Letter from The Beach

too-much-beach-stuffSome still advertise the beach as the place to “get it away from it all.” It is to laugh.

Certainly, it’s a time I look forward to each summer. But the notion of leaving it all behind and getting away from the hubbub is all wrong.

Increasingly, people seem to be super-sizing their vacations. Driving their deluxe-sized SUVs packed with all manner of luggage, bikes, coolers and such, they get to their super giant sized vacation home, meant for extended families, with eight bedrooms and just as many bathrooms, so each day they can go down to the beach loaded down wheeling giant buggies topped with boogie boards, towels, coolers, bocce sets, giant tents, individual umbrellas, series of tiny pup tents, pups as well (though no dog signs are posted), footballs, frisbees, surfboards, tables, buckets and shovels, hats, sunglasses, coverups, flip-flops, sunscreen in various spray dispensers, folding chairs for everyone, cribs, separate coolers for food, kayaks, other boats, inflatable rafts, inner tubes — there was even an inflatable couch I swear.

People migrated down the street with their rolling mounds of so much stuff, they were loaded down more than if they were going to Europe for a week let alone the beach for a day. And once there, of course, it’s all about staking out real estate — marking one’s area with the main tent serving as the house substitute, laying out beach blankets marking out a kind of porch; a kind of front line of lawn chairs along the water line, and out back behind the tent, a big area for football or those maddening tick-tack paddleball games – a back yard for their make believe beachside McMansion.

Once staked out, people leave up their little villages all day, even if they go home for a lunch I can only imagine as so big they couldn’t bring it to the beach. It’s lucky the town insists that people take down their structures each night or else they’d be staking things out for the entire week.

This seemed even more pronounced on a stretch of beachfront that didn’t seem overly populated. People stretched out even more to fit their ambitions, drawing lines in the sand like they do back home, and leaving some of us with a chair and a book feeling like the guy who says get off my lawn. Except of course there’s no lawn. But there are laws about the pony-sized dogs running free aren’t there?

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