Life’s a beach, and then…


Einstein’s down on the beach staring into the sand
Cause everything he believes in is shattered
What you fear in the night in the day comes to call anyway-ay
We all get burned as one more sun comes sliding down the sky

My folks came out to Boston-land this weekend; dragged me out to Cape Cod and kind of spoiled me for a while. It was good fun mostly – a bit of sightseeing in this place I live in but never really find the time / inclination to go exploring by myself, and even the simple joy of a small stream so saturated with fish at one spot (trying to make their way up a fast-moving fish ladder) that a person could almost walk across it on their backs.

* * *

Night had fallen, and the folks were cooped up in their room watching TV. I couldn’t be there any longer, I was crawling-out-of-my-skin restless; I went for a long walk on the beach. More specifically, I started walking and wondered what would happen if I didn’t stop. But I did stop, at the occasional breakwater, standing atop a row of rocks extending out into the ocean, not caring if at any moment a wave on the far end of the bell curve would soak my shoes. At the moment there wasn’t much I cared about indeed. Just stood and looked at the half-moon and the ocean fog around me, dense enough that I could almost, but not quite, pretend that the rest of humanity didn’t exist. Eventually I ran into a canal of some sort and had to stop because there was no more beach, and if it went all the way through to the other side, I’d end up walking all the way around the end of the Cape and back to where I started, but not until far later than the next morning.

The beach at night was void of life except for a handful of couples in love, a couple drunken revelers, some kind of little jumping bug, and a pair of crabs. The crabs were both in various states of near-death, missing eyes, missing legs; thoroughly exhausted, possibly as the result of a fight and/or copulation; with some primitive creatures one can sometimes hardly tell the difference. I gave up on the crabs and kept walking… I had a lot to occupy my mind; a lot that I thought I would be over by now – or at least not grinding on so much; a long-term, low-level grind. Sometimes I do wish I could just break down completely, and at least get it over with*.

* * *

Just recently I was talking to an older woman who confided in me “I need a man.” Her specifications were, basically, someone to massage sore shoulders, fix things around the house, handle the financial fiddlybits, take the car in when it needed service, check tire pressure, etc. (“Hell, I could do that“, I almost said, but didn’t want to get five across the face.) Due to the non-in-depth nature of this talk I must assume these were not the only specifications; there are usually all those unspoken tall-dark-handsome-brilliant-but-not-crazy-fascinating-talkative-romantic-funny-knight-in-shining-armor qualifications that conspire to keep guys like me single. But it did get me thinking, as things always do. (Oh, to have a brain with an off switch**.) For my biggest worry to be caring for an internal combustion engine would be a refreshing change.

* but I kind of believe nothing is ever really “over with”; it may roll off, e^(-t), until it sinks beneath the noise floor of consciousness, lying effectively out-of-mind until randomly retriggered by a particular unique smell, or a song on the radio, or some obscure association. But that’s not exactly the same as nonexistence.

** looking around, most people seem to have this, with the switch permanently stuck at “off”. I don’t envy that. But to stop thinking once in a while would be nice.

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