Happy As a Seagull with a Cheeto

PC: Instagram @mvm_frankfurt

Spring Break when you live on the beach means you get to entertain a good bit of company. In my case, it was teenagers who live forty-five minutes and a quarter of a tank of gas away. I’ve had a lot of visitors this week…mostly sandy-footed shower-takers and sun-kissed beach-worshippers who need power naps, and yes I loved every minute of it. Read more

Christmas Letters

I have a tabletop-sized Christmas tree made of driftwood. It has lights but I rarely remember to turn them on. There are presents underneath, well kind of, propped up against the table the tree sits on, like toy soldiers on duty. Saddest of all is that it doesn’t even draw our attention if we are watching television; it just sits invisible in the corner, an obligatory reminder that it’s December. I am not a Scrooge, I promise, but even I can admit that I have done a pretty poor job of being Christmas-y this year. Read more

Jellies

PC: Instagram @luakanishi

I heard his tell-tale screeches from all the way down the beach. A young boy, around eight by my best guess, clearly thought he was going to die of pain. I stayed out of the pandemonium at first, trying not to be the (nosy) kind of person who tells someone else how to do their job, but his parents were turning themselves around in circles, picking up and dropping towels, dumping water bottles onto his skinny, paralyzed little limbs and making a wrinkled, sandy mess of their perfect pallets near the water’s edge.

They were jellyfish virgins, it was clear. Read more

House Hospice

Hurricane Irma, September 2017. PC: ABC News

My house is a rental. I haven’t lived here very long, just a little over four months, and there are zero sentimentalities about this place in my catalogue of dearest memories ever. On more than one occasion, in fact, as I got to know my condo on the beach a little better, it has occurred to me that this place has seen its share of terrifying storms. The scars are everywhere. There’s a little lean to the floor in the hallway upstairs, and the whole place literally moans when the wind is blowing. Long story short, if The Big One Named Irma were to decide she was coming to Pensacola, I would pack up a few Rubbermaid bins of pictures, put my renter’s insurance policy in my car, and drive away happy and content with my kid and my dog, never looking back. This place has days that are numbered, and I’m okay with that. Read more

Murphy’s Leash Law

Happy dog

A lady in a bathing suit and a coverup trudged through the hot sand and brought him two huge plates of food. The first one had a mountain of steamed shrimp, fried snapper, mac-n-cheese, hushpuppies and cheese biscuits. A little bit after that she brought over a literal stack of grilled hotdogs, backyard burgers with all the fixins and potato salad. “Here you go, Shuga. I hope you hungry. You sure are a sweet boy.”

A little while before that, another woman had already walked over to him with her hands on her hips. “Sir!” she said. “YOUNG MAN! Can you please tell me what the animal regulations are on this beach?”

“There aren’t supposed to be any animals on the beach, ma’am.”

“Well! That’s precisely what I thought!” And then she asked that nice young lifeguard to march right over and tell those other people to remove their dog from the beach immediately.

He did. Sort of. Read more

The Turtle People

PC: Frank Abbott Photography www.frankabbott.com

I ascended to the top of the boardwalk on my way down to the beach in front of my house, sometime around the beginning of this past summer. It would’ve been the middle of June, if I recall, and I noticed that a strange partition had been erected out in the middle of the beach, right in the sand. From a distance, it looked like it was marked off with crime scene tape, which is what got my attention. Read more

The Day Kappa Kappa Killed My Youth

PC: Instagram @theoriginalfratboy

I knocked on the door and waited. Knocked again. Waited.

Nothing.

Damn kids.

I walked into their house in my bare feet and my pajamas, hair wild, no bra, middle-of-the-night-breath. I suppose it was as scary as I’ve been seen in public ever in my life. I stood in the kitchen and waited for someone to notice me but they were dancing pretty hard and it was super dark anyway. Aside from the strobe lights that blinked, synchronized to the low thumps of the rap music that bounced the pictures up and down on the adjoining wall between their living room and mine, I could hardly see a thing without my glasses on.

Then they saw me. Their faces lit up in recognition then dropped in the panic of realizing why I must be standing in their living room at 2:30 in the morning.

It went downhill from there. Read more