That Sinking Feeling 

The sun goes down in California at about 6:30 PM. Yesterday, at 4:52 PM, I threw on my board shorts, rash guard and a long sleeve tee and proclaimed: “The water may be Baltic, but what the hell. I’m going to the damn beach.” You see, this summer I spent loads of time open water swimming, so over the past month I have been in seawater withdrawal. I arrived at the beach at 5:35, paid my three bucks to the parking machine and parked my car. A steady trickle of bikers, walkers and bladers passed in front of me on the bike path.

I crossed over to the sand.

There were a few stragglers on the beach, but for the most part it was empty. I looked back at my car: It was the only vehicle in the lonely lot. We had never been to the beach in California at this time of day and I almost felt bad leaving it behind. Then I remembered that it was a car, not a person, and totally kept walking.

Large bands of hand-size, smooth rocks had washed ashore, so I spent a good deal of time testing my throwing arm. And, hey, the water actually wasn’t that cold. I waded out a ways.

After crashing a few waist-high waves, I looked down at my t-shirt to see two wet, red spots. “How did I get red liquid on my shirt? Sea spray is definitely not red…” Looking closer, I realized that my entire white shirt was bathed in pink. I looked up: The sun had begun to set, but it did not go quietly: The sky was ablaze in a red explosion. Behind me, people were still going back and forth on the bike path. The beach was still empty. That’s when I discovered something hugely monumental: You can belt out show tunes on the beach at sunset and, because the ocean is loud and the beach empty, no one can hear you!

That’s right people; SHOW TUNES!

After numerous encores of Beauty and the Beast, I finished splashing around and forced myself back up to my car. I spread my Harry Potter towel out on the hood, leaned back on the windshield and put my attention to the west. The sun was going... going... gone.

The sunsets here are pretty good. Fire red and such, they sink down just above the water toward Malibu. It makes me wonder: Why don’t more people go down to the beach to welcome the night? I suppose then it wouldn’t be as good because it would be too crowded and people would hear you singing show tunes. Still, for the first time in my life I live near the coast and I do not plan to take it for granted. I made a vow to myself to go to the beach at least once a week. I can’t understand why others don’t do the same.

I guess they’re too busy.

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