It’s no good. The sea’s too shallow here—too full of hazardous rocks. I’m threading my way through pudgy, puckered anemones sunk flush with the surface of the sand. It’s getting dark. My car’s parked in a 24-minute parking spot and I’ve already been out here for at least 15.1 I should call it. But I’ll feel bad if I call it. But I should call it.
I try walking down the beach instead, just to feel like I’m choosing something. I know there’s a stretch where the sand smooths out into a gentler and more welcoming crescent, but I misjudge the distance and end up equally far from both my car and the better beach. I jog back along the boardwalk, cursing my indecision through my mask.
I spend several minutes in the car caught in The Waffle—the dreaded space where I justify and wheedle and drive myself batty with excuses and alternatives—until my Wise Self barges in.
You’re not seriously going to drive all the way home and go to bed knowing that you were right here and didn’t do this thing that you KNOW always fills you with an unstoppable sense of power and joy, are you?
I drive the five minutes down the waterfront, throw the car in the parking lot of the hotel from Little Miss Sunshine, and march past everyone enjoying the last glimmers of sunset. I have a covenant to keep.
I’m bolder with my strip down/stride in routine this time—almost too bold; I nearly enter the water still wearing my mask. A quick return trip to my pile of belongings and I’m running back into the breakers. The water is easy and delicious. It’s not even that cold. Six waves pass before I plunge under the seventh. I stand there staring at the tiniest sliver of a new moon rising on my right for what feels like hours.
She’s right. I’ve never regretted this. Two for two.
1. Why only 24 minutes? Such a specific number. Remind me to look that up later on whatever civic planning blog is nearest. ↩