It’s been Friday since Tuesday.
My bags are packed for the beach — in my mind. If my telekinesis wattage was more powerful, I’d move my stuff into the bags from my desk at work.
“You must be packing from your desk,” my wife would say on the telephone. “Please stop. All this gear floating out of closets, cabinets and drawers is freaking the cat.”
The cat never goes to the beach. Never goes anywhere except two steps out the front door, realizes there are no walls and zooms back inside the house.
I’ve sent emails to the cat and fish feeders, mail and newspaper grabbers, garden and potted plant waterers. Same message, same details, same obsessive-compulsive instructions as last time.
We’ll be home before this column hits the newspaper, but my email reads like Eisenhower’s draft for the landing at Normandy.
I worry that my brother-in-law will overfeed the fish. He never has. But I worry.
His alternate probably doesn’t give the fish as much food as I do. I probably overfeed the fish, if anyone does.
My instructions for watering plants are what my mother would call “peat and repeat.” I’ve watered everything twice. We’ll be gone less than a week.
There could be a sudden onset drought that is so sudden and so onset that it will dry out the ground in a single day. The pots will flash dry and implode.
Boy, I really need to sleep at the beach listening to the waves crash ashore, sounding like boxcars slamming into one another.
I need to walk the beach, through the dunes where no one may even think of building a house or a hotel. These parts are home to sea turtles, shorebirds and sea oats.
We need a reason not to build on every square inch of sand and dirt. You’re a Communist if you suggest leaving some green space, some sand, some woods, some sky, some water free of condos, airports, malls and major street intersections with a drugstore on each corner.
“Man saves himself from splitting headache. Ducks into first drugstore he comes to. ‘I tell you,’ said Clyde Cleavedhead, ‘if I’d had to drive another hundred feet to buy aspirin by golly I’d a done it.”
“Cleavedhead had aspirin in the bathroom medicine chest, but it was closer to drive to the drugstore than walk to the other end of his house.”
I got to go to the beach when one of “the girls” backed out. I could hear my wife’s end of the conversation as she and her college roommate tried to think of someone else who’d go to the beach with them.
They went through a couple of candidates who must not work or have any stress at all in their lives because they weren’t interested.
Then, my wife walked down the hall to where I was working in the study. I framed my face with my hands and cooed, “Shall I pack a swimsuit?”
“I just found Betty’s replacement,” my wife told the cordless telephone in her hand.
So, I’m off to the beach with the girls who aren’t offended or even wonder when I go long stretches without speaking.
They are like my favorite fishing partner, my brother-in-law, who doesn’t interpret silence as internal fury ready to explode.
I’m taking four books. I’ll do well to finish one. When I’m at the beach, the point is not to finish anything or, for that matter, start anything.
My bags still are not packing themselves, but there’s the tiniest movement on the floor of my closet as running shoes begin searching for their mates and the sock bag starts to untie itself.