I’ve been “locked out” of the beach since the beginning of the year. Part of that time was taken up with my Great North American Baseball Road Trip, but even had I not left, I was punished for owning a new car since February.
My county uses window decals to give cars access to beach parking sites. They require you to actually attach them to your window (presumably so you don’t “trade” them out to other vehicles). That’s a normally foolproof and acceptable requirement…unless you have a new windshield.
The passes run from October 1 to September 30, so there was no point in buying one for the month and a half left after I got back from the GNABRT. You really have to get a pass, since they charge $55 for the decal but a ridiculous $15 per day ($17 on weekends and holidays). I have no idea who came up with that price structure. Either the pass is too cheap or the daily rate is too high (probably both).
I’ve mentioned that I don’t have much time left before it gets too cool (for me) to go to the beach. Let me offer some color to that statement.
For writing purposes, I try to get to the beach as soon as the parking area opens (technically 8 am, but the gates are open earlier). There are a few good reasons for going that early. First, I can beat most work traffic by leaving that early from home. Second, the beach is mostly empty, providing a quiet and peaceful surrounding for me to write. Third, the only distraction is the ocean and the sky.
Though the natural wonders of the beach can occasionally lure me into long moments of contemplation, it’s the people who can most cause me to lose writing focus.
You don’t have to be single to admire some of the more impressive bodies that lounge, walk, jog or swim around the South Florida beaches. Man or woman, you’ll find ample opportunities to be entertained. Since I have a pulse, I am just as interested as anyone else.
And I’m just as engaged by all the little kids who are brought to the beach. I enjoy watching the ones who love the water and the ones who jump away from it. I admire the kids who build sand castles and chuckle watching those who just like to move lumps of wet sand from spot to spot. In all manners and actions, they are an endless source of pleasure.
All those people together create an awful lot of noise. Joyous noise, for sure, but distracting to my writing concentration. Generally, if I can get to the beach prior to 8 am, I can get about two hours of solid writing done before I lose the tug of war with my desire to just watch everyone out and about.
Combine that with my preference for temperatures above 77 (remember, on the beach there is a constant breeze usually in the 10-15 mph range), there are a couple of months in “winter” (I’m not sure South Floridians are allowed to use that term) that I’m uncomfortable that early in the morning (no, I will not wear a sweatshirt to the beach).
One thing I would like to try this year is writing while walking. Using my new-found iPhone’s dictation feature, I’m thinking I could get my exercise and my writing done at the same time. That would allow me to leave my laptop at home (safe from surprise rainstorms) and also let me seamlessly switch to lazing around listening to tunes once I’m back from my walk.
The weather has been reasonably cooperative so far (a bit rainy, but that’s Florida in September). I look forward to giving the new process a spin and see if it works for me. The only thing that I might miss is my old beat-up “writing chair” I used to sit in while typing on the laptop. Maybe I’ll bring it for nostalgia.