The Ocean Played Me

The Beach had already fallen into the category of love/hate before this incident so…

Hate: the schlep, the blinding sun, non-stop block application, threat of jellyfish, stepping on sharp sea things, parading around nearly nudie, boiling hot sand on my feet, sand in Diet Coke, sand in my US Weekly, sand in my ears, sand whipping back in my face as I shake out my blanket and post-swim-icky-seaweed-tight-skin-feeling.

Love: jumping around in mid-size waves, peeing freely in large body of water.

I was at the beach with my friend Patrizia last week. We braved the chilly waters and ran into the ocean with abandon. A small group of pre-teens were squealing as they got knocked about by the ocean but not us, we were grown. We ducked under the first biggie and made it out far enough to leap and ride any oncoming trouble. We frolicked around and delighted in the benefits of salt water on our skin for about a half hour.

Slightly water-logged, we marched out of the ocean. I was startled by the intense pull of the water and how dang far we were from our chairs. I’m blind as a dingbat without my glasses, which makes the ‘searing for two pieces of fabric’ trek in front of a stadium of strangers feel even more vulnerable. Did I suck my stomach in and therefore push out my boobs a touch?… Sure.

We finally make it back to our chairs, which were no joke a good 1/2 a city block away, and Patrizia looks and me and gasps softly. “Oh no, you have a goatee of dark sand on your chin. Oooo, you need to dip in the ocean and wash that off. That’s not a cute look.”

Awesome, that ocean played me. There’s no amount of swagger that’s gonna combat a good ol’ sand goatee. So I quickly ran back to the water, took one step in and got knocked right up in the air by a shallow wave. As the wave pulls back, it takes my bikini bottoms with it. My business couldn’t be more on the streets if I owned a Hot Dog Cart.

I was desperately trying to pull my suit up when whoosh! I took another hit. I’m flipped around and shoved face-first into the shore looking like a demented mermaid, limbs akimbo. I think I’m going to be able to gather my footing but… bam! – knocked down again. Before I can even get my head up, another wave crashes on top of me ripping one side of my suit down, right boob completely out. As I’m trying to stuff my parts back in, I get slapped down again, bottoms ’round my ankles. Jesus Christ. Now I’m simply holding my suit against my body as the ocean mocks me, flipping me further and further away from where I started. I scream out “Patrizia!” in desperation. I have some sort of awareness that I’m the only human in the water. The reason why the good people of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware are sunbathing and not taking a dip is that the tide is way too crazy. My body is boomeranged again and I see that I’m directly in front of the lifeguard stand. Why haven’t I registered as a priority on their to-do list?!

Somehow I manage to catapult my body out of the ocean and onto the sand. I’m gasping for breath when I hear the sound of laughter to my left. What appears to be a middle-aged couple is having a “good one” at my expense. As I walk past them, I hear them saying words to me like “rough out there” and “really gotcha”. On my second walk of shame back to the chairs, I started empathizing big time with people who have had horrible things happen to them in middle of the day, with people standing all about.

I get to Patrizia. Her mouth is ajar and she simply says, “What mine eyes have seen.” I frantically question why she didn’t come to save me and she says, “Because you were at the shore. You were drowning in all of four inches of water.”  “What about the lifeguard?” I screamed. She goes, “Wouldn’t you have been embarrassed if he just reached down an extended his hand?”

I don’t think that would have been the embarrassing part.

  • Katie Hausman

    I am so glad someone else out there knows what a prick the ocean can be! None of my friends understand why I don’t want to spend allll day at the beach. One reason is that my complexion is better suited for life underground than it is for a day on the beach (what’s up, spf 70!), but the main reason is that a bunch of years ago I got totally jacked up by a wave (much in the same fashion you described, including the boob exposure). It flipped me head over heals and threw me onto the beach, neck first. I’ve been seeing a chiropractor for almost four years and my neck is still not as it should be. So unless the ocean starts paying those bills, I think I’ll always hold a little grudge.

  • Ronni Lynn Gonzales Williams

    i live in Harwich (Cape Cod) i grew up here but moved away when i was 21 only to return more than 10yrs later having been landlocked the whole time i was gone. I LOVE the ocean, regardless of how many times something similar to your story has happened to me, its where i go when i am sad, happy, contemplating life etc. I wake 3 mornings a week at 4 am in the summer to walk less than 2 city blocks to my nearest jetty to sit and wait for the amazing sunrise. I love photography (right now trying to start a midlife career as i have had 4 back surgeries since 2003 that have left me unable to work at much of anything) I wish you had a better experience, maybe you should venture from Deleware to the Cape and i can show you a different side of the Atlantic that abused you so much that day. I feel for your embarrassment too because i was at a waterpark one time when my son was small and got a similar thrashing coming up gasping and bleeding all over the place only to find out ten min later as my worst injury (my artificial nails had been ripped frm my fingers) bled all over, waiting for first aid, that my left boob had been out for all to see the WHOLE TIME and nobody said a word!! UGH! the things we women have to go thru to have a smidgen of fun!

  • Kitty Robinson

    i honestly feel like i wrote those. you just spoke the words from my heart.

  • Jennie Williams

    Hahaha, Oh thank you so much for posting this! The waves are my biggest fears when I go to the ocean, which is why I’m not a big fan of the beach. That was hilarious though, no offense to your embarrassment, but I couldn’t stop laughing!

  • Deanna Dever

    the beach/ocean and i have a love/hate relationship too–great article (literally lol’d at work)! also love to see a fellow “Deanna”! haha

  • Miranda Eubanks

    Truly excellent writing. I’m sorry for the ocean harassing you but you really made a hilarious story out of it!

  • Anonymous

    Oh. My god. I can’t. I just can’t handle this. I’m sorry to be laughing so uncontrollably at your disaster.

    …still laughing.

    • Megan Younce

      Same! I’m tearing up. I’m so sorry for laughing so hard!

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