Sunday, July 20, 2014

Life and the Beach

A beach, I think, is a pretty good allegory for life. I find it especially true for the crowded beach of an all-inclusive resort.

Let me tell you why.

You come there for a week, ten days, or, if you’re lucky, two weeks. You lie in the sun, you bathe in the sea, you participate in the activities, you drink your mojitos and your daiquiris.

Sometimes, something mildly exciting happens. The people on the banana-boat got overturned again. Look at them, they can’t get back on. A photographer parades with a huge yellow snake or with a cute monkey. Not both of them at the same time. A man and a woman with beautiful athletic bodies, their skin ebony, wearing tribal attire, pose -he with women and she with men- perhaps for the same photographer.

Sometimes you might even get noticed. If you’re too fat, too skinny, too beautiful, too ugly, topless or wearing the loud neon-green bathing suit that doesn’t hide anything. Most of the time you observe the scene from underneath your umbrella. You might play a game or two of volleyball or take the salsa lessons given right there on the sand by an impossibly flexible guy from the animation team. You might build a sand castle. Others have certainly built nicer sand castles than yours, but you’re proud of yours anyway. You might even think it will last.

And then, it’s time to leave. You thought it was going to last forever but it’s really time to leave. And you’re gone.

Somebody might remember you for a while, for instance the people who occupied the umbrella next to yours, just because you were always there if nothing else. The same way you remember the teenager looking like Heckle (or Jeckle) the cartoon magpies, or the trail of Dolce & Gabbana “Light Blue” always following the woman whose face you’ve never actually seen, or the guy with the tiny boom box at his waist (the same guy with the neon bathing suit!) or the guy miraculously carrying five plastic cups of beer in each hand plus one in his mouth. But then those people leave too and there’s nobody there to have even seen you let alone known you. New people come to the beach, build their sand castles and then they leave, and so on.
The beach is always there. People come and go.

I guess that’s the beach. And that’s life.

So I suppose what I mean is that it’s nice to enjoy it while you’re there. Dance your dances, drink your drinks, and don’t worry too much about your sand castles.

This is me, drawn by my youngest daughter in sand.