I get it now…

I love the ocean. Love, love, love it. My ideal location for a home would be on the beach. Although I technically live on an island, oceanfront-living is er… somewhat out of the question in NYC. So, I love our little beach vacations.

But one of the things I’ve never really understood was lying on the beach, under an umbrella1. Isn’t it boring? Don’t you get hot? Wouldn’t it be more comfortable to lie on the balcony of your room perhaps? Don’t you feel totally decadent lying there – getting up only to apply more sunblock, or langorously pick up a drink or pop a snack into your mouth?

With all these questions flashing through my brain, I decided that before I judged what was heretofore a purely foreign concept, I should try it. So I packed up my bag with my book, sunblock, camera, wallet, iPod and sunglasses. I donned the requisite bathing suit and definitely requisite wrap, stylish hat and comfy flipflops and sashayed (I hope I sashayed!) over to the beach.

The perfect white umbrella was setup and I ordered the mandatory drink with mandatory umbrella and I settled down. Hmm… this was not so bad. The view was spectacular – wow! (for actual view see picture below) And the people-watching was quite fun too. Oh, couple frolicking at 11 o’clock. Father with cutie baby splashing about at 2 o’clock. Kayakers milling about at 1:30 o’clock (wait – I can’t say that, can I?)

Drink arrives. Enough looking around like an inexperienced newbie! I have to look the part – quick peek around at everyone else. Yes, they are all ensconced in their books. I too must do the same. Sip the drink, take out book. Sip the drink, read book (loop endlessesly). This was quite a lot of fun. The coconut tree branches make the most wonderfully soothing rustling noise in the wind. There are moments where there is no breeze and I start to feel a touch hot, but right on queue, the wind kicks up again. Perfect for a little nap.

The hours pass quickly. A late afternoon snack is consumed while continuing to recline. Little surprises are delivered just when you want them – a cold towel to wrap around a hot neck, a piece of melon to munch on. Equilibrium is maintained All is well with the world. And right around 5:30, the wind picks up, the warmth of the sun diminishes and I get ready to go back to my room having accomplished my mission.

All it took was one afternoon to make me a convert for life. I totally get what this is about. It is about nothing. Absolutely nothing. Deliciously spending an afternoon doing nothing. No stress, no to-dos, no walking, no talking, no heavyduty thinking. The only sounds you hear are the waves and the leaves. The only sights you see are the open water, the trees and out in the water, people being happy. What could be as relaxing? A massage, probably, but this is right up there with a great massage. And it lasts a lot longer and costs a whole lot less. What a novel concept.

I loved it. I am sold. I want to part of this club. I promise I will do my best to graduate to a full day the next time around. Ooh, just the thought of that sounds delicious! I can’t wait…

My view


  1. As an aside, if you actually spend all vacation lying under an umbrella, you may wonder why I go on beach-oriented vacations if I don’t lie on the beach. Well, the thing is that looking at the beach is wonderful too. And so is just being in warm, wonderful weather, eating yummy food, etc. etc. 

  • Cheers from our beach vacation on the north shore of Hawaii.

    I’m not a huge fan of the heat or the outdoor tedium either…the way to make the beach fun is to bring along a few rounds of beer and a novel. And to keep your trip down to 2-3 hours max.

  • Abi

    Looks like what you *really* needed was the tedium. You don’t need the beach when you can get a lot of it — and more! — on the web. I recommend some of the sites mentioned in this piece. Alexandra Topping has done all the research so we don’t have to!

  • libertarian

    Hmmm … I suddenly *detest* working :-). “Office Space” captures the thought perfectly. In response to “what did you do yesterday?”, the lead guy says, “I did NOTHING. And it was everything I dreamed it would be!”.

  • eispy30

    What would be perfect is a massage on the beach. šŸ™‚

  • Sorry to inform, I am compelled to take you off my blogroll, lest the jealousy consumes me and I do something rash.

    grrr

  • Shripriya

    @ Jeffrey – Hope you are having a fabulous vacation too! Your advice sounds about right…

    @ Abi – Very interesting article. Yes, maybe what I desperately needed was to just turn off completely. I have to say though, the beach is much more pleasurable than watching that chunk of cheese! šŸ™‚

    @ Libertarian – I remember that line – fabulous. And I feel as relaxed as he looked in that scene.

    @ Ei – Ah, massage on the beach – perfection defined. I wonder if I could have gotten them to erect some sort of screen so that I could have done that. Too late… but an idea for next time…

    @ TGFI – Sorry! Even when on the beach, my thoughts are with you, wishing you luck on your thesis…

  • How nice. I love the ocean too, and am planning my own beach side vacation.