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post #180
bio: jen

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Life's a beach. . .and then ya die

On Sunday, I rode my bike down to the beach to get some of that cool summertime vibe. As I set out, the sun was shining and the sky was blue, but by the time I reached the beach, a dense fog sat over the beach and surf. Fog horns wailed from sailboats cruising in and out of the harbor.

Still, even with the fog and cool moist air, a lot of people were out on the beach. People even had their umbrellas and shelters up. Even if there was no sun, there was still the dreaded UV.

I rode along the bike trail and dodged kids covered with sand and parents hauling coolers until I got to the RC café. The RC café is not anything fancy. It's a beach place where kids wrapped in beach towels get ice cream, and roller bladders get Gatorade. I like it because it has a big porch that looks out over a large stretch of beach, so it's a prime people watching spot.

As I sat back with an ice cream cone, I got totally transfixed by the movie called The Real Beach. I call this movie The Real Beach, so it will not be confused with that Leonardo DiCaprio movie (called simply The Beach) from a few years back. This beach is not as pretty.

Sure there are the surfers, the soccer players, and the volleyball players, but the beach is still an activity for families. Ah yes, families can relax, spend time together, and. . .and. . .

When a family goes to the beach, it's not just a casual activity. It's a full-on expedition. In order to have fun in the sun, every member of the family must pitch in. Just because a child is little, does not mean he can't carry the umbrella.

Leading this expedition is the Dad or Dad-figure. He usually is carrying the cooler or the smallest child or both. Arriving at the beach, he has an optimistic smile on his face. Leaving the beach, well, you can hear the theme from the Bridge on the River Kwai outta his aura. He will make it back to the couch and television. Oh yes, it will happen.

Usually right next to the Dad or Dad-figure is Mom or Mom-figure. Unlike Dad who is burdened with one most heavy thing, Mom is hauling many less heavy things. Mom usually has the bag of extra towels and extra clothes along with the bag of plastic cups, plates, and utensils along with non-cooler food items like cheese puffs along with the radio along with the blanket to spread out along with part of the umbrella. As Mom negotiates the uneven sand, you can see her brain thinking ‘what did I forget? What did I forget?'

Next come the kids with their own beach bags, boogie boards, flip-flops, and goggles. They look even more serious than the adults. If they mess this up, there is no ice cream. There was one kid who took his sandals off in sand, then had to figure out how to carry the sandals and the boogie board. He tried carrying the sandals on the boogie board, but the sandals kept falling off. After a few tries, he realized he could carry the sandals in one hand and the boogie board in the other hand. Future problem solver there.

Sometimes, there is the aunt or female family friend. She usually has a fashionable beach bag and a beach chair she can easily carry on her back. She looks very sharp and put together. Her sunglasses never come off. She plays with the kids but never gets too dirty.

Then, there are the lifeguards. It's not like Baywatch. They don't run across the beach in orange swimsuits. They drive around in yellow pickup trucks. There are still girls who are impressed by lifeguards and hang out by their towers. Some things never change.

After awhile, I had seen enough of the beach scene. I rode away from the beach and into the sunshine. It was a good day. I didn't hit anyone on the bike path.

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