On Going to the Beach
It may make you all clamor in protest, but here’s the deal: the beach is not a place to relax. That it is beautiful, can be a place for memories, and has its own exclusive status—I agree. But—here’s the rub—unless you live there, it makes for one of the most difficult places to visit. Hear me out…
Last Sunday, we went with two of our best friends (Dave and Emily) to spend the day at Huntington Beach. Now, the anticipation for four busy people to actually have a day spent in the sun was paramount to that old Disneyland rush little kids experience several times in their childhood. We just wanted a break, you know? Well, the preparation required to take an eight month old to the beach is extensive. Being presently poor, we borrowed an umbrella and an ice-chest. Then I had to plan for at least two meals for Cosette, diapers, extra outfits, towels, washcloths (because sand + baby = mess), sun block, a hat, toys, juice, and cheerios to keep her busy. And that’s not all the stuff necessary for a grown-up to spend a day at the beach! So anyways, I wasted like 2 hours compiling everything and loading it into the car.
The four of us left after church and planned to have a picnic on the sand. Ignorant fools. After driving in traffic for around an hour and 20 minutes, we arrived. I have no clue what was going on in Huntington that day. Emily wondered if maybe there was a national holiday that we weren’t aware of—I think that’s an excellent theory, because there were probably thousands of people there. Anyways, we persevered through streets with no U-turns, waited for forever to turn into a lot, watched the millions of practically naked people saunter across the cross-walk, and still no parking. The Huntington beach cops failed at alerting traffic that parking lots (all four of them) were closed. So annoying! And here’s a tangent for why the beach is not relaxing: it makes me nervous being around so much bare skin. Call me a prude, but seriously? I will offend someone if I nurse in public (covered, mind you) but people that have no business even wearing tank-tops are allowed to bounce and sway before poor, unguarded eyes. And then there’s this new thing with guys wearing their shorts ridiculously low—ridiculously. Its not sexy; its disturbing.
Back to our experience—after driving around for maybe two hours, we pulled into some distant neighborhood and ate our wilted sandwiches on a side-walk. So romantic. By then, we were all just mad. This was not what we envisioned. But, we gathered up the nerve to try and find that elusive parking spot.
It wasn’t to be.
We never found a parking spot, and soon it became apparent that the beach and us could not resolve our struggle. Cosette was actually quite a trooper, but we did not want to push our luck with more time in a car-seat. So we drove home, got in our pool, had a bbq, and enjoyed ourselves without that darned ocean. Annoying as it was, it turned out to be a fun day with Dave and Emily. Now I know this is long, but here’s a list to reinforce why the beach is not relaxing:
A picnic on the beach requires much preparation. That is not relaxing.
2.) The beach isn’t baby friendly. Taking a baby requires energy, not relaxation.
3.) Unless you live there, you must drive. Driving is tedious.
4.) You must park—and that costs money (Huntington costs $10!) Spending money is stressful.
5.) After parking, you have to walk with all your stuff to an ideal spot in the sand. I personally HATE walking in the sand because of my bionic toe—it really hurts. And anyways, its tiring for anyone I believe.
6.) The ocean’s beautiful, but people are gross. Disturbing sights will pollute your view. That is also stressful. You begin to wonder: “Am I grossing anyone out?”
7.) Sand gets everywhere. Cleaning is not relaxing.
I do love the beach. And when it all works out for me to actually be there—its fun. But it isn’t relaxing. So don’t delude yourself into thinking, like Matt always does, that you can have this glorious day sleeping on quiet sands by the ocean. Unless you live ON the beach, it wont happen. On the off-chance that you DO have a relaxing day at the beach, remember this: you still have to drive home, empty the ice-chest, vacuum your car, take a second shower, wash towels and blankets, and tend to your sunburn. I’m sure you will all invariably agree that that is not relaxing.
I will try to be less negative in the future, but this has been mulling around in my mind lately