The Beach Diaries #13
* Yesterday, my entrance onto the prom was greeted by a seagull shatting on me. Today, it’s the sight of Hot Lifeguard, as full-on Goddess of the sea, a dripping wet surf outfit clinging to her like Ursula Andress. I take this as a good omen for the day.
* I sit watching the rolling waves for ages, and am oddly struck by the beauty of this ancient planet, whose seas were churning millions of years before before the dawn of man; before BSR himself stalked the Earth with a permanent semi. The seas from where the sludge walked, to write sonnets, play music, shoot movies; to walk shirtlessly, to guard the ocean hotly, to sit like a leper and scribble into a notepad. Maybe people get philosophical on the beach because the uncountable stones and grains of sand will inevitably lead us to consider our own place in the universe; minuscule pebbles gently formed by countless millennia of tides, simple yet intricate, shaped by those around them, all tiny parts of a greater whole – the beach! I love the beach. And in moments like this, the rest of the world is pretty okay with me too.
If I meet a creationist today, who tells me “God done it in a week, 10,000 years ago,” I’ll have the strong urge to murder them, right in the mouth.
* An old woman lovingly rubs sunblock onto the forehead of her well-dressed elderly husband.
* A mist rolls in, giving the ocean an edge-of-the-world, here-be-dragons feel. Things go from “too hot to breathe” to a Stephen King novel in a matter of moments. Pretty soon, the end of the river is enveloped. Cthulhu must have heard my arrogant cries of good omens, and sees to put me straight. The high dunes of the West Beach, on the opposite side of the river, are swallowed ‘neath the wedding veil of God’s virgin bride. I await the first scream of the first victim, snatched from the sands by something unseen and ancient, but it doesn’t come. Rather, a lot of people think “I probably should’ve brought a jumper.” The sun lays distant beyond the mist, a dying torch in the corner of a haunted attic.
* The safety flag is red, which I believe is to indicate the presence of a pervert in the vicinity. They always seem to be raising it at roughly the same time I usually get here.
* The mist hangs, Silent Hill thick. Surrounded on all sides by a foggy blur, the edges of life dulled, there’s nothing but a hundred metre square bubble of existence, all of us survivors trapped in the first act of a post-apocalyptic horror movie, waiting. “I’ll eat you first,” I think, of an overweight man on a bench. Then, Hot Lifeguard emerges in a wetsuit. “Eh, maybe second,” I add.
(Even the mist can’t hide my shame at this comment. I was ashamed of it as I wrote it, and typing it up now, I am shamed all over again)
* A woman in leggings eats an ice cream. She has a cameltoe like the Mouth of Sauron.
* A youngish couple pass with a kid in a pushchair. On sight, there’s something immediately obnoxious about the man. I can’t put my finger on it. Is it the heavy “I’m a dad!” backpack? Or maybe the aura of being one of those people who assert themselves in arguments about sex offenders and the death penalty with the phrase “Until you’ve had kids yourself, you can’t possibly understand…”? No. I’m just being a snob. He’s only a man. He’s done me no harm. But still, there’s something so punchable about this chap, who probably has a Twitter name like @MollysDad, and a bio that says “Husband. Father. Loving it!” because that’s literally the only way he can define himself. Stop it, Millard, I think, scolding myself. Stop hating. Stop thinking the worst of everyone who isn’t like you (Everybody else in the entire world). Then my vision pans down to his feet. Big. Purple. Crocs.
Phew, that would have driven me crazy. You just get a sense sometimes, you know? Bloody Crocs-wearing bollock. As Crocs Bollock leaves, like a walking corpse swarmed by a cloak of flies, the mist immediately begins to clear. We all rejoin the rest of the world, and the sun sparks back into life.
* I suspect the bikini that hangs “drying” on the side of the Beach Patrol shack is a lure designed to catch me, so they might administer perv-justice. Whoever touches that is getting strung up in the air, like Chewbacca in the Ewok net.
* On the way home, just free of River Walk, I become aware of shouting. Really, really loud and frenzied shouting. Louder than I’ve ever shouted in my life. It’s the kind of shouting that immediately draws your attention, because it usually means someone’s getting bottled in the face. People are looking around the corner where it’s coming from, but all I see is a small boy, glumly resting his face against some railings. The yelling continues, at a tone and volume that’s only ever required when waking at 3am to find yourself in a raging house fire. Appropriately, the woman who comes around the corner is the size of an actual house. A hugely fat mess, she slaps the little boy around the face so hard, there’s a loud cracking sound, like in a comic. Her dialogue will be typed, as it must, in caps.
“THAT’S WHAT YOU GET FOR RUNNING!”
I round the corner, and there are a whole posse of them; VW Bug-sized women, with scowling faces, and many deeply, deeply unhappy children whose wrists are clamped in their sausage paws. One of the “ladies” is in the process of slapping at another squealing child and bellowing in its face. The first beast continues, full-bore the entire time.
“WHAT IF THERE’D BEEN A NASTY MAN ON THE CORNER WHO TOOK YOU IN HIS CAR?!”
Ah, the cry of the scummy; that reliable old tabloid bogieman. Forever lurking, unseen, in darkened doorways and passing vehicles, as a get out of jail free card to behave like a complete turd. Given the choice between the Nasty Man with the car, and the Nasty Woman with the spittle-flecked foghorn voice and slaps-and-shouts approach to motherhood, I’d take my chances in the rape-mobile, thanks. No wonder the poor little blighter was running. Two-hundred yards away, I can still hear them. “AND YOU’VE SCABBED MY TIGHTS!”
There are two morals to this story. Firstly, never leave the beach. And secondly, the monsters that come out of the mist are still more appealing than those who walk the daylight world.