Sand Burns More Than Sunburn

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
My last day at the beach taught me that walking on hot coals is a breeze.

Submitted: July 07, 2010

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Submitted: July 07, 2010

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Last week, my husband announced he needed a break.  Since I need little -- if any -- encouragement to play hooky from work, I decided to exploit his weakened mental state and encourage him to think “Beach”.  Okay, my mind had a week in the Caribbean planned, but his mind was veering toward a day at the Jersey Shore. Since it was his emotional needs we were trying to meet, I agreed to a fun-filled day at Ocean City.

This was fine with me because I love the Jersey shore.  I love lying on the beach with a good book. I love riding the waves and burying my feet in the warm comforting sand.  However on the day we went on our little excursion, it was 100+ degrees at the shore.  I have to say that I did not bury my feet in the sand because walking on the sand was nothing short of torture. I cannot imagine that walking on hot coals or being stuck with a branding iron could have been any more painful.  Luckily, we had our umbrella so we were able to get most of our body parts out of the sun and off the sand for the majority of our time on the beach. 

We were not the only people having problems with the sand.  About an hour into our beach escape, I started to see people running into the water. I am not talking kids frolicking in the surf or young couples playfully jogging to the water’s edge. I am talking out-and-out sprinting. People of all shapes and sizes were running like track and field Olympians trying to get to the water before their toes burned off.  People, who would normally get out of breath rolling out of bed, were flying through the air to get to the surf.  I am not sure but I think I even saw an old lady stow her oxygen tank under her arm and dart to the water. I could literally see steam rise in the air when these boiling bodies collided with the cool ocean temperatures. 

So, not to be left out, my husband and I joined the mass run to the water. I tried to make my way out past the breakers, but it was hard as the water was so crowded with people.  I turned and looked toward the beach and except for the lifeguards and a few dehydrated souls, there was no one left on the sand. It was like that History Channel show, Life after People. There was no trace of human beings. There were only deserted umbrellas, beach chairs, towels and blankets. 
 
Unlike the TV show, there was no mystery as to where the people had gone. They were all within an arm’s distance of me in the ocean.  Two thoughts then ran through my mind. The first was, “God, I wonder how many of these people are going to pee in the water,”and second, “Many of these people would make a great smorgasbord for the sharks from the Gulf region who have had to travel to find a better food supply.”

As I contemplated both these thoughts, I started to size up the people in the water beside me: If I were a shark, who would I want to eat?  I studied the many bathers, and I distanced myself from those who looked like they would provide a hungry shark a hearty meal.

As it turned out, there were no sharks; however, I can’t say the same about the whole peeing thing.  And since I contemplated that idea way too much, I had to get out of the water before I threw up.  So, I left my husband with instructions to keep an eye out for fins, and to stay near the skinny people just in case. I then made a brave dash to my blanket.  I never knew I could still run so fast. I was on fire – literally.  It was like running an obstacle course. I was seeing two moves ahead of me as I darted in between blankets and beach chairs. I hurdled coolers and sand toys.  Yes, I made it to my umbrella with only a few second degree burns on my feet. It was a moment of triumph if I do say so myself.

As I sat down on my blanket, I started to see other people emerge from the water. They must have thought about the peeing thing too.  Most ran with the same sense of purpose as I did, but only a few could handle the crippling heat of the sand.  Two women whose blankets were further up the beach than mine plopped under my umbrella and asked for temporary sanctuary.  How could I refuse?  Their feet needed a few moments to cool off before they could face the scorching elements again.  I gave them water and comfort and before they left, I wished them Godspeed.  Luckily both women made it. I know this because I saw them as a blur as my husband and I dashed to the boardwalk when it was time to get lunch. 

I heard them yell, “Good luck, you can do it!” as I tried to sprint while wearing my cheap Old Navy flip flops.  I have to admit that even the best runners can’t run in flip flops. So, I screamed in agony as I forced myself to go the last ten yards to the boardwalk steps.  I turned around to make sure my husband was okay, and he was walking without a care. Why? He had on his leather Topsiders which do not allow feet to get burnt. He was so sure of himself, and I had so many blisters and I had to listen to him lecture about why one should not wear flip flops to the beach.  When he was done, he got to hear me lecture about how smug people get to go back to the Saharan hell and get all our beach crap because the only place I was going was to the air conditioned car to cool off my burnt feet! 

What’s the lesson here?  Burnt feet do not a nice wife make and next year, I may put in a pool.


© Copyright 2020 Donna Cavanagh. All rights reserved.

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