I just returned from an overnight at the New Jersey Shore, one of my favorite getaway destinations. I have written about the shore previously here. It is a short drive from where we live, but I always feel I have traveled so far away when we go. The weather was perfect and we settled ourselves on the beach leaving plenty of room between us and the other people already situated in their spots. I could hear my father’s words in my head, from when we spent summers at Jones Beach on Long Island and someone would encroach on his “space.” He would be grumbling under his breath about beach etiquette and leaving a respectable distance between spots. There was plenty of beach so walk a little further and leave enough room. We set up the umbrella, chairs, blankets, bags, with a beautiful view of the ocean. 5 minutes later a family of 5 planted themselves not one foot from us and set up not the commonly used low beach chairs, but rather the kind used when attending an outdoor concert, sitting at full height. There went the view. My husband and I looked at each other, pulled the umbrella from the sand and moved back a little further to a spot where we could see the ocean unobstructed. Resettled, I got down to the business of drinking my iced coffee, looking at the ocean, listening to the crash of the waves on the shore. It lasted 10 minutes. Now a group of young women took up residence in front of us, and I became privy to their ongoing conversations. Again my father’s voice coming through loud and clear in my head, about how the wind carries your voice so keep it down so as not to bother those around you. I figured I’d embrace what I could not change and listen in, (not that I had a choice) maybe there would be something interesting to follow. No zoom lens needed for these shots.
One young woman was regaling the others with tales of her dating, retelling how she told a guy she is loud and that’s just who she is. I have to admit I laughed to myself at her honesty and her laughing at herself as she told the story. The conversations moved on to overeating, the need for more suntan lotion and what the plan was for the evening. Eventually the sound of the waves seemed to overtake their conversation, as it faded into the background, allowing me to once again think about my iced coffee, the beauty of the waves and how happy I was to be there.