My experience at the beach can pretty much be summed up by an experience from my college years.
I was home on Long Island, back from my first year at ASU. One weekend my buddy Mike, his friend Jen, and I all went to the beach. We parked the car, grabbed our stuff, and headed out to the sand.
After finding a spot and dropping our things Jen and Mike stripped down to their bathing suits and jogged merrily down to the water.
I on the other hand, took off my shirt and immediately got a nosebleed.
It wasn’t like a little one either; it was like what happens when one catches a football with their face.
I started to panic. I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to track down a tissue at the beach, but trust me, they are in short supply.
The awkward thing about getting a nosebleed at the beach is there is just nothing to stop it. What are you going to use… sand?
Mike: Hey Rich why are you laying face down in the sand?
Rich: Oh nothing, just a nose bleed, I think this is how they stop oil spills. I’ll be fine.
No, you can’t do that. And of course there is nobody around, I am bleeding all over my hand and the only thing I have to stop the bleeding is the shirt I just took off.
It was either use my shirt or just go bleed in the ocean. So naturally I chose to use the shirt.
Imagine my friends’ confusion when they came back from the ocean to find me with a tank top in my nose and blood on my hands.
It doesn’t get more embarrassing than that. I mean I hadn’t even been there 10 minutes! And I had JUST gotten my shirt off, which is quite the event itself. My body being so pale and reflective it requires sunglasses just to witness.
Much later on, Mike told me about a conversation he had with his friend Jen and my name came up.
Mike: Do you remember my friend Richy?
Jen: Is that the kid who almost died when we went to the beach.
Pretty much. I mean I might as well title my memoir that
The Kid Who Almost Died When We Went to the Beach: The Rich Boehmcke Story.
And even though I sometimes spontaneously bleed there, I do love the beach. But for many reasons, the beach doesn’t so much love me. Typically a lot of awful things aside from nosebleeds have happened to me at the beach. Granted this is because I have done a fair bit of travelling by myself. So I am usually at the beach on my own with nobody to look out for me.
Going in the water by yourself is a stressful situation. I remember my time in Australia when I finally got up the courage to leave my stuff on the beach and just go swimming by myself, only to see this sign when I emerged from the ocean:
My body was built for many things: sitting on a couch, reaching for high up objects, making really dramatic awkward movements, but the beach? No, this vessel I have is not necessarily beach ready.
Those of you who have seen me in person (and once again, my apologies) know that my skin is not really a durable looking kind of skin. I am pale. While my mother is of Italian decent, my father’s Irish German lineage beat out my mother’s genes when it came to whose skin I would get.
While “lily white” is a beautiful color, it isn’t exactly a good color for skin. And it certainly isn’t a sun proof kind of color. It is the main reason that from the ages of 6 up until recently I always wore SPF 45 when I went to the beach. And not just SPF 45, a very specific brand called Water Babies.
It is a fine product that works well but you just get to a certain age and you just look to avoid using products that have pictures of half naked children on them.
So if I am going to go to the beach I need to make sure I have plenty of sun block on hand. I reapply many times, and make sure to hit all exposed areas.
Though if I am by myself, the issue usually arises about what to do about my back. If I apply it to myself, I usually miss a rather large spot in the middle of my back, which I don’t know about until somebody points it out to me later on.
This became very obvious to me in Chile last year.
It would be beneficial if somebody could invent some sort of back scratcher/sun tan lotion applier. This way I could go to the beach alone and actually enjoy myself. Half the time I am just standing 2 feet into the ocean praying I don’t get burnt and staring at my blanket hoping somebody doesn’t steal my stuff.
But Miami should be different because I will be there with friends.
Well, not really friends, more like 100 strangers I have JUST met, but hey, same thing.
This fancy hotel I am staying at will perhaps have some sort of sun block applier. I sure hope so anyway because my goal to show up tan has failed.
In fact at this point I have really lowered my hopes for all the things I wanted to be before I showed up in Miami. I realize I won’t be buff. There is a good chance I will be ostracized for my clothes. And as for tan? Like I said, I’ve given up any hope of that.
Now my goal for when I show up to the beach is just not to look like Gollum.
Stranger: Hey Rich why is your nose bleeding?
Rich: THE PRECIOUS!
But that all remains to be seen when I finally put my feet in that Miami sand, which hopefully, I will not need to use as clotting material.
The End. (Kind of, I’m sure there will be a recap.)