I spent the weekend at the beach with my husband.
We trudged two tons of stuff from the car to the sand, spread out the towel, planted the umbrella, opened the chairs, sprayed on sunscreen and I opened my romance novel.
The perfect day. For about 5 minutes. I love to read, but my husband does not find any enjoyment in it.
“You want to go in the ocean?” husband asked.
I peered over my sunglasses. “No thanks.”
You want to take a walk?
I marked my place with my finger, peered over my glasses and shook my head. “No thanks. I’m good.”
He sighed. Heavily. “I’m bored.”
Without looking up I said, “Well, you can go into the water. Feel free.”
And then he said something that has perplexed me for days. “Why do you bother to go to the beach, if you just want to read? You could do that at home.”
“But I like to read.”
He repeated, slowly…”You could read at home. And we wouldn’t have to lug all this stuff. Look around. What is everyone doing here? No one’s in the water.”
I was ready to snap out a snarky response, when I looked around…and everyone had their faces buried in paperbacks, tablets or magazines. Still as statues, hiding under umbrellas, coated in sunscreen, totally clueless as to their surroundings.
Why WERE they there? Really. Most people never touch the water. They cower from the sun’s dangerous rays. They don’t talk to anyone, except when unloading or packing up their gear. And they read.
A few adults, usually ones with children, will head out into the waves to cool off or perhaps body surf. Others will help build sand castles. Or toss around a ball of some sort. But the vast majority strive to ignore everything more than a foot and a half from their face.
Is the beach just a giant babysitter, allowing parents some well-earned hours of quiet, while their kids burn off energy? Do we as humans have a natural pull toward water? Or is it a learned behavior–summer equals beach reading?
When I was younger and sun worshipping was still a thing, we would read, slathered in baby oil, while baking our skin to a golden brown (or in reality a prickly, painful crimson). Reading was a device to pass the time.
Now that the sun is a cancerous cur, why do we continue to foster this love/hate relationship with it?
I don’t have any answers…and I’m not going to stop reading at the beach. But I will take a break every so often and wade into the water. Isn’t that why we’re there?
Remember to order Dare to Love, an historical romance by Alleigh Burrows. It’s a perfect beach read. :0)