sandman

Sandman

March 8, 2021

Photo by Carol Madigan

   The forecast was a good one for someone like me heading for the beach. A ninety percent chance of rain meant an extended happy hour, and when the other ten percent unfolded, at least the beach sand would be wet and firm for walking.

   For me, sand is a dust storm without the wind. It is also a phobia that borders on the clinical. The thought of it getting inside my shoes gives me the creeps, and if it gets anywhere else, I might as well be on fire. The contortions I will go through to go from outside to inside without bringing even a single grain of sand into the inside could qualify as an Olympic event.

   As much as I enjoy children at play, it’s unbearable to watch them at play on the beach. It’s as if they are actually willing the sand to get on every inch of their skin, into every crevice and cavity in their body and between every strand of their hair. I watch their parents with a mind filled with schadenfreude, as I imagine them, vainly trying to shake the sand off the little urchins before allowing them back inside their beach cottages and failing miserably. I think of the grit on the floor, the furniture, the fixtures, the bathroom and in the beds between the sheets! And I shudder.

The ultimate Rob Zombie horror thriller for me would be of a man inside a beach house where dozens of four year olds are constantly running in and out all day and night. House of Ten Thousand Grains of Sand would be one of my all-time cult classics.

   I can walk around all day (all week for that matter) with food stains down the front of my shirt and remain obliviously happy with myself. When I’m dealing with flour in the kitchen, it will wind up covering me and the kitchen up one side and down the other, and even Carol notes my utmost joy. But coming home from the beach, and all my thoughts are on what quarantine measures I will have to invoke to keep any sand from getting into the house.

   The ultimate Rob Zombie horror thriller for me would be of a man inside a beach house where dozens of four year olds are constantly running in and out all day and night. House of Ten Thousand Grains of Sand would be one of my all-time cult classics. I know I’d never be able to get into bed after watching.

   Yet I do like the idea of the beach. I get the sense of freedom, of just letting go and hanging out, the ocean breezes, the rolling surf, the enduring ebb and flow of tides, the scent of the sea mixed with that of the funnel cake stand. All of that… but all from a secure distance and separated by the sand-free immutability of concrete and asphalt. An oceanfront high-rise with a balcony overlooking the ocean and beach, and with the elevators out-of-service, so there’d be no way of accessing the beach, would be a dream vacation.

   Unfortunately, the weather cleared beautifully the next morning of our beach getaway, and Carol and I went for our prescribed “walk on the beach.” After just a few minutes of our stroll, Carol stopped and asked how far out did I want to walk.

   “Here,” I replied, eyeing little clumps of wet sand already working their way up my shoes.

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