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Posts Tagged ‘beach’

Mixed Signals

Going to the beach these days can be a trying ordeal.  Forget the humiliation of wearing a bathing suit or the experience of sand where you never thought you could get sand.  Like every other aspect of our lives in this “free” country, there are rules.

No alcohol on the beach.  Who came up with that one?

No swimming with the shark?  Here’s your sign.

Do we even need a sign for this?  What’s the fine for drowning???

I guess this wasn’t a misprint.

Intuitive, really.

But as I lay on the beach, basking in the sun and wondering how I am going to get the jellyfish out of my pants, I happened to notice the lifeguard waving orange flags wildly.  I had noticed this behavior earlier when I had been out in the water.  The lifeguard would blow his whistle and wave his flags for swimmers to move to safer areas.  At least, I think that’s what he was doing.  In the ocean, without my glasses, I couldn’t really tell what he was doing.  He might have been pointing at me for all I know.  My ears are better.  He should have used a bull horn–‘hey, you.  Yeah, you, the one who’s almost drowning.  Stop that!’  But now he appeared to be waving frantically at the next lifeguard up the coast.

What is he doing?  Is he trying to signal the next lifeguard to steal second base?

In an age where my daughter can sit at the table and text her friend sitting at the other side of the table, is this the best we can do in life saving communication?  Flag waving 101?

Apparently the lifeguards use this form of communication to pass information along the beach from one lifeguard station to the next.  What does that sound like to you?  It sounds like a game of telephone.  One message handed down the length of the beach.

The first lifeguard does his best to send the message, “There’s a riptide coming.  Clear the beach.”  By the time it is forwarded to the last lifeguard, he’s trying to figure out why his buddy is flagging the message, “When’s Rip Torn coming?  I’ve got an itch.”

But what if there is an emergency?  How does the next life guard even know that the other guy is trying to signal him?

I guess that’s what the whistle is for.

Unless he’s whistling at me before I get sucked out to sea.

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While vacationing in Ocean City, Maryland last week, I had the opportunity to go parasailing.

The term is somewhat confusing, so I will elaborate the various para- terms you are probably familiar with:

Basically, parasailing is an activity–I can’t really call it a sport–whereupon one is suspended in the air by a parachute while being pulled along by a boat down below.  Who comes up with this stuff?!  In this case, two people are strapped into the parachute so you can share the fear fun.  We had an option of being flown at 400 feet, 600 feet, or 800 feet, the basic difference being about 20$ per 200 feet. My family, being parasailing virgins, opted for the basic 400 foot level.

So here I am in the boat, with my son.  Note how relaxed I am.  I am on vacation after all, and the credit card bill won’t be due for another cycle.

Ready to sail away!

Then the first mate–there were only two crewmen on board, and since this guy wasn’t driving, I assume he was the first mate.  Maybe he was Isaac the bartender.  Or whatever the heck Gopher was.  Either way, he worked for tips, or so the sign said.  I’m thinking, my life is in this dude’s hands . . . maybe I should tip him well NOW, before I’m four hundred feet above the boat!

Trust us . . . with your LIFE!

Anyway, he handed us straps and a life vest to don.  Don we now our sail apparel . . . Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

Insert Tab A into Slot B?

The strap thing wasn’t terribly complicated.  But then, do I really want my life to depend on something SIMPLE?  This couldn’t possibly be foolproof because fools like myself are too darned ingenious.

Calm before the storm

I manage a weak smile for the camera.  It might be the last photo of me taken while I’m still alive.  Are there sharks in these waters?  Angry dolphins?  What about vultures?  Or pterodactyls?

Up, Up and Away!

I should have listened more carefully when they explained how to arrange the straps so that you don’t get a wedgie.

Is that knot unravelling?

The rope tethering us to the boat didn’t look very thick.  The knot looked like something I would tie–it could pop loose at any second!  Worse yet, my younger son had been fighting with his brother this morning, and I think I can see him down there trying to saw through the line with a knife.  Sure, he’ll get back at his brother.  I’m just collateral damage!  Thank God, but I think it’s just a butter knife!

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