I haven't been to the ocean for swimming and lazing purposes in 30 years, so a week at Bethany Beach, Del. was an interesting change of pace.
There were herds of lifeguards doing drills. They'd charge around on the beach, running in that odd beach gait of short, high steps.
Then, at a signal, it was into the water, where they ceased being a herd and became a school.
The routine was quickly established: Up early and make the coffee, take a go cup to the beach and walk, smoking a meditative cigar. The town is the most regulated place I have ever seen, and smoking is at the top of the list of banned activities — except where the town fathers have placed those butt receptacle things at inconvenient places along the public beach. So discretion must be employed, but the only people out at 6 a.m. are surf-casters, the four percent body fat crowd getting a head start, and, well, visitors trying to enjoy a quiet smoke without killing anybody with their dangerous secondhand smoke that cunningly defeats the steady wind and miraculously goes into the lungs of everybody within 100 yards — with fatal results. Oh agony.
Then the morning fry. I tried to stay in the water, which was very pleasant. The rest of the time I sat under an umbrella, which helped some. I still got toasted.
To continue: The six-block walk to town. The search for the Washington Post and New York Times (for my elderly parents) and the New York Post for me (for Anthony Weiner jokes). The chintzy souvenir shops. The excellent bookstore. The French fries, with vinegar and salt, from Thrasher's. The afternoon fry. The stealthy slink through the residential neighborhoods, with cigar. The quiet dinner. The final beach walk. The bed.
The condo complex where we were was very comfortable and easy for my folks to navigate. although it had a sort of Stalinist tower block look to it, especially from a distance. On my own ticket I'd stay at an actual house — but on my own ticket I wouldn't have gone to begin with, unless there is a state campground somewhere nearby.
In six days I read nine detective stories and a big stack of New Yorkers I never got around to, walked a lot, and looked at girls. Not very exciting, but you'll have that.