Growing up in South Carolina, in the summertime we would go to the beach…characterized by wide, flat expanses of hot sand covered with armies of sun-burned Canadian tourists. Here in Oregon, we go to the coast, where it’s windy, rocky and beautiful, with kites and dogs and very white people wearing jackets all year long. In New Jersey, my ex-mother-in-law (#2’s mom) took us “…down the shore” (not down TO the shore, mind you) to show me around. The only thing I learned about it was that Whitney Houston used to have a house there (“Oh my god…look at how beeyootiful that place is!”) and that New Jersey’s poster boy built his mom a house there (“…and here is where Bon Jovi’s mothuh lives…can you’se BELIEVE it? He must be such a nice boy!)
I’ve also been on beaches in Hawaii (beautiful, but with a sense of danger, especially after a few mai tais…oh, and they get mad if you stand on the coral), Morocco (windy and covered with people’s trash, the water dotted with the billowing burkas of women bobbing along next to men tasked with keeping them from sinking), Virginia (the jellyfish got me, but the dunes provided good cover for smoking cherry cigars when I was 13), Florida (“Sorry about your eyes, but my legs really are that white”), Mexico (“Oh wow…I just know this jewelry they’re peddling on the sand is really silver”), and probably a few other places that don’t stand out in my memories. The one thing that is always consistent is that I’m deathly afraid of whatever is out there in all that water.
I’m heading to Miami Beach next week for a few days of girl time with one of my best friends. We’ve traveled together a lot…she’s motivated enough to get me out to do some exploring, and I’m chill enough to get her to sit quietly in the sun and do some relaxing. She tried to teach me to snorkel once…in a pool…but it didn’t work. I almost died…of um…embarrassment. I guess my self-proclaimed ‘skillz’ don’t include things that happen in more than about 5 feet of water, and I’m ok with that.
For this trip, the water and I have declared a truce…I’ll play nice if it will. My black, one-piece ‘mom bathing suit’ is prepped, I have plenty of sunscreen to keep this paper-white complexion from picking up anything close to a healthy hue, and I’m bound and determined to learn to drink mojitos (I don’t like cuba libras). I figure that I’ll get a little rum in me, get all full of myself, and decide to swim in the ocean…until a random piece of kelp attacks me and I end up having to dog-paddle to safety. And won’t that be a pretty sight?