It’s summer! (Well, kind of.) Hooray! Time to enjoy all the wonderful things that June, July, and August have to offer, like delicious in-season fruit, finally letting your arms and legs see the light of day, and super-fun trips to the beach!
Let’s talk about those trips to the beach for a moment, shall we? Now, since not everyone is lucky enough to have a nice private alcove of undisturbed sand and shore where no other human being will set foot, the rest of us will spend our surf and sand time at a public beach. Beaches are great! They have parking and bathrooms and snack bars and lifeguards and all sorts of useful things. What do they also have? Assholes. Lots and lots of assholes.
I’ve composed a short but comprehensive list of things to avoid and ways to prevent your fellow beach-goers from wanting to kill you and hide your body in the ocean:
- No one wants to hear your music. You brought a BOOM BOX? SERIOUSLY? For fuck’s sake, iPods and MP3 players exist. They’re pretty cheap. Pop those earbuds in, and listen to all the easy listening or Top 40 you want. I cannot be held responsible for my actions if I hear your shitty-ass Nickleback crap assaulting my sense of hearing and, quite frankly, my sense of good taste.
- If you think you really need to bring footballs, kites, those Velcro sticky catch games – really, projectiles of any sort to the beach – keep them away from other people. I cannot stress that enough. It’s not funny if your ball lands directly in front of me, blasting sand into my face and somehow obligating me to give you “a little help” by throwing it back. It invades my space, you lose it. The end.
- Teach your kids to walk without kicking sand on people. Hell, give yourself a refresher course while you’re at it. It’s pretty easy.
- Guy with the guitar? Get the hell off my beach.
- In general, I’m not really a kid person. We’ll just get that out of the way. At the beach, though, whatever. They’re kids. It’s a beach. No big deal as long as they aren’t kicking sand or throwing things at me. I’ll never fully grasp the sheer volume of shit people need to haul with them for a few hours at the beach with kids, but if you’re cool with playing pack mule, no skin off my back. However. For some reason, I seem to know that your kid’s name is Hunter. (It’s seemingly always Hunter.) I know this because you’re yelling his goddamned name every five seconds. “Hunter, stay where Mommy can see you.” “Hunter, don’t touch that.” “Hunter, leave the birdie alone.” “Hunter, stay still while I put sunblock on you.” I guarantee you, Hunter is not having any fun, and neither are the people around you. Which leads me to:
- Beach acoustics are funny. Meaning, you can hear EVERYTHING. I can hear your dumb-ass cell phone conversation with Jack about the new what’s-it-called that’s going live and the guy from Who Cares, Inc. hasn’t gotten back to you with the figures and blah blah OH, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SHUT UP. I can hear you yelling at your kids. I can hear you talking shit about that guy with the mullet and the camo shirt with the sleeves ripped off. I CAN HEAR YOUR SHITTY NICKLEBACK. There is no privacy on the beach. You have no right to get offended when I start my own MST3K-style commentary on your conversation.
- Don’t feed the seagulls. What are you, new? You feed them, they never go away.
- Beach umbrellas need to be pounded into the sand. See all those people with mallets or heavy shoes or rocks? Yeah, they’re stabilizing their umbrellas. Half-assedly jamming it into the ground and thinking that piling a little mound of sand around it is going to work only results in your umbrella flying away at the first breeze and impaling the person sitting behind you.
- Crossing your arms conspicuously across your chest as you emerge from the water and make your way back to your towel draws about fifty billion times more attention than whatever situation you’ve got going on that you’re trying to hide. No one is fooled.
- Personal space is important. I don’t know why people feel the need to set up their makeshift tent cities directly on top of other people when there’s still plenty of available beach, but as a social courtesy, please assume a five foot no-fly radius around people unless the beach is too crowded otherwise to avoid it.
(A slightly more profane version of this post originally appeared on Nice Girls Don’t Swear.)