The Beach Diaries #7
* Overheard conversation snippets. Swaggering group of two teenage boys and a third, much younger boy:
“…gonna get proper fucked up on everything; coke, weed, beer, ketamine…”
“Let’s go up that end, see if there’s any fanny up there…”
* A hugely puffed up bodybuilder struts along, chest and shoulders like mutant watermelons, with his arms so high by his sides that he might as well be nailed to a giant crucifix. I wonder if anyone has ever told him how utterly ridiculous he looks. Maybe someone did tell him that once, back when he was thin and insecure.
* There is a man with Tourettes. Every few seconds he barks like a dog and roughly thrashes his arms out to the sides. He lifts a baby-filled pram and begins carrying it across the sand. Bad news, I think – that baby’s ending up in the air. But the man’s symptoms subside, and he calmly carries the pram without so much as a twitch. The baby safely survives its journey, but the instant the man softly rests the pram back on the ground, he lets out an enormous bark, and a jerk so violent that it almost knocks him off his feet.
* Little black insects everywhere, feasting on us. Seagulls hang in the air like vultures, darkening the sky.
* The junkie uncle of someone I was at school with sups from a can of Strongbow. My mum once saw him shooting downhill on a push-bike, laughing hysterically, and riding straight into the oncoming traffic.
* May 10th. I’ve never seen the beach so hot and so empty. It’s virtually deserted. Bad for people-watching, but great for space. Whole sections are occupied by a single person, or completely free. I stroll onto an empty section of the beach. This is all for me, I think. All mine. But then, as I slidey-step beneath the dip of the shingle – Disaster. A lone woman sunbathes, right there, by the breakwater, topless, and on her stomach, as I noisily clunk down the rocks with clumsy, rapist footsteps.
I bet that’s what Jack the Ripper sounded like, I think, chasing prostitutes over the Queen’s own cobbles. But still, the whole beach to choose from, and not five yards between us. We are but two tiny specks on an expanse of golden sand; just like Lawrence of Arabia, but with way more paranoia. As I change direction and veer away, I consider camping up my walk a bit.
“Phew!” she’d think, no longer readying to enter a third 9 on her phone, “He was gay after all. Perhaps I will ask him to rub lotion on my back, unthreatening gay that he is.”
* Even the Cool Kid Section of the beach is empty. I could set up down there, wandering about like I own the place, like some frosted-haired, Red Bull belching, Zach Morris motherfucker. But it would be a hollow victory, like the day that 95% of my sixth form college were off on field trips for courses I didn’t take, and me and my shunned nerd kin were free to sample the forbidden delights of the ‘communal’ common room, with its Oasis cassettes, Wheat Crunchies, and well-thumbed copies of NME. The next day, we went right back to loitering in the dingy corners of unused classrooms, far behind the velvet rope.
* Overheard conversation snippets. Father carrying full-nappied child:
“Shall we do bumbum? Let’s do bumbum!”