Sunday, August 23, 2009

Not Pacific - They Wouldn't let me get my Toes Wet

I remember learning that Pacific meant peaceful. The Pacific Ocean was so named because it was supposed to be more peaceful than the Atlantic Ocean. I learned to body surf in California, in the Pacific Ocean. I always imagined that the Atlantic Ocean would be even more fun. Typical 4-foot waves and the occasional 8-foot waves after a storm were good, but I looked forward to more oomph.

When we moved to the East Coast, I couldn't wait to go to the beach. When I arrived, the waters were placid. Where are the waves? The Atlantic Ocean is like a big lake. I asked -- was I at the wrong beach? Where are the waves?

The natives assured me that the whole East Coast is like this. No body surfing. Not much surf boarding. Basically, you can get wet and you can swim. The Atlantic Ocean is just a big boring lake.

Then I read about Hurricane Bill. There were going to be 2-foot waves. I can body surf in 2-foot waves. Salt water is supposed to be good for my healing shoulder. That's why I put Epsom Salts in my bath tub. The casinos subsidize bus rides to Atlantic City. I called the Greyhound bus station. No, they don't have lockers any more. Homeland Security. All I wanted to do was put my street clothes and fanny pack in a locker and go to the beach unencumbered. Come to think of it, maybe the casinos had something to do with this. Do they imagine if I have money with me, that I'll waste it in a casino? Does Homeland Security imagine that clothing I'm willing to wear is actually dangerous?

I take that back. C-4 cannot be exploded with a match, and Homeland Security believes there was a shoe bomber. Homeland Security cannot be relied on for reasonable thinking.

My husband and I agreed we'd take turns in the ocean, and I bought the round trip bus tickets.

When we arrived at the beach, there were signs -- No Swimming Unless Lifeguard On Duty. Hours 10 AM until 6 PM. I checked my watch. It was almost 11 AM. I stood guard over our backpack while my husband went waist deep into the ocean. Screeeeeeeeeeeee! A lifeguard called him back. We saw other people about knee deep, so we figured maybe knee deep was the limit. My husband put on the backpack and we both went knee deep into the ocean. Screeeeee! The lifeguard came up to us and told us we were not allowed in the ocean at all. Not even our toes.

I tried to tell him. We know how to body surf. We're from California. We came to the beach because of the waves. Other people are being allowed to get their knees wet. He didn't care. He didn't want us in the water. At all.

We decided to take an early bus home. We went to the bus station. The bus didn't bother to stop at the bus station. It had filled up at one of the casinos. It looked like we had to go into a casino after all. There is a waiting room. It is devoid of gambling machines. This is not Las Vegas where they have one-armed bandits everywher, even in the toilet stalls. Instead there are No Sleeping signs all along the walls.

We had to wait an hour and a half for the next bus. I decided to exercise. Heel raises, leg abduction, hamstring stretches, some floor work with abs and obliques, some yoga. The poor security guard kept looking at me like I was dangerous. I expect by next week the signs will say No Sleeping and No Exercising. They don't have free reading material. And much as I'd like to spend an hour and a half meditating, I didn't feel that a casino was a safe place to leave my stuff unguarded. No, I didn't think the security guard would take care of my stuff.

That's it. I'm done with Atlantic City. Either they have no waves or if they do, they won't let me play with them. 2-foot waves. Baby stuff. When I got the newspaper this morning, it bragged that nobody drowned yesterday. The paper also said people were allowed out to their knees. People maybe. But an alien and his grey-haired wife -- NO.

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