We're approaching that time of year again. Yup, summer. Which, inevitably, leads to people wanting to take trips to the beach. Me? I don't do beach. It has nothing to do with the fear of putting on a bathing suit (okay, well maybe a little) because I've been to the beach before, and I've seen people there that look far worse than me in a bikini. I also happen to have an apparently unique talent for knowing what suits/shirts/tanks/shorts/cover-ups work for my body. A talent that it appears few have.
Let me explain why me and the beach don't work...
I'm a mountain girl. Meaning, I was born and raised in the mountains. Beaches were not something I grew up with. You might not know much about the mountains, but the beachfront is not a feature of their landscape. Some may argue that there are lakes within the mountains that have beaches. Let me correct this thinking by explaining that these "beaches" are not real beaches. Real beaches tend to be sandy; not littered with pine needles. They also tend to have a plethora of sunshine, surf, and seashells. Mountain lake beaches tend to have overcast skies, canoe-created wake (because motor boats usually aren't allowed), and pine cones.
Vacations to the beach never happened for me when I was growing up either. My dad was a work-aholic, and my mom was more-or-less broke because my dad refused to pay child-support. Plus, with the wonderful custody agreement my parents had, unless our vacation took place from 6:01 pm Sunday night to 4:59pm Wednesday night, or from Thursday afternoon to 8:59 pm Sunday morning, or from 5:01 pm Friday night to 6:01 pm Sunday evening (but only every other weekend. Complicated, right? Yeah, trying living it) vacations were out of the question because one parent would have to give up some of their time. But that's a post for another day (or ten sessions with a therapist somewhere in my near-future).
My sisters and I used to spend our summers at a camp my dad owned on a "pond"* in the Adirondacks (but only during the above designated times). The camp had no beach. My dad attempted to create a "beach" by hauling in some dirt he dug up from some sand pit he found in the middle of the woods.** The beach was small, about the size of two kiddie pools, but we were able to make sand castles on it, so it served its purpose well. Uh, until it rained. And then the sand that didn't run into the lake turned into mud. Or became so congested with pine needles that our sand castles ended up looking like an inside-out iron maiden.
(former location of our "beach". Note all the pine needles)
Any way, back to why beaches and me aren't friends...
- Beaches have sunshine and obscene amounts of deadly UVA and UVB rays. I am white. As in, so white I often look purple because you can see all the blood vessels through my skin. Being so white, the sun scares the shit out of me.
- I can't swim. I know what you're thinking, but you'd be wrong. Just because I spent my summers at the lake and my dad was a Merchant Marine Captain, does not guarantee that I have a natural ability to swim. On the contrary, I have a natural ability to snort water up my nose every time my head goes under water resulting in my crippling fear of drowning anytime I'm within twelve feet of water.
- There's nothing to do. I mean, really, how long can one lay on the beach without becoming bored out of their freakin' mind? For me, it's about 15 minutes. Twenty if I happened to have the foresight to bring a book with me. After that I become antsy, fidgety, anxious, and inevitably, super cranky. I need to have at least four things to do at once in order to keep me entertained.*** I hate being bored more than anything in the world.
- I don't like going in the water. Aside from the fact that I can't swim and have an irrational fear of drowning, I will not go into the water unless it is at least 120° out, and the water temperature is 80°, and I'm on the verge of heat exhaustion. Seriously though, I get cold quickly, and I hate being cold almost as much as I hate being bored. I have to have a damn good reason for venturing out into the water and inviting goosebumps and chattering teeth to take over my body.
So, long story short, no, I don't want to go to the beach.+ I'll go camping, I'll go boating (uh, hello, there are life jackets on board, so drowning is not an issue), I'll go sit at a bar on the waterfront and drink all afternoon, but nothing about going to the beach sounds even remotely interesting to me.
Unless we're going for the people watching, and then yeah, maybe I'll go. But we're only staying for an hour, right?
* It had pond in its name, but it was really more lake-like.
** I'm pretty sure my dad envisioned that once he created a glorious beach for us, my sisters and I would actually use it to enter the water. No matter how great the beach was, it did not change the fact that the ground in the lake was like slimy pudding. And it smelled like dead people.
*** I have been known to listen to music, watch TV, have a conversation with four different people via text messaging, facebook (yes, it's a verb now. Didn't you get that memo?), and catch-up on internet news all at the same time. I
may have problems.
+ And water parks are most certainly out of the question too.