Mid-season Saturday at the beach

The weather has been top notch lately; and the forecast for the coming week is similarly reassuring. The sunrise and sunset are about the same time at 7:38 which nicely extends the rapture. This meant a jaunt to Lido Key today was in order. Having done so I am not convinced I am in a rush to return.  The beach was extremely busy. We are at the height of the season and judging by the crowds there appears to be little concern about the current pandemic. The advantage was there was plenty to distract – young couples routinely embracing themselves and swimming as though engaged in synchronized cycles, attentive couples and grandparents with gleefully screaming children, male and female students sporting their new and sometimes lubricious bathing costumes and tossing footballs and frisbees, various visitors of different races and languages (notably French, German and Eastern European).  I was within hearing distance of several colloquies – though admittedly only smatterings of each but sufficient to intrigue me. What I dislike about the beach here in particular is that the water is too shallow for too far; it doesn’t gather depth quickly enough for me.  I shall return to Longboat Key instead. This didn’t stop me from swimming numerous times throughout my four-hour sojourn. Nor did it diminish the pleasure of the children and the supervising parents.

My venture this morning was shamefully contaminated by having eaten far too much for breakfast. I not only went up to the trough, I got into it! Yesterday I made the mistake of getting bagels, Kerrygold butter and Teddie All Natural Smooth Unsalted peanut butter.  Oh, and did I mention the Premium Pecan fudge! Nor did this excess prevent me from having my customary sliced green apple and Brie cheese (a large wedge).  It’s sickness no doubt.  I was unable to purge myself of this surfeit by any amount of cycling or swimming.  It was only towards the end of the day that my sustained diet enabled my appetite for food to return with a more desirable interest; namely, veggies and fish – which await as I write.

Anyway all that is by way of confession and exoneration. I arrived at the beach around 11:30 am having left Longboat Key across the draw bridge about 36 minutes previously (this according to my Apple Watch). There were already many people assembled nearby the shore but I had a choice of generous avenues from which to chose.  As the day progressed these avenues narrowed as more and more people arrived to set up camp.  The first to arrive next to me was a youngish good looking woman who was speaking volubly via FaceTime on speaker phone with a friend from Charleston which, judging by her accent, I assessed to be the place in South Carolina (not West Virginia). It took me a while to figure out that Gabby was her dog – whose society she distinctly missed and for whom her concern was unending. The woman was subsequently joined by a gentleman who appeared to be the male equivalent of the woman – that is, they both resembled those muscle builders who compete by adopting preposterous and sudden poses usually in front of an audience and cameras.  Both were noticeably well-developed, large bosoms and extraordinary calves.  He sadly reminded me of Popeye the Sailor, tiny waist, massive expanded chest – so contorted overall that the physique hindered his walking with a normal gait.

On the other side of me was an elderly woman elegantly covered in silk. She oddly sat looking into an umbrella which was propped on the beach at the shore between her and the sun.  Hence she was looking into a virtual cloud.  She spent the entire time speaking into her iPhone with papers assembled in front of her upon her knees.  I imagined that she was a writer, dictating a composition. It bothered me that she was so blatantly concealing herself from seeing anything around her – especially the lovely green water of the sea and the dome of blue with shimmering sunshine above. Patently not everyone is as committed as I to Sol.

Apart from those conversations and the ones behind me from young couples – all of which afforded me the semblance and privilege of being involved in a social gathering – I occasionally picked up sputtering words from the children in the sea and the pedestrians walking along the shore to fulfill their constitutional necessity. There were several others like I who were reclining in solitude on the beach. We all enjoyed an unwritten unanimity and authority of congregation and purpose.  My developing tan did however record my unparalleled indolence with which the recent interlopers could not hope to compete.  They probably dismissed me as an old fogey, a dried and burnished piece of seaweed on the beach. I care not!  Hemingway isn’t the only old man in the sea!

Around four o’clock many of us contemporaneously picked up our gear and headed off the beach to the showers along the boardwalk to wash our feet and sandals. There was a polite gathering of people to perform their respective duties, all of us waiting our turn at the showers. Then we vanished like gnats in various directions along the numerous stairways emanating from the central area. I presume some left by car; others walked; I collected my bike.