Friday, August 28, 2015

Beachgoers' lament

It's quiet in the house this morning.
Howard is on the balcony, watching the early beachgoers haul their chairs and paraphernalia toward the sand.
Erica is reading.
Soon, we will join the steady trek of sun worshippers as we find a spot on the huge beach that is Wildwood Crest and relax for the afternoon.
I say "huge" because it is. Not quite as wide as it is farther north on this barrier island, where seasonal storms keep depositing the sand of northern communities on our beaches. But it is still a beautifully wide stretch of beach.
A few days ago, though, Erica and I were sunning...reading, dipping in the warm ocean occasionally, watching for dolphins out past the breakers.
It seemed we were the only people there.
Until it didn't.
We heard them coming before we saw them. Voices... strident, loud, some infantile...crying, fussing.
Then they were upon us.
Seven beach chairs, two beach caddies, two rather large tents, coolers and other beach goodies.
We hoped they would continue on to an emptier area where their entourage would have ample space to spread out.
We were amazed when they began setting up their equipment (more like an encampment) not three feet from our umbrella.
Erica, the frank, honest daughter who usually speaks her mind tactfully but meaningfully, suggested to one of the settlers that they might move where they would have more room.
It's a big beach, she reminded them.
So they inched one of their tents another foot or so away from us and proceeded to dig in.
We weren't interested in the conversations from their group.
We didn't care what foods they were passing around.
We didn't want them in our space.
Had we been able to move away easily, we would have done so, but our umbrella was firmly planted in what had been our little piece of sand.
So we endured.
Then we packed up and left.
Finally, they would have the beach to themselves.
Someone among them needs to read a book on beach etiquette.
If there isn't one, I volunteer to be the author.