I thought I needed a new bathing suit. Thus, I have put off trips to the beach and water park all summer. I cannot even remember when I bought my previous bathing suit. It had to be well over ten years ago. Unfortunately areas of the bathing suit had worn too thin and became transparent, as a mother (of a probably traumatized toddler) told me at the water park one day on vacation. As I went back to the locker room and check the back view... I'm pretty sure that level of exposure could be a criminal offense.
A year, maybe two, ago I saw bathing suit on the clearance rack at the sporting goods store and grabbed it. My Speedo. It's meant for functionality, not comfort... and there is no comfort to its function.
So, I needed a new suit this year. Buying a bathing suit is the Dante's level of Hell equivalent to dental work involving large drills, to me. So I put it off. And put it off. And... put it off. Until my only options were ordering on-line and spending about $100. I just couldn't bring myself to spend that kind of money. So, I put it off. And put it off. And... put it off.
Well, here it is A_gust (don't want to fully admit to the nearness of my return to school date), and I just knew I needed to get to the beach. If I make it to the beach at least three times, that's a good summer. Even though I don't go to the beach nearly as much as many folks I know around here, I have always felt the need to live no more than an hour away from the beach. It's like some kind of geographical claustrophobia. I could never survive in a landlocked state. I need to know that at any point in time I can hop in my car and drive a convenient distance to see the ocean.
Alas, yesterday, I wrestled myself into my Speedo and Cameron and I headed to the beach. I like taking Benjamin to the beach. He is as enamored by it as I am but I wanted a long, relaxing pseudo-vacation day in the sand, so we left him home for this late-season inaugural trip.
Most folks in this town, and the surrounding few, head to The Outer Banks, North Carolina, for their beach escape... but that's just too droll and abandoned for me. It's like a setting for a Nicholas Sparks movie. I love the tourist traps! I like anonymity in a crowd, being the oxymoronic people watcher that I am.
We are at the height of tourist season and the coast was packed! The waves were calm. It was an overcast day with a mild breeze. The kind of day that makes you underestimate the sun's rays as your skin fries. Grrr! Frustrated. Apparently umbrellas do not offer UV protection. Still, it was a peaceful day. I brought three books to be sure that I had good reading material. After tossing the first choice one chapter in, I became enthralled with Lisa Scottline's, Save Me. I did not find the last of her books I read that appealing so this was a good surprise. It was a real page turner. I finished half the novel.
Mainly, I just allowed myself to be... present. This is a task that I need to work toward constantly. Tucked in my beach bag was a notebook and pen (and backup pen) so I could make a To Do list, sketch out a Key Club summer newsletter, and start planning menus for August... excuse me, A_gust. Thankfully, I was so swept up in this book that I never even opened the Ziploc bags containing those tools of self-imposed micro-managing.
Instead, I took deep breaths, inhaling the ocean air into my lungs until I could taste its salt lingering on my lips. I thought about the vastness of the ocean. I watched the Naval jets roar overhead and disappear into the far-off clouds. I allowed myself to just... be present... for six nearly uninterrupted hours shared just between a good book and my thoughts.