Sunday, October 14, 2012

Life's a beach

Not everyone loves the beach. We all do in theory and in pictures. What is more soothing, what gives a more powerful sense of longing, a sense that if only you could just be there the world would make sense, than a photograph of a pristine beach? In reality the beach is unpredictable, there might be miles of smelly seaweed, rough water, a jellyfish bloom. It is very sandy in reality, and that sand scrapes between your feet and your sandals as your walk home,  and more importantly those of your sensitive, whiny kids, meaning that they end up walking barefoot on the sidewalk and you endure glances from passers by who look at the barefooted children and assume lackadaisical parenting choices or extreme poverty. The sand gets in your car and your carpets, lugged home on rock collections and poorly shaken towels.

I don't mind though. I rather like that my house is covered in a thin layer of fine silver pacific beach and that occasionally I feel it gritting between my teeth. That my car has an aura of being perpetually on holiday, with damp towels in the trunk, sand on the carpets and shells in the cupholders, makes me smile as I drive errands and go work. I commute past the beach every day, even though it takes five minutes longer than the freeway option.

I've been here in San Diego for three months now. I still haven't sorted out any weekend enrichment activities for the kids. They need gymnastics classes and swimming lessons. I dream of piano and dance classes. But have yet to get further than a few stolen moments of googling such opportunities during my work day. Instead, when the weekend rolls around, we invariably just pack up some towels, some snacks, put on our favourite swimsuits and head down to the nearest shore. Guilt at my parental laziness aside, I would challenge anyone to argue that this isn't enriching for everyone.