Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When Key Things Go Wrong, or... The Epic Beach Day Disaster

I'm mobile blogging... as in, from my phone, which might not surprise some of my blog friends. Be advised, there WILL be typos...

So today's theme is writer-related. I call it, Some Key Things Went Wrong at the Beach Last Week. I'll introduce you to the principle players:

1) Me.

You know enough about me. Moving on...

2) My dad.

I don't think I ever mentioned this before (ooh ooh! A Diana Reveal!) but-- no joke-- my dad is a truck driver. He is as much a truck driver as you can possibly imagine, including the bleeped-out vocabulary. Yeahhhh... this particular beach day started with a phone call from him that went, "Hey, I'm home from the [bleeping] road. It was fine, just the usual [bleep]. Want to go the beach?" I love my dad :) Anyway, the beach! Ummm, YES. Let's go!

3) My little sister.

I have two little sisters. The little sister in this story had the day off from work, which is why she could come to the beach. She loves make-up, cute clothes, and the "T" word. (Dare I say it? *Diana looks around and whispers* Twilight...) This little sister also inherited our mom's gene for "Something Always Goes Wrong..." (She claims I also inherited this gene. Pfffft not likely!! *Diana thinks a minute* Wait...)

ANYWAY-- Back to the theme:

I call up my sister and tell her about Dad's idea that we hit the beach. She's excited and we all drive together. Other than getting a teensy bit lost**, everything's going great!

**YES my dad drove, and YES, he is a truck driver, so technically he should be lost-proof. Unfortunately I was the one using my phone's map feature to get to this beach we'd never been to before and somehow I read the map directions wrong-- UGH! The screen is tiny, the numbers all looked the same!!

Back to the theme (again):

At the beach (finally, and after a stop for a ton of snacks because the beach makes you HUNGRY!) we find a really great tree by the lifeguard tower with a huge circle of shade under it, BUT we have the pop-up canopy thing so we can make our own shade if we want. It's windy. Actually it's a great day to be at the beach because the sun is bright and the breeze is strong... still, I don't know about combining wind and a pop-up shade... my dad doesn't see anything to worry about and I hate that I'm the "worrier" in the family, so whatever. Up goes the canopy.

My sister and I slather on the Maui Babe and lay out. In the sun. Did we need the shade? Dad is jumping waves and we relax. Or... I pretend to relax as I watch the pop-up shade behind my sunglasses. Is it my imagination or is it shaking? Violently? Like it's about to launch right off the beach? Dad and Little Sister seem to think all is well. I'm thinking this canopy isn't going to make it through the day without becoming a kite. Still, I say nothing.

For the record, my instincts were correct.

My dad and I take a walk while little sister soaks up even more sun (yet, the pop-up canopy was so vital??). When we come back, my sister is sitting in a beach chair with absolutely no pop-up tent above her! She's eating chips like all is right with the world! Did I mention this was MY hundred-and-sixty dollar pop-up shade? (Stupid, stupid, yes I know that now! I am aware of hindsight and the twenty-twenty vision rule.)

We get closer and, indeed, my pop-up shade is still on the ground. Stuffed back inside the convenient carry bag it came with. All sorts of metal rods stick out of the top of the convenient carry bag like the whole thing is an enormous dead spider that some giant smacked with his huge, giant-sized flip-flop. Or whatever footwear giants wear today, I don't know but the canopy was dead.

"Oh my GOSH!" says my sister. She tells us that she was lying on her towel when she heard an enormous crack (the giant's flip-flop, maybe?). People on the beach start yelling. She sits up to see our canopy doing cartwheels across the sand. By the time she stands up to chase it down, it crashes into a cluster of palm trees, cracking again. She is so embarrassed she can't accept help from onlookers. In her humiliated state she remembers repeating, "Don't worry, this canopy does that. I'm fine! It does that!" She then grabs the convenient carry bag and returns to the deceased canopy, jamming the whole thing as best she can into the bag. She is unable to figure out how to fit the broken limbs inside, so leaves them hanging out. She drags the whole thing back to our beach spot, hoping everyone on the beach will just stop staring and asking if she's okay.

Wow. No problem. This won't ruin our trip to the beach, I guess. We're hungry and the snacks we bought are looking good. But low-tide is coming in and that is the only time we'll see anything cool at the tide pools. There are seagulls to consider, so we put the one bag of opened chips in the cooler. Everything else is still unopened so we're fine there.

The tide pools are a lot of fun. We climb over rocks and see crabs and anemones and this slimy thing that felt like the inside of your cheek, only cold. We take pictures on the cliff together, we act like goobers. It was awesome, yay!!

Who is even thinking about the pop-up canopy debaucle? Not us! We're ready for some lunch and chatter about all the awesome food we bought earlier. We return to our beach spot to see the ENTIRE AREA blanketed in seagulls!! Not one fraction of an inch of our towels, chairs, ANYTHING, is visible!!!! My sister just stares. I race down the hill screaming like a maniac. My dad sort of follows behind me, dazed. "What the [bleep]?" People on the beach stare in amazed horror at the birds-- me screaming-- I don't know!

Blog friends, the noise was incredible. If I wasn't so hungry for the food I'd been envisioning, I would have been afraid of being pecked apart. But there was nothing left of snacks. Nothing left at all. The birds tore open the BRAND-NEW bags of chips, the UNOPENED box of cookies, the FACTORY SEALED cheese crackers. There were only pulverized crumbs left, mixed with feathers. Tons of snacks were in the beginning stages of digestion in the bellies of probably a hundred birds. But we did have the half-eaten bag of chips in the cooler. There was that.

The beach was officially over. The beach without artificial shade is manageable. The beach without food is not. We had fun though! And we definitely agreed we'd have to go back again before the end of summer.

On the way home we stopped by for some fast food (including cookies). We didn't get lost, and seriously, it's not like anyone gauged out an eye or anything (although my sister might have come close) and hey, maybe we'll end up on Youtube. I can't help but think, as a writer, how similar the whole experience was to finishing a novel. I mean, sometimes things don't seem like they're working out, key things in your novel don't fit or they go wrong altogether, but you keep trying and maybe take the story in a whole new direction. Other times, you just can't force it, but that's alright. You can always try again another day.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


  1. So um, you do realize that you made me feel the inside of my cheek, right?

    Glad you had fun!!! :o)

  2. Wow - what a day - lol. Your poor sister - ha ha - that whole scene with her gathering up the canopy is hilarious. Sorry about your canopy - sounds like a fun day though and how cool is your dad? And you related it to writing very well - It's the way I'm feeling about writing right now.

  3. This is where I DIED laughing: "All sorts of metal rods stick out of the top of the convenient carry bag like the whole thing is an enormous dead spider that some giant smacked with his huge, giant-sized flip-flop. Or whatever footwear giants wear today, I don't know"

    And then the Seagulls on top of that?!?!? I am DEAD. DEAD from laughter at your misfortune!

    Also, true story, once at the beach, my brother was bitten by a pelican that wanted fish.

  4. LOL and I thought I had the Something Always Goes Wrong gene. I got nothin on you!!

  5. Hahaha I'm so glad you guys liked that! It was less hilarious while it was happening but now the day is a HUGE family joke!

    Janelle- It felt EXACTLY like that!

    Mary- My dad is extremely cool :) I know what you mean about writing, too... but it's always there, like the beach!

    Amalia- I keep hoping someone on the beach had a video camera and Youtubed it! Words cannot express the insanity!

    Jess- HAHAHA but you know what's sad?? My sister and I are NOTHING compared to my mom, gah!!!

  6. There has to be a comedy script in there some where. Remind me never to go to the beach with you. LOL.