It’s been about six weeks since the last posting, an interior dialog resulting in perhaps a deeper understanding of what so many folks find obvious. Living with the benefit of that knowledge–that what we see is what we get, and how we see it is how much we like it–it was off to the beach, to Crescent Beach in Niantic, Connecticut on Long Island Sound for eleven days. Actually it wasn’t that simple.
Between the time this vacation venture was decided on and the moment of arriving at the beach the significant majority of my waking time was spent in either interior monolog or exterior dialog avowing my dislike of the beach and anticipation of physical, emotional, social and spiritual discomfort for the full duration of each and every one of those eleven days. My father–as those of you who read Welcome! already know–lives on deep within my head. It was he who described the beach weeks of my childhood as
“lay on hard sand; eat sandy food; get sunburned. Repeat.”
My beloved Bobbie endured the dialog part when l was tired of talking to myself and couldn’t find others to kvetch to. It was quickly evident, you may be sure–she was!–that promises of lobsters, clam rolls, and peace and quiet weren’t about to sway me. Visits by the kids and grandkids and even a first visit from two of the great grandkids wouldn’t do it. Seeing some of my cousins? Much as I love ’em, unh-unh. A day spent with Bobbie’s brother Ron and sister-in-law Connie, despite images of Ron and me raising our tequila-filled glasses in our favorite toast,
Death to the Kaiser!
were still not enough to alter my feelings.
No fool, she proposed I leave if I really didn’t like it, so long as I gave it a chance. Understand, Bobbie loves the beach. Be it the Connecticut shore of her youth or Rockaway with dear friend Annie or even by subway to train to taxi or something to Long Beach on Long Island’s south shore, she loves it. A chair by the water, something to read or a puzzle (crossword or Sudoku), lots of sunblock and water temperature warm enough to permit wading up to mid calf and she’s happy. Really happy! It’s not that she wouldn’t miss me, but it clearly wouldn’t be a factor while at waterside.
With all that in mind we packed remarkably little, took the subway to the train to the car rental agency at Union Station in New Haven and let a GPS we ultimately named Gypsy guide us to South Washington Avenue, 4 blocks from the beach. When we arrived, it became immediately apparent that somewhere along the way I’d lost all my doubts, anger and anxieties, all my obligation to maintain my father’s attitude, all the twisting in my belly and muscle tension in my jaw and shoulders. There wasn’t even a little voice in my head pointing this out, questioning it or singing it’s praises.
I was just…there…at the beach…just there.
Before we left New York I’d loaded my mp3 player with 227 albums featuring 317 artists performing 3241 “songs” in 81 different genres. From the time we exited the train in New Haven to the time we, eleven days later, boarded the train home, the only time the mp3 was used was to sound the chimes beginning and end of my morning meditations.
No tv. Minimal internet.
Beach, books, Bobbie, family.
No others need apply.
With all that in mind, here are some snaps from this unexpectedly just-right time: