Life at the Beach

A woman wrote  Dear Abbey about her retirement to the seaside. She moved to the beach to fulfill her husband’s retirement dream. His dream proved to be her nightmare. For three years, she has been cleaning/cooking/laundry service for visitors while hubby sits like a slug as she toils away. Aside from the prospect of holding open house for visitors, many people discover a beach lifestyle can become as exciting as watching paint dry.

We moved to the beach and lived there for about a year. After six months, my romanticized vision of the beach side lifestyle began to change. I found myself spending too much time organizing my Netflix Queue. I experimented with all the fonts in my word processor. I re-arranged my email folders according to category. Taking courses at the local community college required a lengthy commute. Public transportation was spotty and inconvenient. I looked for a part time job. They were nonexistent for my age group. Bar tending was out of the question. I don’t have tattoos and baring my belly button could possibly landed me a rap sheet.

After a year of inactivity, I looked like one of those big fat chickens, sitting on the rotisserie at Costco. I was going into withdrawal from being away from an upscale mall. I finally was forced to acknowledge; I am a plastic person; an expert in the art of excessive consumer consumption. Walking into the front door of Neiman Marcus is a major upper. A trip to Nordstrom’s can supply a week’s worth of Serotonin. I missed visiting the shoes. Flip-flops, shorts and tank tops are not o.k. 365 days a year. I craved winter coats, boots, scarves, fall, ice storms and my hairdresser. Eleven months later, we moved back to the city.

Hindsight often greets us with a tinge of regret that we did not take a different path. While I miss the beauty of the ocean, there is no regret about leaving the beach. If God would move the ocean to Dallas, that would be the best of all worlds but I don’t believe she is  inclined to do that.

A recent survey indicated people in Florida live longer. The people who publish these surveys should qualify “living” and “existing” before making recommendations. Back to the woman who retired only to discover domestic hell. As I see it, the woman has two problems. Her first problem is her lack of backbone and she is married to the second one, who is most likely sitting under a beach umbrella swilling beer. If the woman decides to remain at the beach, she should send guests to the early bird dinner at the Waffle House. Allow them to discover sand in their unmade beds. A week long bout of indigestion and sand rash does wonders to hasten unwelcome guest’s departures.

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