every single Jaws movie ever made, more than once, I went in.
I wasn’t prepared for that first wave and so it knocked me down. When I fell, my head was toward the beach and my feet pointed out to sea. The wave rushed over me seeking dry land, found it, rejected it, and then quickly rushed back out, leaving me a little breathless.
I struggled to pull the upper portion of my one-piece suit back up to cover my nudity, and struggled as well to stand upright. Before I could regain my footing, another wave had crashed into me and I fell again, nearly losing my top again, and still I couldn’t get up. When the third wave hit, I was already seated and didn’t move much.
I don’t know how many times the waves knocked me down. Nor do I remember how many waves I sat through trying to remember to just breathe. I do remember the death grip I had on my top, though. There are still nail marks, all these ten plus years later, on the side of my right boob where I was digging in to keep the thing covered.
After a while I couldn’t blame the waves for keeping me down. It was my own laughter. At some point I had completely given up fighting the waves and had just sat there laughing hysterically at my inability to win a battle against the equivalent of a few buckets full of water.
One of my associates, certain that I must’ve been about to drown, came to offer a helping hand.
I could only offer one. The other was strenuously occupied.