You want a day at the beach. That’s nice for you. You pack a bathing suit, a bucket and shovel, a blanket to lie on, an umbrella and a cooler of snacks and/or alcoholic drinks. You of course have not refreshed your knowledge of nutrition since the watermelon incident. Alcohol is dehydrating, and though you will be surrounded by water, you will not have water to drink except for the ice cubes in your cooler, and the sun will bear down on you, dehydrating you further, frying you like a tasty chicken breast. Do you really want to be beer-battered meat? Must you really speak to my cannibalism?
But perhaps your cooler is just full of chemical-tasting lemonade, making my point moot. You will still be drinking partial poison, but at least you will not be so tempting to eat. You remembered to pack lots of water and sunscreen, and will probably not get skin cancer, which is, again, nice for you.
You ask me why I say this is nice for you and I say, “do you really want to get skin cancer?” At least, I hear it’s very unpleasant, and I do not wish it on you or anyone that I like. You, of course, do not want skin cancer, as you are quite aware that “unpleasant” is a euphemism for “horrific” and you are such a kind soul that you would wish it on no-one, not even [human we mutually dislike]. You are too sympathetic, I insist, as [human we mutually dislike] has more than earned such suffering as a painful consequence to their negative actions. But you insist, “not skin cancer.” Very well, I acquiesce. I will arrange for axe-murder instead.
You ask me why I say this is ‘nice for you‘ and this time specify that I seem unenthusiastic about your beach trip. You realize you haven’t invited me and you feel terrible. Well, you should. It’s not enough to warrant murder with an axe, but perhaps something close, like a scratch with a nail file. I look away gloomily, I imagine towards the horizon over the sea, not that I would know where that is, I haven’t been to the beach. You are surprised: do I not wish to come? I do not. I do not like the sun or the sand. I will not go with you.
Still, you demand your vacation – you had a stressful exam recently and you want to relax! So I will take you to the beach through my hypothetical reasoning and hopefully it will seem as authentic as the hug I am giving you right now, gently squeezing your soft human body and admiring the fragility of human life. An axe seems almost unnecessary to end it; the smallest thing could kill you. You quickly pull out of this hug as you sense my humour is far too dark and you were really rather hoping to show off your beach body before you died suddenly from something as small as a virus or a bullet or a coconut falling on your head. You should probably stay away from coconut trees.
You cannot get away from me fast enough, and hop into your/a mode of transportation. It is a bright, sunny, clear day. The sun shines round in the sky like a coconut, though I would advise you not to look directly at it, though you are tempted because you really want to see just how much it resembles a coconut, and whether it is similarly hairy and full of milk.
The sky is cloudless and achingly blue, which is unfortunate because cloud cover could shield your delicate human skin somewhat from the sun’s powerful rays.
If you are in a car you have a fairly comfortable trip, and if you are on a bike you will have more trouble carrying your possessions, but you will be getting much-needed exercise and your taking care to protect the environment endears you to me. But perhaps the beach is too far, and you do not own a bike, and you cannot simply walk from your luxurious beach house to the luxurious beach, but must take public transportation, and as it is summer the bus is full of other humans wearing minimal clothing. All this human flesh awakens your cannibalistic tendencies, or perhaps reminds you of the fleshy vulnerability of the human body, or perhaps disgusts you a little bit because you didn’t really want to see that much of your fellow humans and many are wearing flip flops to reveal rather appalling feet and one woman’s pinky toes seem to grow out of the side of her foot instead of alongside her other toes and just hover, like warts, above the ground. Inwardly you scream.
You finally make it to the beach, and exit your mode of transportation. You remove your shoes and walk upon the sand. This either feels lovely or excruciating, it depends on how much you enjoy the feel of grainy, exfoliating sand beneath your feet, and whether you’ve stepped on broken glass. You find a nice, fairly human-free section of ground and lay out your blanket, prop up your umbrella, and engage in the several beach activities available to you.
First, you read in the shade, enormous sunglasses on your face and perhaps a floppy hat on, made unnecessary by the umbrella but giving you a certain old-timey fashionable flair. Do you remember when people wore a lot of hats? You smugly adjust your bowler/top hat/white powdered wig and enjoy your book, a trashy romance novel involving ridiculously sexist supernatural teenagers, or a sexy human rescuing you from a boring existence, or the latest bestseller, or an old book you’ve not yet gotten around to reading, or a self-help book. Good for you. If you were interested in that story about a sexist billionaire buying and oppressing a young female, you definitely need as much help as you can get.
Once you are done expanding (or shrinking) your mind with a good (or bad) book, you decide you want to cook yourself, much as one would cook a bird, or a farm animal, or a delicious human being. You put on sunscreen or barbeque sauce, and lay on the sand, roasting deliciously. Every so often, you rotate. I suggest you baste yourself regularly, and after you turn you reapply your sunscreen, but I was really hoping you’d use the marinade I packed. I used cucumbers to make it and it’s very good for your skin.
You burn yourself to a deliciously healthy red colour, if you are comparing yourself to a lobster’s good health, or perhaps you’ve browned yourself, an appealing colour for meat, or perhaps you were charred black. Unless you were already dark, I would be very concerned. Another nutritional fact: the longer meat is cooked, and the more blackened it becomes, the more carcinogenic it is.
You will later, gingerly, apply creams to soothe your poor human skin, and even convert to vegetarianism. Briefly.
You drink from your cooler, which is refreshing and hydrating, and then you go for a swim in the ocean. It is lovely and you definitely don’t drown. There are no sharks and you don’t get stung by jellyfish, and the child swimming nearby you certainly didn’t pee in the water, and you didn’t get your toe caught in between a crab’s claws. The ocean is being kind to you today, and you are even so excited as to see a mermaid! Actually it is a handsome young man with long hair and a prop tail, acting in a film project for his sister. What confuses you is why he would need a shell bra? After all, his luscious long hair could adequately cover his inappropriate male chest.
You contemplate this until the water wrinkles you, unless you were already wrinkled, in which case the water still wrinkles you. Why would you think your age would make you immune to water-wrinkles? You exit the water and return to your towel, where you allow the sun to dry you, and roast you a little more evenly for your barbeque later. You want to look absolutely attractive and tanned when you serve your friends grilled vegetables later this evening.
You enjoy yourself immensely in the beauty that nature has to offer, which does not include other humans. Other humans you enjoy separately, be it the appealing body of a human male in oversize, saggy trunks that do not well show off his goods, to your disappointment, or the appealing body of a human female, in a too-small bikini that shows off too much of her goods, to your displeasure. You are a hard-to-please human! But that’s what I like about you. You entertain yourself by counting the number of rolls of back fat of the woman in front of you, and estimate whether the amount of chest and back hair of the man to your right would be enough to make a disturbing sweater for a child. Perhaps the child that insists he didn’t pee in the water next to you. You don’t care what he said. The water felt too warm.
You realize you have a shovel and bucket too, and no trip to the beach would be complete without burying humans alive. You chuckle far too much at this, and I feel worried. You find some eager, overly-trusting kids and play with them, because you are actually still a kid at heart and your heart is kind enough that you get along with children, or perhaps you are so uncool that adults won’t play with you and your best bet is to hang out with kids who are too young to discern your lack of social appeal and so invite you into their group. You help them bury their friend so that she is just a head poking out of the sand, and you all chuckle as she is approached by a crab. She is not as amused as you and in fact will develop a severe phobia of crabs that she will carry with her until she is 61, at which time she will finally return to the beach and realize she is much bigger and stronger than a crab and really, they can’t all be held responsible for the one that nipped her nose with its claw. Later you will make that particular crab into soup. This is your solution when it comes to human offenders, too!
You also help the kids build a sand castle. You build it around a couple of little boys who become the castle princes, and beg the girls to save them. The girls, one warrior, one dragon and one Godzilla precisely, tear down the castle. You are infuriated because you spent a damn long time constructing those detailed and historically accurate turrets and whoever heard of Godzilla in medieval times anyway! You seethe and storm away while the princes thank their saviours and then remember they left that other girl in the sand up to her nose in crabs.
To calm down after the sand castle debacle, you lie back down on your blanket, close your eyes, and listen to the waves and the fading laughter and chatter of humans. The sun is going down and you are feeling relaxed and very well cooked. You feel your connection to nature, that you are a speck of sand on the beach of life, and that the world has its own unique flow, like the waves. You always were a bad philosopher.
You pack up your things and make your way home. You feel good, happy, relaxed and peaceful. You enjoyed your trip to the beach, even though you will be peeling dead skin off your burnt back and arms for the next couple of weeks. When you lie down later on your soft, smooth sheets, you feel excruciating pain as the fabric rubs against your burns. I chuckle. I never went to the beach.