A Day at the Beach...
I do not go to the beach often anymore, but once a year I’m guilted into making an appearance by you-know-who. It was a spectacular day in Newport with plenty of sunshine and a refreshing ocean breeze, but I’m not a big fan of sand, uncomfortable beach chairs, the hot sun or watching other people’s children fight over cheap plastic beach pails and tools. The best part of my day by far is lunch and as soon as I get there the clock starts ticking. If you eat too early there will be nothing to look forward to. But by 11:45, no one waits till noon, you can see at a glance all the Ziploc bags making there way out of coolers, it’s like a beachgoer’s union. All at once it’s lunchtime!
Sitting next to us on colorful beach chairs were two middle-aged women. They looked enough alike to be sisters. They were both dark-tanned, wearing gold jewelry, had matching manicures/pedicures, were heavy-set and wearing tankinis. Probably not the best choice of beach attire, but kudos to them for being comfortable in their own skins, no matter how much of it was left in plain sight.
The woman closest to us had been chain-smoking menthol 100 mm longs all morning. I always thought that 100's were for people who needed more tobacco, but were too lazy to light up a second cigarette and that menthols were for smokers looking for something flavorful, almost a food replacement. You could tell by their smooth, synchronized movements these two women had spent many summers together at the beach.
Just before high noon, after finishing another menthol long, their cooler was opened. The woman closest to us took out a really good looking six-inch sub from Subway. I watched her closely, the whole time comparing her over-sized sandwich to the soy nut butter and jelly waiting for me in our cooler. Her sub looked really good. I was at once envious.
Once out of its wrapper and on full display, I realized how lucky she was. She held it with two hands, away from her body admiring it for a moment before pulling it towards her for the first bite. Her first bite was a big one too; she was not getting cheated that’s for sure. As soon as she had it in her mouth she positioned the sub away from her where she could resume admiring it while she totally destroyed the first bight. As I watched my mouth began to water, convincing me that she had perhaps the best lunch on the beach.
With the first bite gone she lined up the second. Same big bite, opposite side of the sandwich. As soon as she had it secured she held the sub away from her body. Even with two big bites gone, there was plenty left to admire.
With her cheeks expanded like the great Armstrong’s while belting out a long note, the Seagulls circled overhead. It seems they had also been admiring this tasty sandwich. In one swoop the sub was jarred loose from her firm, two-handed grip. You could see both shock and disappointment on her face, the six-inch now battered with sand. This brought the swarming gulls to their feet where an all-out battle for nutrition began. One lucky gull made off with the Lion’s share while the others cleaned up the remains. The woman looked at me and asked “Can you believe that?” I didn’t dare offer up the truth, that she had flaunted her six-inch sub and deserved her fate.
I took out my soy nut butter and jelly sandwich which now looked a whole lot better than I anticipated, and while holding it close to my body like a gambler keeping his cards close to his vest, I destroyed it while she angrily pounded down the soft chocolate chip cookies that she bought at Subway for afternoon snacks.
I didn’t feel too bad for her; she still had one unopened pack of menthol 100s…