Observations from the sand.

I don’t know whether to feel sorry for or admire women who wear inappropriate bathing suits at the beach.

On one hand, it’s wonderful that they feel comfortable enough in their bodies to wear bikinis when their stomachs hang out, breasts sag and butts droop. They don’t feel the need to conform to what the media defines as beautiful.

I don’t even wear a bathing suit at all, more comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt or tank top than a tight suit.

But it’s also a little sad that these women feel good about themselves when, to be honest, they look pretty awful.

I’m not saying that overweight or out of shape women shouldn’t wear swimsuits. Far be it from me, an overweight woman myself, to make that judgment.

But there are more appropriate swimsuits. Very, very few people really look good in a bikini. Maybe 16 year old athletes.

Seeing out of shape women in tiny suits leaves me torn between shouting, “you go, girl” and “for crying out loud, no one wants to see that.”

And, as someone who believes we should celebrate all sizes, I feel guilty for being torn.

==

Overheard on the boardwalk:

“And before I knew it, I was surrounded by snowmobiles and people yelling at me.”

I almost stopped the woman to ask her to explain what came before that sentence. Or reversed directions and followed her to her what came after.

I imagine that she was cross country skiing on a snowmobile trail and angry snowmobilers didn’t want her there.

Or maybe she fell into a snow drift and the snowmobilers were there to rescue her, yelling to keep her conscious.

==

Pre-teen girls are the most awkward creatures on the beach.

Part of them wants to be like the older girls, sunning their beautiful bodies, reading fashion magazines and listening to the latest music on their iPods.

And another part of them wants to be playing with the kids, splashing in the waves and building sandcastles.

They compromise by restlessly standing around, digging in the sand with one toe, not committing to actual play. Or lying listlessly on a towel, looking bored.

It makes me glad I’m not a pre-teen anymore.

==

I hate space encroachers.

Beaches fill up. I get that. But when I’m all set up with my umbrella, chair and towel and an entire chatty family from grandpa in white socks and sandals to bratty little boy who finds it necessary to shout, ‘hot sand, hot sand,” with every step decides to plunk down directly in front of me, practically on top of my towel and their umbrella is blocking the sun on my legs, it pisses me off.

Especially when there is an open space just ten feet to the right.

==

People turn a trip to the beach into a lot of work.

They truck in carts full of chairs, coolers, blankets, tents, toys, umbrellas and tables.

They set up entire households, fuss with the details for twenty minutes, only to pick up and leave after a couple of hours.

I feel particularly sorry for the men.

It’s common to see a women and a couple of kids wandering around the beach, looking for the perfect spot. Carrying only a bag or an iced coffee, they move from space to space until they finally settle on one.

Trailing them is a man, dragging a stuffed cart, carrying four chairs, with a bag of beach toys hanging around his neck.

Would it kill the woman and kids to carry a chair?

==

There are a lot of copies of Fifty Shades of Gray on the beach. And several copies of the sequels.

I’m tempted to read one, even though I’m pretty sure it’s not my cup of tea. I just want to see what all the fuss is about.

I have very little patience for bookish types who look down on what other people read. Like Fifty Shades is an offense to their literary morals. Like opera patrons who refuse to acknowledge that other forms of performing art have any merit.

My mother used to work with the stereotypical cool hippie type. A great, gangly, long-haired guy and the most kind and gentle person you could ever find.

Mom once confessed to him, with some embarrassment, that she liked the music of Elvis Presley.

Since the man had (almost) gone to Woodstock and burned a candle in honor of John Lennon every December 8, she expected him to scoff.

Instead he smiled and said, “That’s cool.”

She told him that she thought her would laugh at her and he said, “I don’t judge people’s musical tastes. It’s enough that they’re listening to music.”

That’s the way I feel about reading. As long as you’re reading, I’m not going to judge the book.

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