And climb the stairs to the beach...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Babes Without Boundaries or Sam and Ed's Most Excellent Adventure

Yesterday Ed and I went to Vanderbilt Beach, a very nice beach in Naples where we don't usually go, but our friends like it. Sandy called and invited us to join her and husband Ron there. We loaded up the car with towels, lotion, reading material and beach chairs and we headed out. The reading material, it would turn out, was unnecessary.
Perfect Beach Day yesterday, but very very hot.

As we drove the 30 minutes or so to the beach I received a text from Sandy saying that the beach was practically empty, except for one rather loud woman who had chosen to sit down right in front of them. How I hate that! An entire beach to sit on and she and her friend plop down directly in front of them so they can't see the water without having to see them first. And this one, apparently, was loud, to boot. Some people just don't respect that personal space we all require. Space invaders, I call them. 

At Vanderbilt there is a parking garage about a five to ten minutes walk along the street toward a cul de sac where the beach meets a cobble stoned sidewalk and a turn-around and drop off spot. Ed and I decided to schlep the beach bags and chairs and walk from the garage rather than dropping off and driving back to park. As I struggled a little under the weight of the beach bag and the awkwardness of the beach chair, not to mention feeling self conscious in public in my bathing suit and cover up, which is nothing new for this plump 60+ grandmotherly type, I heard footsteps rapidly approaching from behind. Naturally, I stepped aside in order to allow the faster foot traffic to pass.

The drop off area, beach entrance to the left.

I was behind Ed as we went single file and was the first to see the person who was passing us. It was a tall, tanned, lovely young thing in a thong bikini, moving quickly, sashaying as she walked in model like fashion. So fit was she that there was almost no jiggle. I was taken aback because no matter how many times I see a thong on a beach I just cant get used to the fact that someone would wear one in public! Not to mention, she was walking along the sidewalk probably all the way from the public parking garage. Couldn't she have at least thrown on a pair of shorts or something?

As Thong-girl passed us, I could only imagine what Ed would be thinking once she went by him. As he got the full picture of her perfectly tanline-less derriere, he turned to me wide eyed with bouncing eyebrows and a stupid little grin on his face. I expected him to break out singing "With a Thong in My Heart". But he didn't.

Just then, Ron came from the beach in the opposite direction, on his way to get Sandy a drink at the little corner store nearby. As Ron passed by, Ed pointed out the view of the nearly bottomless girl and Ron said  "Sandy is sitting near the entrance to the left. Just follow that girl." Well, that was totally unnecessary to say because even if she hadn't been heading that way I think Ed  would have followed her. I just can't relate to people who are so eager to share their bare naked bottoms with people. I don't care that it was a tanned and toned bottom. It was still her bottom and I really didn't want to look at it. I mean, is there no such thing as modesty anymore?

'With a thong in my heart..'♩ ♪ ♫ ♬.

She disappeared amid the blankets and umbrellas and beach chairs and became just one more of the anonymous people of all shapes and sizes there to enjoy the sun and the sand. By now it was about 10:00 and the beach was starting to fill up, at least as much as it does off season. As we slogged through the sand to rendezvous with our friends, I saw Sandy sitting in her chair with a newspaper held up high in front of her face, clearly trying to enjoy some privacy. But there was a woman leaning over her, sticking her hand out and introducing herself to Sandy. I heard her ask Sandy if she would watch her things for her while she and her friend, an older gentleman, went for a walk on the beach. I thought to myself, I bet that is the loud one she texted me about. Sure enough, it was.
Hello, there! You, reading the newspaper. Can you watch my stuff for me?

We settled down with our friends and wondered out loud what that was all about. I mean, it's kind of unusual to ask a perfect stranger to watch your stuff, I think. And she didn't take the hint that Sandy did not want to engage in conversation with her. Sandy told me that her name was Sam (name changed to protect the innocent). Before we arrived, Sam had also gone over and introduced herself to another couple, trying to latch onto them, inviting herself into their space.  Sandy overheard her say to this couple "Oh, well you can have a sip of mine if you want!" Offering these strangers new best friends a drink from the large thermos mug she was extending toward them. They declined, of course, and somehow were able to shake her off before it got too bad.

Before Sam and her man friend set off on their walk, he remained by the blanket, standing and talking on his cell phone for quite a while. She wandered around by the water, sipping her drink, looking for someone else to talk to. It seemed odd to me that he was really dressed for the street, in cargo shorts  and she in a bikini. Something didn't look right, it was almost as though he really wasn't "with" her-as though they didn't really know each other. But I just dismissed it as they went off on their walk to wherever.

So we chuckled about her forwardness for a while and soon turned our discussion to other topics. Sandy told us a story about the last time they were at that beach. They were sitting near a woman, who they surmised was European from the actions that they had witnessed. This woman came out of the water and sat on her beach blanket in her bikini.  She laid what Sandy described as a tiny hand towel over her lap and proceeded to wriggle out of her bathing suit bottom right there while everyone around her surreptitiously watched from behind their sunglasses or from under the brims of their hats. Then, still seated with the little towel on her lap, she wriggled into a different bikini bottom. Of course Sandy and Ron watched in disbelief (through sunglasses, no doubt). A moment later Ron said to Sandy "Oh damn!" "What?" Sandy asked. "She changed her top, too, and I missed it!" Sandy turned to see what he was talking about and there was her wet bikini top hanging from an umbrella rib. She was wearing a different top, and just beyond the woman's blanket was an old man sitting in his chair, watching her, too, with a big smile on his face. I guess he must not have missed the second act. Sandy and I agreed that was not appropriate behavior for a public beach with little kids all around. I wondered to myself, how is it that she was able to move around under a tiny towel and not be exposed. I'm not sure I could do that under a bath towel, or even a bed sheet!

Back to yesterday's experience. Sandy and I moved our chairs down to the water's edge to put our feet in and get away from Sam's blanket, lest she want to strike up a conversation with us when she and her friend returned from their walk. I think we totally forgot that she had asked Sandy to watch her stuff. Some friend she was! Ron and Ed remained up higher on the beach, discussing sports. We didn't see Sam return from her walk, but they did. They told us that she had kissed her gentleman friend, thanked him for coming and he left her there in her spot right in front of the boys.

Just to set the scene, Sam was in her mid 50s I'd say, or maybe just a hard lived 40s. She was slender, but not a hard body type. She looked a little worn around the edges, sort of tired. Maybe she hadn't slept well the night before. Her skin was very tanned, and wrinkly and she probably spent a lot of time at the beach. She wore her long blonde hair loose, hanging down her back and had on a blue bikini that was a little skimpy, a low rider, shall we say, that sat below a little tanned paunch of a belly. She had a loud, raspy whiskey voice that was not easily tuned out. From a distance she wasn't unattractive, but as Ed would tell me later, close up was a different story.

Sam looked quite attractive from a distance, but close up, not so much.

As Sandy and I chatted in our chairs by the water, from the corner of my eye I saw someone approaching. It was Sam. She was holding one handle of a cammo covered cooler while my husband held the other. She said to me "You don't mind if I borrow your husband for a few minutes do you?" What could I say? Ed just sort of shrugged his shoulders and smiled, helplessly. I turned to Sandy with a stunned look of disbelief and she and I burst out laughing. 

As Sam and Ed walked off toward some unknown spot down the beach, Ron came down and told us that after her gentleman friend left she went over to Ed and Ron and asked if they could help her carry her cooler to another spot down the beach. "It's just down by that yellow building" she said. Ron remained silent and didn't make eye contact with her. Ed, on the other hand, couldn't escape and became Sam's hero, helping out the damsel in distress.

So, Sandy and I continued chatting and laughing about the whole situation, making up scenarios about where she was taking him. After about five minutes went by I said "I can't believe it, they are still walking!" Way off in the distance, we could see the two of them, connected by this cooler, making their way down the beach.  Another few minutes went by and we could still see them walking, cooler suspended between them. By now they were way, way down the beach almost out of sight. I think we watched them for 15 minutes before they were no longer in sight. The gentle waves rolled in and out, higher and higher on the sand, passing our chairs at times, as the tide came in and the sun rose higher in the sky. And still no Ed. 

The people who were sitting near us on the beach and had witnessed the whole thing, including Sam approaching the guys for help, were incredulous as well. "She just has no boundaries." I said. Sandy said "Who does that? Goes up to a perfect stranger and asks them to do something like that? She didn't take the hint when I had the newspaper right up in front of my face that I didn't want to be approached? I knew she was trouble as soon as she put her towel down. Why do you sit right next to the only other people on the beach? And then that other couple couldn't get away from her fast enough. Yes, that's a good way to put it. She has no boundaries!" One woman who had been swimming with  her little two year old and her parents, came out of the water and asked if there was any sign of him yet, and then turned to me on her way by and said "I think when your husband gets back, I will ask him if he'd be willing to watch my little girl for a while!" Of course we all started laughing, and then another woman on the beach called out saying "Oh yes do it! That would be awesome!" Then the woman with the little girl said to us "I asked my father what he would have done and he said  he would have said no. But my mother piped up and said, 'Oh, no he wouldn't!" Another woman said she asked her husband how he would have handled it. "He said he would have told her he was recovering from surgery." Poor Ed. He was just trying to be nice. But, no good deed goes unpunished, as they say. Ed was the talk of the whole beach. and not even there to enjoy it!

We waited and waited and still there was no sign of Ed.  I was thinking maybe there was a pool down at the hotel they were heading toward and Ed went in for a swim. If he sees a pool, he's in it. (A throw back from his pool hopping teenage years on Cape Cod, I think.) Or maybe she invited him to join her, or...well we didn't know what was going on and I really didn't want to speculate, but my imagination was beginning to take off on me. I was laughing with the others about how nervy she was to put him in that position, but at the same time, I have to admit I was a little nervous and worried for Ed. Enough time had gone by that the woman with the little girl had gone back in for another swim and was coming out again when she said to me "We are starting to worry about your husband!" I didn't know what to do and was getting increasingly worried myself. Do we call the cops and tell them my husband walked off with a bikini clad blonde and a cooler and I'm worried about him? That would certainly cause them to put out an APB, don't you think? And then someone spotted him, way off in the distance, heading back our way all by himself. The whole beach let out a collective sigh of relief.

Ed finally made his way back, all eyes on him, a smattering of applause was heard from several blankets in the vicinity. He was exhausted and hot and thirsty and wanted to have something to drink,  go for a dip and then take a nap. But we made him tell us the whole story before he did anything else.

She had made him carry that heavy cooler with her for what he figured was about 2 miles all the way down to The La Playa hotel where her friends were waiting. She had said to Ed as they started off on their journey, "It's just to that yellow building there." Well, there was more than one yellow building and Ed was thinking it was the closest one, not the furthest building on the beach.  At one point on their walk she said to Ed "Are you getting tired? Because if you are, I can just ask that guy over there to take over for you." She pointed to some other guy they were passing, about Ed's age sprawled out in his chair with a towel draped on top of his head, another random stranger trying to enjoy some private time at the beach that she would have no trouble asking. "No, I'm good." said Ed as he trudged along, wondering if that guy would ever know the good deed he had done for him.

See that red arrow? That's where they walked to. Poor guy.
Ed went on to say that when finally they arrived at their destination  her friends said "You should have called us. We would have driven down to get you." Ed was not happy about that. He went on to tell us  Sam was from Nashville and was a carpenter who built sets for movies, the only female in that particular union, so she said. She was the bread winner and her husband stayed at home with the kids in Nashville. Listening to this story, we detail-oriented women wondered what she was doing all by herself in Naples, asking men to help her carry her cooler, but Ed hadn't asked that question. In fact, I don't think he asked any questions. He just listened. She told him the cooler was heavy because it was full of beer, although lighter than it had been when she arrived at the beach that morning. Thank goodness for small favors, I guess. That might account for her loudness and her lack of boundaries, but I am not sure.

After we grilled Ed sufficiently, he made his way back to his chair for a cold drink of water and as he  walked past the blanket where the mother and the little girl were sitting, the mother asked him "Would you mind watching my daughter for a while?" Of course everyone around broke up, including Ed.
Exhausted after his adventure.

The rest of our beach day was uneventful but Sandy suggested it would make a good blog story. And I think she was right. Oh, one more thing. Before we left the beach, we made plans to go to a movie with Ron and Sandy. We were trying to decide whether to go that night or the next when Ed said, "It will have to be tonight. Tomorrow night I am babysitting for that little girl."

Have a great day everyone!

1 comment:

  1. I laughed the whole way through this post. I can totally believe he got stuck carrying that cooler because he's always ready to help anyone who asks. Too nice, that man is. I love how you felt uncomfortable walking down the street in your cover up yet this woman wore only a thing with no cares!

    Wonder if I can get into vanderbilt beach for free? That must be one f the perks of beng an alum!


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