"I don't know how to come back from this..."
On a warm summer Saturday, I pulled on my bikini, not the red one, but another one, and headed to the beach. Jauntily, I walked down the dirt trail, an umbrella tucked under my arm and a romance novel stashed in my bag. Also, snacks. It’s important never to go to the beach without snacks. The gentle citrus scent of sunscreen surrounded me. Smells like summer.
(Pro tip, because I know you are here for the tips! Put sunscreen all over your naked body before leaving the house. This exercise prevents the possibility of weird lines and blotches of sunburn in the spots you missed. Also, sand and sunscreen are not super fun together! They are not.)
You were wondering about the bikini. Striped top, solid black bottoms. You can never go wrong with bright top, black bottoms, in my opinion. Also, anyone who won’t let you mix and match bikini parts is a fascist, and I reserve that term for the worst infractions, let me tell you. But I am wandering from the point.
In addition to my umbrella and my romance novel, I also carried my softtop, a lime-green Beater, encased in a thick patina of sun-baked wax. It’s far from stylish, but it’s easily carried. Toss it casually in the sand, it won’t even care. On a warm summer Saturday, I can’t be bothered with a surfboard that requires any sort of special treatment. Low-maintenance, that’s what I need.
And if I’m honest, I will say that I didn’t expect to see any waves worthy of an actual surfboard. I expected to lounge under my umbrella in my striped bikini top and solid black bottoms, and read my romance novel. This is a good life and I would recommend it to anyone. I figured maybe I’d go wade in the water when the sun hung high in the sky and the heat waves began to shimmer up from the sand. But I certainly didn’t think I would go surfing.
Then, peering out from under my umbrella, I noticed the tiniest bump in the water, not much more than a whale fart, if I’m honest. Perhaps I could surf these tiny bumps, I thought! Perhaps I could paddle my low-maintenance, lime-green softtop out into the sea and slide along the tiny summer waves in my mismatched, but perfectly matching bikini.
It turned out that I could. I slid along and giggled madly. Look at me, look at what I’m getting away with right now, going surfing on a random summer Saturday, wearing my bikini, on a surfboard that’s not even really a surfboard, but it works just fine. I sat there staring at the horizon, happily waiting for another little bump to arrive, so I could defy the laws of the physics and the seasons, and slide along on waves almost too small to even count as waves.
Suddenly I heard a voice. It was coming from somewhere right next to me. I’d been so distracted by the summer sun and infinite blue horizon that I’d allowed someone to drift up right next to me. This was a surprise, to be sure. I turned to look, and there sat a teenaged boy on a middle-sized surfboard of some kind. He seemed to be talking to me, so I tore my attention from the ocean’s bright expanse.
“You’re a kook!” he said.
This was not at all what I expected. I’d anticipated some sort of friendly greeting. Like, hey, how’s it going. Or, nice day, we’re having. Plainly, my expectations were totally out of alignment with the reality of the thing.
He called me a kook! Me! There I sat in my mismatched bikini — should I have worn the red one? Would my red bikini with matching top and bottoms make me less of a kook? I felt quite suddenly a deep anxiety. How had I gone so blissfully through life unaware of my status? All this time. A kook!
I don’t know how to come back from this, you guys. Do I just buy a house and move to the suburbs? Siri, what is the suburbs? How do you even buy a house. Maybe this is too complicated. Do I have to put my boards on Craigslist now, even the cute blue one and the other cute blue one? I don’t think I really want to put my cute blue boards on Craigslist, honestly. Perhaps there is an exorcism or a penance that can erase this blot from my soul.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I kept right on surfing. I wasn’t about to abandon all those cute tiny waves. I guess, if I’m going to be a kook, I might as well be a happy kook, is what I thought. So I kept sliding along, tan feet square on the lime-green deck, gripping the sun-baked wax, wearing my striped and solid bikini, floating over glittering blue.