The Beach Diaries 2012 – #22
* An old lady sat on the edge of the prom strokes the cheeks of a little grey dog, both a picture of absolute contentment.
* On the back of a toilet door, there’s a detailed personal ad, scrawled in barely legible black marker. He’s left his full name — politely including the ‘Mr.’ title — age, and hair colour (grey, presumably cashing in on recent trends). It advertises nothing less than full penetrative sex. At the bottom is a time and date. 30/7/2012, 3 PM. Today. In a sitcom, I’d check my watch to see the little hand on the three, and the hairy hand waving hello through the gloryhole, but it’s just gone one o’clock. Notes hidden in cracks, diagrams, real-world Craigslist ads on the back of doors; the mating rituals of the cottagers are worthy of a book in themselves.
* A newly married bride and groom smile and pose their way through a photoshoot in the sunken garden. The wind is absolutely wild, and her virginal white dress billows madly behind her, giving the photos the romantic feel of that scene from Ghostbusters where the ghost in the library goes all scary.
* The menacing clouds are a lazy GCSE Creative Writing metaphor for my mood. I’m still trying to shake off last night’s special treat of three separate, vivid, and completely horrible nightmares, each playing on my insecurities like a school bully leaping out of a locker dressed like your dead mum.
* Overheard conversation snippets. Very posh mother to a friend, while her kids run in front.
“Henry is talented, but I don’t think Freddy is, which is an awful disappointment.”
* It’s a quarter to three (“Four to three?”), and somehow I find myself on the common, sat directly across from the toilets. I don’t want to expose anybody (besides, the name and phone number were left for all to see); how people live their lives and find their fun is up to them. Nor do I want to be confused with the Simon Cowell and Ricky Gervais types, who find the mere concept of homosexuals something to be giggled at. I’m just obsessed with the minutiae of human social interaction.
In the same way that people lose the bluster of their internet self when conversed with in the real world, I wonder if the set-up — an invitation to stranger-sex hurriedly scribbled in a smelly toilet — will match the appearance and behaviour of the writer, or if the lust went out of it by the time he’d got back home to wait out the clock. If he actually shows, will the man look shifty? Collar pulled up around his chin and a fake beard hooked over the ears? Or will he not be bothered? I am what I am, and fuck it if anyone sees me? Perhaps he’ll be whistling a merry tune with a red carnation in his hand. And will anyone take up his offer? If they do, will they both leave together? Will they be so doused in post-ejaculation shame that they sprint away in opposite directions, unable to meet each other’s eye? Or, will the meeting end in a firm, friendly handshake, and a “Thanks, mate!”, like he’d just been over to fix the boiler?
* 2:55 PM. A police helicopter circles overhead, adding to the paranoia my actions will see me either destroying or being arrested in a sting operation, like poor Wilfred Brambell. I look around for potential candidates, possible 46, greys. Again, in a sitcom, it’d be someone I knew. “Alright, Sir? Still teaching?” As I wait, I wonder — am I an awful person? Every grey head in a visible radius catches my eye. But what would a cottager look like? What does someone who only does it on top of their wife with the lights off look like? Or someone who whacks off exclusively over internet videos of MILFs, or TV weather girls or chicks in bikinis? Just a person, that’s all. Albeit one who should probably conduct their bell-business somewhere that’s not flooded with tourists enjoying an innocent day out. What defines this guy is that his moment of lust was etched on the back of a public door, rather than in a Firefox tab that was X-ed into closing the moment the thick piss squirted into a tissue.
* 3:10 PM. It’s time to accept it. I’ve been stood up. Maybe he thought better of it. Or maybe he was put off by the suspicious looking weirdo sat twenty yards away, eye on the toilets, biro in hand. Sorry bro.
* An old married couple in their eighties sit on a bench facing out to sea. She has her arm around him as he sleeps, open mouthed, with his head resting on her shoulder.
The complete collection (plus appendices) of 2011’s Beach Diaries are available to buy for the Amazon Kindle for £1.99/$2.99. If you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon have a free Kindle app for PC/Mac/phones/tablets, available right here.