Anthony is always teasing me about why I don't spend more time at the beach, considering I live 400 metres (437 yards) from one (yup, I used a map website to calculate the distance).
In the five years I've been back in Sarnia, I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to the beach and until this past week, the number of times I'd been there alone: zero.
Well, summer is ending and since I spent so much of it holed up inside, injecting mashed potatoes into my mouth with a syringe meant for feeding helpless baby animals, I decided, what the hell, let's try out this beach thing!
Where I live, I have two convenient options. The first is what we locals call "the cove," a small, secluded part of the beach with better sand and shallow, calm water. The other option is the main beach in Canatara Park. It's huge, but it's rocky.
Last Friday, I took my crossword book and a towel down to the cove. It was pretty busy, and I didn't bring headphones with me to block out conversations. The beach was mostly populated by what seemed like the trashier demographic of Sarnia; middle aged women with cigarette coughs holding Bud Lites, blithering on about inane local gossip. I toughed out the annoying conversation for a few crosswords and went home.
Today after work it was hot, and I figured the cove wouldn't be too busy since it's the first day of school. Indeed I was right. I set up my towel, sat down with a copy of Vogue that my friend Chelsea sent me in a post-surgery care package, and was really enjoying myself. All was well... until the bees arrived.
If you don't know me, I am petrified of bees. I find bees themselves fascinating, but the thought of being stung really freaks me out. Still, I was determined to enjoy myself this time at the beach and I did my best to ignore the frequent bzzzzzzz near my ears.
There was only a handful of people sharing the cove, I was reading some good advice about fake tanner, and for a moment, it almost felt like it could be The Summer of George, bees and all.
Then these two women came in with two or three toddlers and decided that the best place to set up camp on this entire beach with precious few people was where else? Right next to the girl clearly relaxing quietly with a magazine. Seriously? All this space and you choose 10 feet away from me to let your kids run wild? I subtly slipped on my headphones (this time I was smart) and turned my music up. I didn't even care how obvious it was that I was clearly blocking their voices out.
I decided I wasn't going to let it bug me. Bees, noisy children, fuck it. This is my beach, too.
I was happy enough to let Amy Winehouse's voice drown out theirs until there was a strong stench of marijuana that was suddenly occupying the small bit of oxygen I wanted for myself. Just to get things straight here: kids in themselves don't bother me, and marijuana doesn't bother me. In my turf when I am trying to relax? Then they bother me.
I didn't look around to see exactly what was being smoked in my vicinity, but after about 15 minutes of skunky weed smell, I finally decided enough was enough. I gathered my things and walked over to the big beach in Canatara.
The big beach was virtually empty and I had at least 40 feet of space all around me, people-, bee-, and smoke-free. I had finished Vogue by then and pulled out my crossword book. I sighed of relief, maybe now I could finally relax.
Bzzzzzzzz. Smack! Bitten by a black fly that refused to leave me alone even after biting me and being shooed away!
I try not to swear a whole lot on this blog but seriously, fuck the beach. Y'all can have it, I give up.
Not today, satan.