Another Shocking Revelation of My Inadequacy

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First, this is not by way of criticism or slight to anyone who may differ from this opinion. Indeed, I find it one of my great burdens. But let's just say I don't get the idea of a "beach book."

I don't quite understand the concept of going to a beach book in hand. And when I come back from a beach after ten or twelve hours of walking the entire strand, dodging sharks, and collecting whatever might be collectable, I'm in no state whatsoever to read a book. In the entire time I spent on vacation, I brought about twelve books to read--I ended up reading perhaps a couple of chapters of one of them.

I am, in fact, exceedingly pleased by an observation made by my host with regard to my approach to the beach. He said (and I paraphrase most of it), "I've noticed there are different styles of going to the beach. Some go and sit and sun. Some savor the beach, letting it come to them. You devour the beach."

Now there is truth here. The day we went to the beach when it wasn't stormy and the beach was our only destination, I walked from Delmore-Wiggins pass (a turtle beach) to the North Side of Downtown Naples and back. I don't know how far that is, but my guess is about eight-to-ten miles. My goal would be to walk from Naples to Venice. However, as that would entail swimming several rather large, probably bull-shark infested rivers, I rather think I'll keep it down to between large tidal rivers.

But back to the point. I love the beach. I go with the intent of sitting and absorbing and just being there, but the beach calls to me. Like Prufrock, "I hear the mermaids singing each to each," unlike Prufrock I do not care that they do not sing to me--it is sufficient to be privileged to overhear the conversation meant only for them.

But then we must keep in mind that Steven has, among his friends, a reputation for being robo-tourist. I just read MamaT's description of her first few days of vacation and thought back to my time in San Francisco. And I had written a long description here of it; however, it would seem to detract from that wonderful entry i cited above. Suffice to say that I am known for my ability to take in the sites in a given location. Thus, it should come as no surprise that my recreation at a beach is to walk as far as I possibly can in either direction from where I start. The idea of sitting with a book seems somehow contrary to my notion of a beach--and that, I admit, is my failing. I guess when I take a vacation, I take a vacation from me and my driving impulses as well as from a location. I was amazed at how very little I read (only the directions to and descriptions of the places we were going or just had been.)

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We're the same way. We are there to see everything that interests us, not to sit around ... though I usually manage to get some reading done it is not nearly the amount that I do when at home. Part of that may be because I have extreme motion sickness and can't do more than glance at a map when a passenger in any vehicle. Rose gets a lot of reading done on trips because she reads during transportation time.

Instead of the mermaids singing to each other, perhaps you were hearing the harp-like sounds of the waves on the Sea of Tiberias.

The only reason that I ever like to sit at a beach is if I am drawing. Otherwise, I am with you: a beach invites walking (or swimming) as far as you can, or at least poking around tide pools or climbing cliffs, or something active. Reading is best done at a desk or a table (at least for me, as reading in bed inevitably means falling asleep after a couple of pages with a book on my chest).

Robotourist! I like it!

I'm a beach walker as well--and shell-picker-upper, seaweed-looker, jellyfish-stepper-on (ow! We'll get to that part of the story later).

Not a sitter and reader. To sit and read you need air conditioning and a tall glass of tea.....

Hmmm. Not sure if I approve of the tea. First, I can't stomach the stuff, and second, if you spill it, the tannins will certainly stain the book. Better stick with water while reading, I say.

Once in awhile I will read with my espresso, but that is because the aesthetic experience of that alone outweighs my horror at staining books! My beloved Durling (first edition, hardback) translation of Inferno will attest to that (alas).



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on July 28, 2005 10:30 AM.

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