Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Perfect Spot

Maybe the beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts isn’t considered a global escapade, but it has its cultural rituals to observe. The natives build temporary structures on the shore, each mapping out a territory. When choosing one’s territory, careful planning must be carried out. First one must find an empty piece of beach, suitable in size and smooth in texture. Nothing is worse than sitting on a piece of driftwood or pile of rotting seaweed. But size and texture are not the only criteria to be considered. Do the neighbors have, a. screaming children, b. blasting music, c. marital problems. While listening to a couple discuss how they live separate lives now, can be great materiel for a novel one is writing, it can also be a big downer. Once the perfect spot (not near the chattering lifeguards) has been found and claimed it is time to make camp. The blanket must be smooth, the chairs placed at strategic angles, as to discourage others from moving into the two foot by two foot square left next to you. The cooler must be placed in the shade and all reading materials laid out within reach. Once this is all achieved, the day at the beach begins. On occasion you may find that the couple next to you thinks it is funny to feed the seagulls, and has attracted a huge crowd of the vultures to your neck of the shore, but for the most part, if you have planned and prepared, your day should run smoothly. In Cape Cod, as well as other beaches on the eastern coast, the view from above must be spectacular, colored umbrellas, tents, and blankets, all creating a wild pattern on the sandy shore. In comparison, the beaches in Italy were all preplanned. Beach chairs with coordinating umbrellas were lined up in rows, one section of blue, one section of red, one section of green, and on and on down the shore. Simple, form, function and comfort. You are given what you need for your stay sulla spiaggia. In the US, it is a race for the spot, planning, and a hodgepodge of contraptions, coolers and beach tents. What does this all mean? Nothing, really, just another day, ruminating and packing for the beach. As long as I don’t forget my Cosmo Italia this time.