True Grit

Have you ever seen a more pathetic fish-out-of-water pose?

Have you ever seen a more pathetic fish-out-of-water pose?

   Carol has described beach sand as “walking on velvet.” I've walked on velvet. (Like George Costanza, I would ensconce myself in velvet if it were socially acceptable). Velvet does not feel like beach sand. Sandpaper feels like beach sand. Exfoliants feel like beach sand. Dandruff feels like beach sand. Metamucil tastes like it.

   Even the oceans don't like it. Every day, the Pacific and Atlantic regurgitates tons of it at high tide that we keep trying to send back during low tide. It's a tug-of-war that we can't seem to win, because every beach in the world remains ankle deep in the stuff.

Lightly breaded and fried three-year-old granddaughter

Lightly breaded and fried three-year-old granddaughter

   Off the beach, sand isn't good for anything, except for concrete. Even then, it has to be mixed so you can't see it. Everywhere else sand appears, it's a nuisance, or worse. Anything with moving, metal parts, such as gears and corkscrews, would be rendered useless. Once it gets in your house, it's like Jehovah's Witnesses and you can't get rid of it. Bring a two-year old to the beach, and you'll still be flicking grains out of their hair for their college graduation photo.

   The one place I really can't stand sand is in the bed, which seems to draw sand to it magnetically, no matter how thoroughly you've rinsed yourself with the hose. Somewhere around two in the morning, you'll roll over and the feel of grit will jolt you awake and fill you with the despair of yiur most precious space being helplessly invaded. That is not what velvet does.

It is NOT velvet

It is NOT velvet

   Yet, the beach is solidly in my future now, and I'm looking forward to the many sunset walks that are in our future. From a safe, clean distance the beach is one of the great visual splendors of life. Monet was manic over catching the subtleties of light and color in his many seascapes along the Normandy coast. Speaking of Normandy,  the beach there proved to be a perfect place to attack Nazis. Closer to home, Christopher Columbus found the beaches of the New World perfect landing places for rapine and genocide.

Even at a ballpark! Seriously?

Even at a ballpark! Seriously?

   My favorite experience has been a little cottage along a strip of beach north of Laguna and run by the state. From a deck setback from the sand, I was entertained by tourists sumo wrestling beach umbrellas, and rolling their children around in the sand as if they were breading them. Watching tourists, as if they were aquarium attractions, is much more fun than being among them like so much flotsam and jetsam.

   Carol loves the beach, and I will learn to love it too. Turns out her favorite time for the beach is mine: when it's all but deserted. I've learned something already about crowded California beaches: there's a fine line between laid back and brain dead, and that line gets fuzzed during the summer tourist season. Droves of hollow-eyed extras from a George Romero movie shuffle along in flip flops and ill-fitting Bermuda shorts, using waffle cones and churros for their endomorphic balance as if they've been dropped blindfolded from an alien planet. They take over everything and are impossible to avoid or get rid off.

   In other words, just like sand.