Summer is in full swing, which means I get to see all of your lovely beach pictures while I rot away at my desk. Really, it’s ok. I’m not mad at the fact that I chose a shitty path in life which relegates me to sitting in a 8×8 cube 8 hours a day. Why would I have picked a profession that would allow me the freedom of having the summers off’? That would be ridiculous. Nay, I prefer the just above annoying buzz of fluorescent lights any day. You guys don’t know what you’re missing.
As I sit here and rage-scroll through Facebook, it reminds me of a time when I, too, was fun and fancy free, letting lose in the sand. It was a simpler time, a time when my only concern was what tape I was going to bring with me to the sandy shores of Narragansett Bay. Did I want to listen to a full album, or perhaps a mix tape? Maybe both, depending on how long I was going to be there. This was also a time when sunblock was a mere suggestion. I spent nearly every summer looking like a burn victim, pouring gallons of aloe on my sun-abused skin. But it was a good time and I didn’t really mind it so much. However, the BEST beach season I can remember was when I was about 14 years old. That was the year I was allowed to ride the “beach bus” with my friends and hang out all day. Of course, this fun experience was short-lived after one of the most embarrassing things to ever happen to an adolescent girl took place in the summer of 1994.
The key to success of having the best beach day was as follows: meet about 10-3 million of your closest friends at the bus stop at about 6am. Pack your essentials: Walkman, towel, scrunchie, tee-shirt and boxer shorts (to wear over your bathing suit). Now, you’re ready to go. After the bus makes its obligatory 3,257 stops, you’ve made it. At this time, it’s about 7:30 am and you’ve got the whole day ahead of you. Perfect.
Until something awful happens to you and effectively ruins your beach experience for years.
The day in question went like any other day. I had my essentials and was loving life. However, there was just a slight issue. This was exactly the time that puberty reared its ugly head, so you know what that means. But fear not, trusty reader. I was prepared. I wasn’t about to let something ruin my fun. Nope. I just packed for the occasion, and I was super proud of it. I had a little woven pouch in which I kept my money, beach pass, and my lady essentials in there. I was even more proud of the fact that I had purchased a tampon that could be discreetly concealed: O.B. Yes, it was just the solution that I needed and I was feeling like the cat’s pajamas.
As previously noted, I was 14. So that means I was awkward as fuck in the body department. I had grown up super skinny and fit because I had played every sport imaginable. I never had an issue with weight up until this shit storm of a year. But, I never let it hold me back. I was at that age when hormones were kicking in and I was starting to get pretty self-conscious of my body. I did the standard “I’ll just wear my tee-shirt over my bathing suit” move that most people who aren’t comfortable do. In addition to the body thing, I also had crazy, thick, out of control hair that was never styled. I literally did not know the concept of blow drying my hair, or trying to manage it in any presentable manner. So, I was a chubby, wild-haired girl out and about with the public. Oh, I forgot one other detail: I am WHITE. AS. A. GHOST. Anyone who knows me will attest to this. So, not only did I have to deal with my body size and hair, but I also had to contend with nature’s cruel joke of making somewhat transparent. I completely stuck out in any crowd; it was hopeless.
BUT! There I was, enjoying the shit out of my life on the beach. I was with my closest 3 million friends, so why would I be feeling bad? At around lunch time, someone suggested that we head over to one of the local coffee shops to get a “tank” of iced coffee. (Side note: for those not from these parts, “tanks” were about 48 ounces of pure caffeine deliciousness that was served over crushed ice. I still have dreams about it). Of course that sounded like the most amazing idea in the world, so I was in. I was also thinking of getting my other staple there, a plain bagel with cream cheese. Everyone was getting ready to go; I just needed to grab my money pouch. Which I had of course placed in my beach bag. Which of course was conspicuously missing from said place in beach bad. Panic immediately set in. I needed my $10 I had taken to get my food and get back on the bus. I started looking frantically, to no avail. I checked with the lost and found, but they didn’t have it. The took my information and said if they found it, they would make an announcement over the PA. Completely dejected, I walked back to my area, pissed off that I wasn’t going to have my delicious treat.
When I got back to my towel, I let my friends know the situation. I was just going to hang out and keep looking. So, off they go and there I go, looking like the whitest, weirdest beach comber out there. Then, in the midst of my search, I hear the announcement: “Will Marie please report to the office?” I took off, awkwardly beach-sprining, super happy that they found my stuff! I huffed and puffed my way up to that office; all was right in the world! Until this happened.
I went into the office and was faced with three of the most amazingly good-looking male life guards I had ever laid eyes on (at that time in my life). They were probably 18-20, tanned and shirtless, looking all cool. I, instead, was red-faced, wearing my finest Pearl Jam “Vs” tee-shirt, hair going every which way but normal. My eyes were wide with delight, theirs were wide with what can only be categorized as bewilderment. There was another look on their faces, though, that I recognized immediately: shit eating grins. I know this look well as I have mastered it in my 34 years. Immediately, I knew something horrible was about to happen.
I identified myself and told them that I think they found my pouch. Oh yes, they had. It was sitting on the table in the middle of the room. Then I was told I had to identify the contents. So, I did. Money, beach pass……..and then I think this is when my bowels turned to ice. This was why they were smirking; they found my tampons. I, being the lady I am, held my composure and felt that I had given sufficient evidence. They, being the complete dick faces they were, said they weren’t sure if it was mine. They said there’s some other stuff in there that I didn’t mention. Now I’m sweating. The ringleader of this terrible shirtless douche gang then uttered the phrase, “Do you have something in there that looks like bullets?”. That’s when they all lost their minds, doubled over laughing while I stood completely horrified at the door. I’m not going to lie and tell you that I didn’t cry when I went in and grabbed my pouch off the table. I left that room in complete and total embarrassment, while those maniacal hyenas laughed their dumb faces off.
I remember going back to my friends and feeling like complete shit. I told them the story; I just wanted to go home at that point. But it was only about 12pm and there were 18 more hours that we needed to sit there in the sun. I don’t really recall much of the rest of the day, but I’m sure I just sat on the beach, blaring my Walkman into my ears and hoping a tsunami would hit.
So, friends, that’s my story. It took me a long time to get over that event, but I think I finally did.
Hate those assholes.