Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I heart November

On Saturday, I took my kids to the beach. We spent hours enjoying the sand and the sun, and gazing out over (although not submerging ourselves in) the crisp blue ocean.




November is the best. We still have these wicked hot days, but it’s too early in the winter for the poor bastards of the world to come back to thaw on the weekends. It’s our supersized summer, with the bonus of available parking at the beach.
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So I was camped out in my chair, toes dug in, a grin on my face. The kids were respecting mommy’s force field, digging ditches several yards away where they belonged. I had my book in hand but not yet open, just basking for a minute. An older man approached, and I accidentally caught his eye. He made a beeline for my force field and asked: “Are these your children?” I was quick to respond: “Yeah. Want one?” Oops, charming and engaging. This is not the GO AWAY, STRANGER! I DON’T LIKE PEOPLE! image I want to project to strange men on the beach.
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But then after talking about his grown children, blah blah, they’re great, he said: “I was actually looking for someone trustworthy to sit near because I brought my wallet.” And he waved his wallet around a little to prove it. I immediately suspected that I was on camera for a Dateline special on ethics or an Oprah exclusive with the Old Man Beach Murderer, so I took a closer look. White hair, USMC cap, slight yet solid build, carrying said wallet, a can of diet coke, and one of those upright folding lawn chairs that we had on the porch in the 70s. Harmless?
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Try as I might, I could not falter from emitting palpable good neighbor vibes, and he parked himself just a tad too close to ignore. So, I opened my book. He asked if I’d mind watching his stuff when he swam, I said no problemo. Just a few minutes later, he zoomed right over to my actual personal space and said: “guess I’ll get this over with!”
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huh? Murder time?
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But he had stuffed his wallet down into his shoe and made a little pile of everything else, and was ready to swim. He leaned over and said: “I really appreciate this, I’d like to pay you.” “Oh, don’t be silly!” I said. I mean come on, do people charge each other to watch their crap on the beach? He asked if I was sure. Duh. Then off he dove into the ocean. He had a good swim, then came back and moved his chair and pile back to the almost acceptable distance.
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It was an Interesting Exchange, and it also make me very much appreciate having this avenue in which to dither on about the Interesting Exchanges in my life! This opportunity is also a burden though, because whenever I become conscious of the Interestingness of any Exchange, I am compelled to illustrate it in photographs. And sometimes strangers do not enjoy being photographed! But if you pretend that you’re showing photos to your kids on your camera while holding it just so, you can snap away at your stranger until you get an acceptable shot. Behold, the beach man and the elbow of the woman he did NOT murder:
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I had two pieces of reading material that afternoon. My book to finish, and my new People Magazine. Don’t judge. My book was Run, by Ann Patchett. It’s a book about family and politics and race and life and death and honor and integrity. Apart from the first and last chapters, it takes place in a 24 hour period during a snow storm in Boston. During one scene, a character looks up at the window of a Harvard dorm and sees a handmade sign that says “Obama 2012”.
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There is an essay printed in the back of the novel in which the author explains that she actually saw this sign during her research for the novel, in 2004, “when the bright light of Barack Obama had just been shown to a national audience in the opening address of Chicago’s Democratic National Convention”. She was struck by the "visionary idealisim” of the foreword thinking person who had been driven to create and display this sign, which she guesses “was only meant to be a nod towards what was possible and probably very unlikely way off in the future.” The book went to press in the late summer of 2006 – Obama had decided to run. None of us, including Ann Patchett, had any idea how far he could take it. And on Saturday, November 8, 2008, I sat on the beach and read that essay, and then picked up my pop culture magazine emblazoned with the face of our new revolution, President Elect Barack Obama.
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It was a really great day. We stayed and stayed until the sun went down. My son wanted to try his hand at photography.
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Sometimes when you give a 9 year old a camera, you get magic
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But most of the time, you get .

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Later that evening, we walked up to our usual haunt for dinner, and ran into none other than the spawn of my lovely co-blogger!
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Let your freak flags fly, kiddos. The grown ups finally did something right for your future.
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6 comments:

Nancy said...

Amen to doing something right for our kids future's.

And the sun? Beach? Water?
:::sigh:::
Why DO I live in Michigan?

Me, You, or Ellie said...

This is so great, Jacquie! So very much going on. But I really wish you'd accepted a couple of bucks for your troubles....

I read "Run" a couple of years ago but did not notice that line. I love that. How prescient!

I love San Diego in November. October's nice too. May's not bad. Oh! And April! . . .

Ellie

Pickles and Dimes said...

What a great post! Love the photos, especially the sneaky one of the Not Murderer. :)

xup said...

Soooo...did you root through his wallet? Did you copy down his credit card number so you could buy stuff online? Did you memorize his driver's licence so you could steal his identity and sell it on e-Bay? I know, I know, but I had to ask...

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Nice one, Jacquie; I love November here too. It's a close third to October and September. We may not get lots of tree porn in the fall, but, to me, the sun and sand and sea MORE than make up for it. Especially when people are respecting (ahem, USMC man) your force field.

Trannyhead said...

I'm impressed by the surfer photo. It's totally hawt.

But because I'm weird like that I also like the deranged facial expression photos.