What with the good fireworks on the Fourth and the bad news from London, last week thumped my blogging schedule around. This entry was nearly ready to post the day bombs disrupted London’s workaday commute; it was not appropriate for that morning. This past weekend will henceforth be known as The Time of Catastrophic Fun, and I didn’t have a composed moment to get going on it. Thus: here it is today.
Last year on July 2nd, we Peppers remembered Marlon Brando, who had just broken on through to the other side. This year I found out that July 2nd is also the day Amelia Earhart disappeared, and the day that Ernest Hemingway shot himself before breakfast.
There’s something wrong with July 2nd. I’d stay away from it, if I were you.
In keeping, July 2nd was my designated beach day but despite the best efforts of forecasters all through New York the clouds refused to budge. So I took my problem to the United Nations (by which we mean I went down to Lobo for a long brunch and settled in to read Master and Commander over a back garden margarita) and then came home to stare at some writing in the computer, trying to make it do what I wanted it to do.
Writing in the computer = 1, Linus = 0 in overtime. And the United Nations suggested that I try going on July 3rd, which doesn’t seem to be such a daffy date.
In the two years since I last made it to the beach the price went up (now $17.00 for round-trip accommodations on the packed packed Long Island Rail Road, including Beach Pass) and the schedule changed, so my speedy arrival at Flatbush just in time for the old 11:04 left me rather late for the new 10:48 instead. A change in Jamaica and I’m in a train with no seats left and a smoochy can’t-keep-their-hands-off couple to my right, which I wouldn’t mention but it’s been a while since my hands had someone they couldn’t keep off and, you know, get a room. But they’re blinded with happiness and I’m kinda sorta in love myself lately, at least on the inside of my head, so I do my best not to kick them.
Long Beach is crowded but not packed, and the day is simply glorious. I finish the Sunday Times crossword and launch into the twisty reachy choreography where I try to put sunscreen on the part of my back that I can’t reach without dislocating my arms. This doesn’t really work — this never really works — so I’ll spend the rest of the week with a red Bachelor Stripe tingling away under my clothes. Because I’m a guy, see, and when you’re a guy skin cancer is preferable to asking for help. Actually I put some on at home before I left, so I’m only lightly radioactive this time.
After the Sunscreen Dance I make blanket-watch friends with the girls next door; we take turns Keeping An Eye On The Stuff and going into the water, which is warmish and brisk with waves and absolutely green with choppy bits of seaweed. It’s like swimming in salad, and it feels great. I take a picture of a seagull flying against the sun, and because I’m kinda sorta in love myself lately at least on the inside of my head I think about soaring into white heat and setting fire to the wings that hold you in the air. Each stroke as much an end as a beginning. Does empty paper love the pen? Does it love the match?
I call the photo Icarus. And I do my best not to kick myself.
Dealbreaker Typo Dep’t, or Links I Never Followed: “Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin Navel Series: Master and Commander…” Captain Jack’s got an outie, pass it on.