My sister and I engaged in some long-distance web cam beach bumming this week, although only one of us got any sun.
She was lounging on the lovely white sands of Long Beach Island in New Jersey, hoping I would be able to find her on one of the many web cams that poke their nosey lenses along its 18 miles, while I was snuggled in my nice and chilly 70-degree centrally air conditioned house in Olywa, some 3,000 miles away.
I could picture her with the sand between her toes, the salt air—nah, I couldn’t. I couldn’t find her on any of the beach cams anywhere on the island. All I could do was imagine what it felt like.
That was pretty easy to do. I’d spent hours on those beaches, hours tossing her daughter high into the air, watching her splash down into the water laughing excitedly. I’d spent hours watching my son and nephew boogie their boards over the obliging sands, and I’d gladly tasted the “original” salt water taffy again and again (and again) as required by law.
But now: now I am all about 68 degrees and dark, or 70 degrees and partly cloudy, or sugarless tasteless taffyless candy. Pardon my outside voice.
Because SHE gets to spend the summer lolling about the banks of Saranac Lake swilling down gin and tonics while her husband spins about in a power boat giving debutantes and their dates another thrill at water skiing until it’s time to head to Barnegat Light and a week of glistening at the Shore while I get to FESTER in a darkened, moss-riddled house, stumbling my way from room to room, grateful only that I do not SWEAT and thus suffer the consequences of an M.S. exacerbation.
Barnegat Light. How easily I used to climb your stairs. How casually I used to take the view from your top. Hah. No more. Farewell, my Barn. Gone are the days when I can climb your irregular rungs. Farewell, my friend.
Farewell, too, to the beaches, to the wide, sandy expanses of sandy sand. What a challenge you always presented, trying to walk in the shade created by other footprints, the only small pockets of coolness to be found in your vast expanse. Without their small respites, it was one bit of hot pocket after another until the relief of the tideline, where, inevitably, the jagged edge of a clamshell would await me.
Ah, but if it’s farewell to the beaches, it’s farewell to the sandy shoes, and who could ever miss the sandy shoes? Who could miss having to take off and empty again and again a shoe that does not, no, it does not contain a grain of sand, no matter how much it feels like it does? It is only my absurdly sensitive feet, can I not get used to that? Yes, they had sand in them when I left the beach, and yes, maybe they did the first time I emptied them after that, but after that they didn’t, and no, we will not stop the car again so I can empty them again, no matter what I say.
And farewell to that $%%@ saltwater taffy, that stuff I’ve been eating since I was 8 years old, that stuff that comes in a collectible fake barrel that used to be made of papier-mâché (but now are cheap plastic; my mother always cautions me to be sure to hold on to my papier-mâché ones) and about a zillion flavors. I’ve always been partial to the licorice and clove and cinnamon flavors, the flavors no one else likes (clever of me, eh?) but what with this stroke-induced diabetes any flavor is forbidden except of course their stinko normal sugar-free flavors. Why bother?
And yes, farewell to my sister, wasting her time on the beaches….no, wait….there she is! I see her! Next to the lifeguard! In the red chair! Hi Cindy! Wave to me! Wave to me! Wait! I’ll call you on your cell! Wait!
Ah, vicarious living is great! Hmm. Maybe I’ll start a magazine: Vicarious Living Today.