We went to the beach yesterday, the lovely Danusia and I. We started out for the beach one day last week, and I talked her down to Prospect Park, and just when we reached the G train on Flushing Ave I checked my little transit app on the old iPhone and discovered the G train wasn’t going past Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets, and it would add at least 45 minutes to our journey, so we returned home.
Yesterday, after making the sandwiches and packing the towels and reading material and sunscreen, I checked to see if by any luck the trains out to Coney Island or Brighton beach weren’t running, or at least weren’t running well. They were all hunk-dory so I was out of luck, the beach it was.
I had no intention of going in the water, or of even taking my shirt off for that matter, so I didn’t bother with a towel or swim trunks.
This picture is from last summer in Mattituck, LI, ergo the no shirt.
It takes a lot of convincing to get me to the beach; I always consider a summer without a trip to the beach an extraordinary summer. I guess this summer is out of the question for an extraordinary summer.
I don’t exactly know why, maybe it’s because of bad childhood experiences. My dad was an excellent swimmer, having grown up in Tampico, Mexico. Tampico is a port town with plenty of beach and water, and my dad spent all of his free time swimming as a kid.
My mom, on the other hand was from Puebla, a city in a valley in south-central Mexico surrounded by mountains and extinct volcanoes. No beach there, and little chance to learn how to swim at an early age. Just like a second language belongs to the mother, so does the ability to swim or not.
My ex-wife is an excellent swimmer; she grew up on Martha’s Vineyard. She taught our son Javier how to swim before he could walk.
My father’s way of teaching me to swim was to throw me in a pool and yell, “Swim, you little bastard, swim!” He was very disappointed when he had to jump in the pool to fish me out.
The swimming part aside; I’m not very fond of the sun, either. My last apartment, the one I lived in alone for a year or so before moving in with Danusia gave new meaning to the expression “man cave.” I’ve since learned to let the sun shine in.
But letting it in doesn’t mean you have to sit in it. The sun is hot, and full of harmful radiation, it will kill you if you stay in its direct rays long enough. That’s why god invented shade and umbrellas. And then there’s the matter of the sand. If you’ve ever had sex on the beach you know it can get very unpleasant, or at least messy. I hate the sand too.
My earliest memories of the beach are of getting knocked down by waves and swallowing a lot of water. Of cuts and scrapes that became infected by mysterious bacteria. Of creepy slimy things wrapping around my legs underwater, and of sand suddenly disappearing from beneath my feet, with the current threatening to sweep me out to sea never to be seen again, except as a piece of flotsam.
There are also memories of severe sunburn, sand-encrusted sandwiches, and the aforementioned sand in one’s most intimate parts, not to mention your partner’s intimate parts.
The good memories are jumping up to catch a wave, momentarily buoyant. Of pretty girls of all shapes and sizes frolicking in the surf, or just lying around half-naked. Of a nice cold soda and a cool breeze catching you at just the right moment.
Speaking of naked, when I was a young adult me and my girlfriend at the time, the irrepressible Anna, would go out to Riis Park to the nude beach there on the weekends. We had a whole set of friends with cars and it was a regular thing for a couple of years. That was when I was a lot more comfortable about strutting around without any clothing.
We usually have beach chairs and umbrellas, it makes for a more pleasant beach experience, but the last beach umbrella we owned was turned inside out a couple of years ago after getting caught in ta severe thunderstorm while returning from the beach. I don’t know what happened to our last beach chairs, I think we left them in California.
So yesterday it was very basic, towels, sandwiches, and two crossword puzzles. The one good thing about the sun was I didn’t need to put on glasses to be able to read.
I started to cook just minutes after lying down and slathering myself with as much SPF 50 lotion as I could. I couldn’t find the SPF 70. The 50 turned out all right, I did not burn.
I tried to do the crossword- I had last Thursdays and it was pretty tough for Thursday, and I had the Sunday puzzle in reserve. I kept flipping from my stomach to my back when I felt like my skin was getting ready to catch fire.
I looked at people and listened to two little Russian girls building mud pies nearby. I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but they sure rolled their RRRs well. I noticed not one, but two enormous women in bikinis. Not only were they enormous, like close to 300 pounds each, but also they were old, late 60’s I’d say. I wanted to avert my eyes but I was fascinated by their unselfconsciousness.
“I didn’t know they made bikinis that big,” I absentmindedly said to Danusia, who was lying on her stomach and couldn’t see what I was referring to.
One of them was so large that her overhanging belly obscured most of her bottom, all I could see was a little black strip across her ass.
At one point one of them went for a swim, and when she came out she started to cup her enormous breasts in her hands, as if to check if they were still there. It reminded me of those Hip-Hop kids that are always grabbing at their crotches. I always want to ask, “checking to see if it’s still there?”
Danusia swam a couple of times, and we left after three hours.
We went shopping on Brighton Beach Avenue afterwards, amongst all the dressed to the nines old Russian women and the smattering of non-Russians who are filtering into the neighborhood. At one store there was a woman at a stand in front with all kinds of pastries. I wanted one, but not being able to read Cyrillic writing I had to ask. The Russian woman ignored us until Danusia tried to open one of the plastic cases so I could look. The woman slammed the cover down and let out a stream of Russian, scolding us.
“Meat! Meat! This is meat, you want meat?”
“Do you have anything sweet?” I asked.
“Inside. Inside is sweet.” I wondered if she were talking about her disposition.