Sunday, June 1, 2014

The young-ish man and the sea: A tale of love and loss

The sea and I have had a difficult relationship through the years.
                Admittedly, I haven’t lost any husbands or children to Davey Jones’ locker, nor have I ever been forced to explore my own mortality while face-to-face with the sea’s immense power and might.
                So I’ve got that going for me.
                No, the source of my problems with the seas is that it’s kinda gross. Jellyfish live in it, they’re gross. Seaweed is of course known to reside in and near the sea, you can tell that from the name.
                But the grossest part of all is the salt.
                When I was a kid, this inherent ickiness never bothered me. I’d spend hours in the sea, frolicking about. My favorite passion was pretending my boogie board was a space ship from “Star Wars.” Good times.
                I’m not sure what exactly caused it, but at a point though, the sea and I turned on each other.
                The thought of going in, getting coated in salt water from head to toe and then having to sit on the beach for several more hours before I could shower it off began to seem like something Jack Bauer should be dishing out to terrorist kingpins.
                There was also the issue of putting on sun tan lotion. If I didn’t smear half a kilo of the stuff on my person, the sun would cook my Irish skin like an overwhelmed chef on “Hell’s Kitchen.” But that greasy feeling of sun tan lotion also didn’t sit well with me. Especially if you put it on your chest and back and then put a shirt on top of it.
                This was the worst. So gross. Much awfulness.
                Given my scrawny and, as we already discussed, ghostly-white physique, shirtless wasn’t an option.

                The combo of the salty water and greasy sun tan lotion was hard to overcome.
                This whole aversion to getting dirty really seemed to kick in to full gear right around the time that awkward puberty phase kicked in, so perhaps that odd time somehow had something to do with it.
                Whatever the cause was, we parted ways, the sea and I.
                We didn’t keep in touch really. We were in the same places from time to time, but she had her friends and I had mine. There wasn’t much overlap, so we were able to keep our distance from each other.
                This was for the best. We were both able to grow into adulthood on our own and become the people and geographical features we were meant to be.
                A few years ago, there was a reunion. I instituted it. Again I’m not sure exactly why I decided to do it, but the time just felt right to see how she was doing.
                I still wasn’t a fan of the greasy feeling of sun tan lotion or the clingy nature of saltwater, but I had changed in one regard.
                During my adolescent years, I insisted on wearing boxers under my bathing suit. This was a mistake.
                The thing about bathing suits, and I’m not sure you were aware of this, is they’re meant to get wet. Boxer shorts aren’t necessarily designed that way.
                When bathing suits get wet, they usually will dry out in half an hour maybe, depending on the conditions. When boxer shorts get wet, they usually stay that way until you put them in a dryer or leave them in the sun for several hours.
                When I decided to ditch the boxers and go commando under my bathing suit, like the good lord intended, the salt water seemed a little less clingy. I’d dry off and eventually I wouldn’t even notice it. Well, I wouldn’t notice it as much as I would if my lower half were still soaked in it.
                Just like that, my love affair with the sea was rekindled.
                In addition to kicking boxer shorts to the curb, I’ve learned the trick about sun tan lotion is to wait like ten minutes or so before putting a shirt on. That way it has time to dry, so it feels a touch less greasy and I can still spare the majority of the planet the sight of my skinny Irish torso.
                Sure, the sea and I can never go back to what we had in the past. She’s moved on, I’ve moved on. I have to furry children now with a great gal. As for the seas, well, even though she’s had a series of long relationships, no one man has ever been truly able to tame her, and she seems perfectly content with that.
                Hell, that lifestyle worked for George Clooney for years.              
                Even though things will never be the same, we’re in a good place now. She lets me do a little swimming in her a few times a year; in return I promise to conserve water wherever possible and to clip those plastic things that hold six packs of soda together.
                I regret the years we spent apart, but I’ve vowed to myself and her to make the most of the time we have left together. Before I die and she freezes or evaporates or whatever global warming is going to do to her. I haven’t watched “Day After Tomorrow” in a while so who knows?  

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