Sure doesn’t look like a Category Four hurricane is headed directly toward us, does it? And yet…. as with any good story, you just don’t know what’s going to happen before it does, even though the clues and warning signs and tingle on the back of your neck tell you that — something — is getting ready to hit. As John Irving put it: “Beware of the undertoad.”
I noticed on the way to the beach that some of the Mom and Pop motels have No Vacancy signs up, even though traffic, cars and people are pretty sparse. Do the old-timers know something that NOAA doesn’t? Are they getting ready to head off-island for the storm? The bridge closes when winds hit 40 mph, and category 4 winds fly at, oh good lord, 133 to 155 mph.
But the beach itself was calm, beautiful, soothing. Polly swam; I walked.
And, of course, talked. There aren’t that many folks on the beach at 8 AM, and I try to talk with all of them — whether they want to or not. Hey, it’s called research, people.
So here are a couple of exchanges from yesterday and today. Any one of these threads could go somewhere, really, if someone were interested:
Yesterday morning there was only one other person on the beach. He was just a speck far ahead of me, and every so often he stopped to light a cigarette, an acquired skill set in salt spray and wind. When he turned and headed back toward the parking lot, he stopped to pet Polly.
“Be careful up ahead. Someone busted a beer bottle and left the broken end pointed up. I buried it as best I could.” He shook his head. “Some people.” His hair was longer than mine and it blew across his face.
“Yeah, some people are kinda weird.”
He looked at me maybe a second too long and said, “You got that right. Weird. Really weird.” Then we both walked on.
He looked oddly familiar to me, but it wasn’t until a couple of minutes later that I put it together.
Charles Manson. The guy looked just like Charles Manson, only no beard. It was the eyes.
Later I found the broken bottle in the sand. He hadn’t done such a great job covering it up after all.
This morning I saw a guy walking four shih tzu’s. Our shih tzu died in January so of course I had to talk to him and pet the dogs, who were panting in the heat. The four dogs all dug a collective hole in the sand while we were talking and climbed in to get cool. He told me that the first time he saw them do that at the beach, he turned part of his yard into a big sand pit for the dogs. And they love it. But I can’t help wondering — how do the neighbors feel about looking out their window and seeing a big sand pit next door? Filled with little dogs?
He also said he’d worked with a lot of the local dog rescues but eventually stopped because they were “too political.”
Now he works exclusively with cat rescue. I’m still wrestling with this one. I’m a cat person, too, but I’m trying to figure out why dogs would be political and cats not? Maybe I should talk with the Superior Court Judge candidate about politics?
A middle aged couple and a younger man, probably their son, had just set up chairs and fishing gear when I walked by. They were from away, were here for a week, and worried that they might have to evacuate before the storm hit. The young man and Polly hit it off great while I talked with the older man about weather possibilities.
About a half hour later we walked back past them. This time I noticed that the young man had considerable physical limitations and a bunch of adaptive and walking aids. I asked if they’d caught any fish yet, and the older man nodded and said that the young man had caught one, a small fish.
It took the young man a good 30 seconds to raise both hands, spread them apart about 6 inches, and say, barely audibly, “This big.”
The grin across his face was just as big when he said it.
Made. My. Day.