Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wednesday's Wisdom: Beach Season. Sigh.

Ah, summer...Beach season. My second least-favorite season.

I know, I know - but the beach! The sun! The warmth!

It's just not for me. The idea of going to the beach is great - lounging on a chaise, or a towel, basking in the glow of the sun, skin turning a golden bronze while glistening with just a touch of seawater. Hair fanned out in glorious waves, sunglasses on, and just the sound of you, the seagulls, the waves, and - occasionally - the sounds of children's laughter wafting by on a perfect breeze that cools you down just enough to make you comfortable.

The reality, as we ALL know, is so very, very different.

First, let's talk about getting to the beach. You have to trudge through sand carrying a beach bag (i.e., a giant diaper bag filled with everything but diapers, unless you're toting toddlers - and that's a whole different post), a cooler, at least one child's shoes, at some point your own shoes, and - if you're particularly unlucky - an umbrella.

Once in the desired spot (wedged between a blanket of teenagers intent on capturing the original image, above, and the blanket that, horrifyingly, belongs to the dude you saw down the beach wearing a too-tight should've-been-outlawed Speedo), you dump your stuff and begin the setup. Blanket smoothed (then immediately covered with sand). Umbrella up (then tilts exactly the wrong way, no matter what you do). Move blanket into umbrella shade. Pull out towels, sunscreen, swimmies, etc. Look up - kids are gone, maybe in the water (if young), maybe on the blanket next to you (if teens).

By this point, you're already sweating.

After you gather the children around you and slather on the sunscreen, ignoring the typical complaints, you send them off and let them be free. (Within eyesight, with frequent check-ins. Or, if you're like me, they must stay put until an adult is ready to go to the water with them.)

About 15 minutes later, they swarm back, demanding nourishment in the form of potato chips, cookies, or other unhealthy things - then complain when you offer an apple.

You break out the book you've been dying to read, but can't concentrate on it for three reasons: 
  1. The dude with the Speedo is back, and it's like a train wreck. You really can't look away, no matter how much you want to. And, by God, you really, really want to.
  2. The kids can't be trusted. If they're young, be realistic - you're not reading a book, you're actually in the ridiculously freezing water, pretending to enjoy it and wondering if someone's going to steal your phone, keys or wallet out of your beach bag. If you have teens, you're eyeballing that hot-shot kid who's rubbing sunscreen on your teenage daughter's back. (Note she's not complaining now.)
  3. The music coming from the blanket next to you is so loud and awful, you wonder how the "artist" got a recording contract. Even you sing better than that, wine or no wine. Headache forms.

An hour or so into this "fun trip to the beach," you realize you forgot to put sunscreen on yourself, and that bronzed look is leaning closer towards a lobster look. The glisten is more of a rivulet of sweat. The hair is a frizzed mess, you've lost your sunglasses in the depths of the beach bag, and a seagull uses your leg as its personal toilet because the damn umbrella fell over and you gave up on it about twenty minutes ago. The sound of children's laughter is actually the sound of them fighting over who gets to throw the Frisbee first (you don't remember packing a Frisbee...). 

So, I suppose BEACH season is my least-favorite season. Summer has its advantages. There's no snow. And there's no biting winds. Oh! And you can't get frostbite in the summer. 

I'll keep searching for reasons. What about you? What's your most/least favorite thing about summer?

1 comment:

  1. I love how long the days last. I feel like I can do a lot in one day. I particularly enjoy playing outside with my daughter long after dinner has been consumed. I also like not having to dress up in tons of layers of clothes. Not wearing a jacket or heavy restricting clothes-so freeing! Not to mention not having to take an extra 20-30 minutes dressing the kids in a ton of layers of clothes. I love the beach even though I agree with all the challenges you speak of when going there. To me, it is all worth it, it is the most peaceful place if you can escape into it...