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24 Aug 2010

A confession: the closest I’ve been to the beach — any beach — this summer has been the Coney Island boardwalk.  Another confession: I’m a little beach-hesitant these days.  (“These days” has apparently lasted for the past 30 years or so.)  My parents tell me that when they took me to the beach outside Saigon when I was a wee baby, I loved it, crawling out to the water’s edge with brash aplomb.  I’m assuming that a subsequent childhood and teenage life in Southern California and all of its attendant bikini madness ebbed away whatever nascent love I had developed for the shore. While I was in graduate school, my parents sold their suburban home and moved out to a rented house down in Playa Del Rey; whenever I came home to visit, I never made use of the surf and sand, but instead ran on the extensive bike paths that wound around the shore, and gawked at all of the sun-loving Angelenos, beach-volleyballing their days away.  I often wondered if Walter Benjamin made it out to any European shores; I suspected that he was just as crowd-averse.  That suspicion made my own aversion more acceptable, or so I reasoned to myself.

That said, I *have* been out to Fort Tilden in years past, before it was overrun with just about every last hip young person in search of uncrowded summertimeness.  I was the bespectacled lady with the pinhole and SLR cameras, sunning awkwardly in her bikini, waiting for the sun to fade a bit, so that the light would be ever so better for a photograph.  Some people toss around a football or frisbee, or dive into the sand after a volleyball.  I’m ok with these photos as evidence of my own version of basking in the sun.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Frederick Veith permalink
    24 Aug 2010 3:59 am

    Well Benjamin did summer on Ibiza in the 30s. There’s even photographic evidence of it here:

  2. 24 Aug 2010 5:56 pm

    I imagine that being stoned while on Ibiza probably helped WB tremendously, even if this was long before Ibiza’s reputation as a big raver spot. And while WB wrote some pretty interesting things while high, I don’t think I’d trust myself with my cameras in that state. (Not that I know from experience or anything, ahem.)

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