Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Back from the edge of the Earth

I headed to the beach with the roomies this past Thursday. Or ex-roomies, actually, now. Wolfgang, Little Joe, and I spent a long weekend in beautiful Destin, Florida. What trouble could possibly befall three hetero guys spending four days and three nights at the beach? Well, there were a few minor issues.

We stayed at a lovely beach house. I have nothing but good things to say about our upstairs studio with stove, microwave, full-size fridge, and swimming pool view. However, imagine trying to pick up a girl on the beach, and when she asks where you're staying, you're forced to reply with, Nantucket Rainbow Cottages.

One of the most pressing issues facing three hetero guys at the beach is how to get sunblock on those hard to reach places on your back. This is normally a great way to strike up a conversation with a bikini-clad hottie.

However, our first day on the beach, I determined that I have no idea how old girls are. Or guys for that matter. No idea.

To wit, there were two girls tanning next to us. I was about to ask one of the slender, bronze-skinned dames to gently and liberally apply lotion to my back. That's when a young boy who looked to be no older than 14 walked up and struck up a conversation with one of the girls. He asked how old she was. She was 16.

I decided at that point I would not trust my age-ometer the remainder of the weekend. However, that left me with a quandary as to what to do about my back. Although I wouldn't have minded Joe or Wolfgang rubbing me down, there was no way I was going to return the favor.

So we were left to our own devices. Which pretty much ended up with us all looking like we were trying to pull a "kick me" sign off our backs.

I did have a couple of ideas since, however. Such as putting the lotion on a butter knife, and spreading it on my back. Or squirting sunblock on the shower wall and then rubbing my back up and down it. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Something else I discovered on our trip. Little Joe and Wolfgang are two of the most indecisive human beings who have ever drawn a breath. I had to make every single decision, from where we stayed, to when we left, to which route we took, to where we ate, when we went to the beach, and what we did at night. Every. Single. Decision.

Not only that, but it was like they couldn't do anything or go anywhere unless I came along. We stayed up until 2:30 or so playing poker Thursday night. When I woke up Friday morning, around 9:30, they were both up and watching TV. (Joe apparently gets up with the roosters. Although I don't recall hearing any roosters at the beach, he was sitting outside on the balcony every single morning when I awoke.)

They were evidently waiting on me to get up so that we could all go to the beach. I told them at that point, and several times throughout the weekend, to feel free to go to the beach, or anywhere for that matter, without me. We all had room keys. We're already staying at the Rainbow Cottages. There's no need for us to hold each other's hand everywhere we go.

Still, they never went anywhere without me the entire weekend. Not that it bothered me. I found it quite humorous actually. It was kinda like Larry, Darryl, and Darryl go to the beach.

Except they talk. A lot. And sometimes argue like an old married couple. Little Joe put his shoes on Friday for no apparent reason. This conversation ensued.

"Are you going somewhere?"
"You're not going out?"
"Why are you putting your shoes on to sit in the room?"
"What does it matter?"
"I just find it odd."

And that became our phrase for the weekend. "What does it matter?" Most any discussion we had from then on would be ended when someone would say, "What does it matter?" Still, I found the shoe thing odd. Saturday, Joe took a shower, and came out of the bathroom wearing his shoes. Odd, I tell ya.

We did get to go to Fudpucker's for lunch Saturday and to the Donut Hole for breakfast Sunday. Two of my favorite places, as I was making all the decisions.

One other highlight from the weekend for me was bungee jumping. No, it wasn't off a bridge over a river like in a Mountain Dew commercial. It was in an amusement park type thing. But it was still high. And fun.

The worker at the top had a very strong foreign accent. As he handed me this thing that looked like a boxing heavy bag, except smaller and softer, I thought he said, "Hold on tight to this and just keep walking."

But at this point, I wanted to be sure I didn't misunderstand, you know. What if he had said, "Hold on tight, it isn't working." Or "The rope is broke. Don't start walking."

After he repeated himself, I started walking. And kept walking. Didn't look down. Just fell. All I could do was break into uncontrollable laughter, which lasted until my feet were on the ground. It was an amazing rush.

Whenever I go to the beach, I always like to do two things. I like to walk along the shore one last time my last day there. To impress into my brain and my memory the feel, the scent, the sights, and sounds. And I like to go at least one night and sit on the beach by myself.

I walked down to the ocean Saturday night about 12:30. Buried my feet in the sand. Someone was shooting off fireworks to the east. Close enough that I could see them, but far enough away not to interrupt the peacefulness of the ocean at night.

From somewhere in the darkness behind me, I could hear the sound of women's voices. From one of the hotels or beach houses, I supposed. There was lightning off to the west. But no thunder.

I sat there for at least half an hour. Only one couple passed by. Talking. Laughing. Holding hands. Then a bird, a crane maybe, landed about ten yards away and walked to the edge of the water. He seemed unbothered by me.

So there we sat. Him scanning the tide for food. Me looking up at the stars. Listening to the waves. Casting my cares to the wind. Thinking. About all the things I always think about when I'm at this place. The only other place in the world that feels like home.

The bird was still there when I left and went back to the room. Maybe it's there right now, looking for food again at the water's edge. And somewhere there's a couple strolling down the beach hand in hand. Maybe not the same couple. But another.

I always like to imagine the beach is just as I left it. As much as I hate to leave, it comforts me to know the waves are still crashing and the ocean breeze is still blowing. And will be. No matter how far away I am. Or how long I'm gone.

"I remember Sunday mornings, walkin' on the beach. And that place we'd stop for breakfast with the old red vinyl seats. The hours of the tide chart. The way the sunlight danced upon your face..."


  1. Bone, you crack me up. Mostly because we're so similar, minus the Y chromosome and all.

    I have no age-dar either. I'll be out with friends and they'll see me checking out some guy, and they'll be like "jailbait" and I'm like "nuh-uh" and they'll say "yup." I have no gay-dar either, but that's a whole other story.

    And just an fyi, next time you need lotion on your back, and no hot, age-appropriate girls around, try a spatula. There are definitely no hot, age-appropriate men at my pool (though some crochety ones would volunteer) so that's what I use.

    I'm glad you enjoyed your beach trip with your friends.

  2. You guys crack me up. You'd rather look goofy trying to get it on your backs and go through hoops and obviouly miss spots and get all splotchy rather than as for two minutes of another man touching you. I find this hilarious.

    I can't believe you bungee jumped! I would have been so scared! I've always wanted to do it but I'm too afraid. Eek!

    Sounds like you had a lot of fun. I'm not a big beach person. Probably because I didn't grow up near one. Sand gets everywhere. Not comfortable.

  3. I used to cry when we left the beach. I hate to leave it too. I love to spend mornings on the beach when it's peaceful. To me, it's the closest thing to heaven here on earth. The beach was a place for me and my dad too. So, it's extra special.

    And, I'm SHOCKED! You bungee jumped?? YOU?!?! I don't think I could do it.

    Did you get a t-shirt from Fudpuckers??? "You've never been pucked until you've been Fudpucked"?

    P.S. I'm always up early too, no matter when I went to bed. See, at the beach in the a.m. after the walk on the sand...that's prime drinking time!

  4. Carmen: It's sad, but the only way I can tell if a girl is of age sometimes is if she has a kid or is wearing a wedding ring.

    Spatula! Got it. I'll put it on my must-pack list for the next beach trip.

    Lass: I was re-thinking my decision walking up to the top. It definitely looks higher from the top than from the ground.

    My least favorite part is having to cover myself in sunblock before going out each time.

    Carnealian: That's one of the very thoughts I have sitting on the beach at night. I wonder if heaven is anything like this.

    Yep. I don't know what possessed me to do that. I guess I figured there aren't many more years that I would be able to do it without having a heart attack.

    No t-shirt from Fudpucker's. Just got a Destin t-shirt.

  5. Home Sweet Home! Not to misunderstand, I've never lived there, only agreeing with your comment about feeling like home. When I arrive at my beach home (hotel) I absolutely have to run down to the beach and stick my feet in the sand before I do any thing--even before I unpack the car. This is also a must before leaving.

    The beach is heaven on earth.

    I've always wondered how one could have a bad day if they were to wake up to the beautiful ocean view every morning. The beauty of it all seems powerful enough to rid you of

    As for the sunblock issue, I suggest that you NEVER let another man rub you down while on the beach--just doesn't look right. Perhaps next time you could have one of the guys rub you down 30 minutes before heading to the beach.

    I have been dying to go bungee jumping! I will be in Destin in August, so please let me know where you went to bungee jump.

  6. AHAHAHAH, the 'Rainbow' cottages............too funny! And the contortion stories to get sunscreen on your hetero backs were too funny! I never thought about how hard it might be for 3 guys to get sunscreen on. I did think the putting on the shower wall and rubbing against it was a pretty good idea though. Or, you all could have bit the bullet and put it on each other in the privacy of your cottage before going to the beach. :)


  7. Sounds like y'all had a great time. I've never been to Destin but that is the vacation spot for all the Louisvillians. I am glad to know that I am not the only one who has indecisive friends.....mine drive me crazy sometimes.

    Oh and on the shoe thing....too funny reminded me of my ex. Once I got all dolled up in my sexiest lingerie, garter belt, sexy stiletto heels etc.....he takes one look @ me and says "WOW you look great....but why are you wearing shoes?" LOL

  8. The anonymous post is me....LOL I dunno why it posted as anonymous.....oh well I'm still getting the hang of this blogger stuff, sorry. :-)

  9. "What do you want to do?"
    "I donna know, what do you want to do?"
    "I don't know, I asked you."

    That's not literal dialogue from the movie Marty--about the Bronx so every New Yorker has seen it

    We have eliminated all dialogue and just call ourselves the Marty's though he was a man and we're not

    They sell long handled things that you put lotion in the middle of--and it scratches your back at the same time

    Didn't mean to comment. Just came to look at something that I won't have on my site
    but it was so good....

    Truly great blogging Bone. Keep it up

  10. Ya'Know Bone, They do make an spray sunblock where no one actually has to touch you. Banana Boat I think. Even in a manly "sport" bottle that's like orange denoting a first aid application rather than "sunbathing". Just have your hetero friends spray your back. No rubbing required.

    The shoes thing. Maybe he went out the window to get some coffee at the grocery store to eat with his sandwich he had in his pocket while cheating on an IQ test.

  11. Liz: I agree with all you said about the beach.

    We discussed rubbing each other down in the room. But even then, when it came time to roll up our sleeves and do it, we couldn't.

    This is where I jumped.

    Circe: Exactly. "Well, hi there. You girls want to come back to my room later? I'm staying at the lovely rainbow cottages with my two male friends here."

    Would be even funnier if said while one of the guys was rubbing lotion on my back.

    RedneckGirl: LOL He really asked that? Was he serious? I would have no problem with shoes in that situation.

    Pia: Ah, checking your TTLB, were ya? So that's why I have so many hits from your site. You're not reading my posts, you're just checking to make sure you're still a large mammal.

    Dorothy: Someone mentioned that to me when I relayed this story to them. I'll definitely have to check into the spray-on sunblock. And then be ready to hide it in a second's notice if an age-appropriate (Carmen's word) hottie should approach.

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  13. That how to get lotion on my back and still keep your pride conundrum was really funny, and man, I wish you asked that 16 year old to help you out, that would have made for a good read or jail time

    -- anyway, the cool thing to do would have been to pass on your "hey baby can you oil my back trick" to the fourteen year old. You know pass on the knowledge and all

    (Do you remember the actual hight for the bungee?)

  14. I sometimes put sunscreen on the outside of the bottle to reach my back. You could try this interesting invention, http://www.back-beauty.com/Sunscreen_App.html

  15. I'm the same about the ocean. Just dump me off and leave me there for a couple of weeks. I'd be fine wandering around the beach.
    There's always the danger when we go to Tofino(here in BC) that I won't return home with my family:)

    May be your friend didn't want to *catch* anything and that's why he wore his shoes?? I know I have issues with bare feet,or socks even in places where a lot of strangers have walked before me. Yep,its weird,lol!

    I'm glad you had a good time and WTG on the jump!! Wooot!

  16. Rolligun: Well, he turned out to be 18, according to him. And I left out the best part. He invited them back to his room. You'll never guess where he was staying... Nantucket Rainbow Cottages. I kid you not. She giggled when he said it. How could you not? Us 10th graders all have the same sense of humor.

    According to the website, the bungee is 65 feet.

    Melanie: Oh, sure. Thanks for that. It's only about five days too late ;-)

    Lael: I have heard of people wearing shoes in a locker room or public shower. I guess it could have been something like that.

  17. don't forget, we're goin labor day weekend too, so mark it on your calendar! Tons of fun will ensue i'm sure! good to hear that there isn't construction there, like we ran into at Gulf Shores last time. Nothing like getting woken up at 6:00 AM while on vacation by the sound of jackhammers!

    I think S&M are wanting to hit up Miami, but if we work hard, we can get them to stay local. Maybe. Then it will be just like old times, except with one baby already and a pregnant Melody.


  18. Bungee jumping is unnatural. It just goes against all laws of human nature to want to jump from a great height (same with skydiving).

    I've lived in Los Angeles for 15 years and I've been to the beach *maybe* 8 times (and the majority of those times have been bringing out-of-town guests to Venice and Santa Monica Beaches just to see the ocean). Besides parking being a nightmare, the ocean is dirty, I don't like sand and I don't like saltwater. Now, when I lived in Panama, the beaches (while still sporting the dreaded sand and saltwater combo) were pristine and the water was crystal clear so it was cool.

    Oh, wait! Are Wolfgang and Lil Joe the two guys who are rooming together while WG is getting a divorce? No wonder they bicker like an old married couple!!! :-)

    I'm glad that you had a good time, despite not being able to protect your back against the sun. :-)

  19. You could have just said "I'm staying at those cottages over there," and pointed in the general direction of them. That and make sure your married-couple-friends weren't bickering anywhere near you.

    About the 16 year old, it's getting more difficult to guess a girl/woman's age. I just gave up. If they look below 23, I just assume they are 15. :)

    You do the exact opposite of what I usually do. When staying at a friend's cabin I get up earlier than anyone else, go out to the edge of the dock, and plop my bare feet in the water. I like the calmness of morning rather than night. Something serene about that dew soaked air, and light sounds of animals waking.

    Glad to hear you had somewhat of a good time.

  20. I went to the beach with my boyfriend once. I had been to the beach many times before and only dreamed of the day when I could take my boyfriend, and be like the many couples I had seen on the beach. The time came and because I suck terribly, the night he wanted me to go on that walk on the beach that had been on my mind for years... I was severely sunburned and felt like I was going to die so I passed. I still hate myself for that to this day.

  21. Kyle: Sounds fun. Three men and a pregnant lady, and a baby. Wasn't that a movie?

    Xinh: Yep, WG and LJ were the roomies. WG finally moved out two or three weeks ago.

    I find the ocean at Destin to be clear and clean. Now Gulf Shores is sometimes another story.

    Big Man: From my point of view, 99% of the girls there were either under 18 or married with children. Maybe not, but after the "I'm 16" incident, I was taking no chances.

    Anonymous: Sounds like maybe you had sun poisoning. Hopefully your boyfriend understood and rubbed cool aloe over your entire body all night long.

  22. When my mom was in the hospital in Biloxi, my dad and I went to the beach there and the water was all brown and sludgy, yet it was less polluted than the LA Beaches are.
    And of course, my father, who is the whitest man in whitetown, got sunburned even though he was slathered with SPF 45.

  23. Xinh: Ugh. Sounds like going the river around here.