There was a "heat warning" for the city yesterday. Heat, as in flip-flops melting into the sidewalk, you will be cooked in the oven of the pavement.
So, my homosexual life partner, Patrick, and I threw some sarongs in a bag, rolled a joint, poured a bottle of Bonny Doon Pacific Rim Riesling into a discreet container and went to the beach.
Patrick is an ideal beach companion. You can always count on him to say something unexpectedly gut-busting. For instance, yesterday was also quite windy by the coast. I think I ate a pound of sand. As one particularly strong gust of air blew grains of fine beach sand onto my body like a million bee stings I screamed,
"I hate this sand!"
Patrick said sweetly, "It' not sand. It's God making love to you!"
"Well, I have had enough, God, stop fucking me!"
For $13.50, New Yorkers can take the Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station and be at gorgeous Long Beach in 45 minutes. My friends and I try to go to one of New York's fine beaches at least once a week during the summer. Otherwise, for $50, you can swim at the rooftop pool at the Holiday Inn on 57th Street.
Or, you can just sit naked in your apartment with the A/C on, drinking a bottle of vodka and eating popsicles.
Patrick and I scurried to catch the 10:46 train. We chose an empty car and spread out over facing seats so we could read the paper and complain about the world together. Patrick was blissfully immersed in a Post that someone had left behind on the seat and I was reading a David Sedaris essay in The New Yorker when I noticed a head of white-blonde curls to my right.
A boy, about 3 years old, was standing in the aisle carrying a bright yellow beach ball covered in spiky nubs. He wore a black and red striped swimming jumper and when he laughed his eyes registered shock at the force of his whole body expelling mirth.
The boy was accompanied by two adult men. They occupied the seat across the aisle from us. One man sported a grown-out black mullet and high water drawstring pants. Around his neck hung a set of keys a janitor would appreciate. They dangled from a black strap that read "Urban Criminal."
The other man had curls like the little boy, but darker and more pubic looking. He looked like a cross between pre-Baywatch David Hasselhoff and Screech. He wore thick treaded mandals and loose fitting faux linen (flinen?)pants.
The little boy exhibited the natural glee that kids experience while watching the world whisk by outside a train window. The men were speaking Dutch, but their outfits sad Eurotrash.
At one point, the curly-haired man said to the little boy, "Can you speak any English?"
The mullet-haired man shook his head sternly.
"No?! Bugger off?"
This caused both men to laugh generously.
Mullet man spoke, "Try. Say, 'Bye-Bye!' 'Bye-Bye!'." He picked up the boy's tiny hand and shook it up and down like he was waving.
Curly man scoffed. "Yeah. Buy! Buy! Buy more!"
I'm not what you would call "patriotic." In fact, some faction of the truly patriotic might call me some sort of pejorative un-American throwaway term. I think it is inaccurate to assume that someone who does not gleefully boast about being American is also a "Freedom Hater" or "Terrorist." Although I am not shy about my disgust for the blatant rape of civil liberty that happens under the current administration, it does not mean I revel in listening to outsiders demeaning the U.S.
It's like, you can make fun of the members of your family because they belong to you. Other people should practice a bit of caution.
It surprised me that I bristled at the Dutch man's disdain for capitalism because I, too, take issue with the way that capitalism can be a degrading factor in the quality of society. But, I am a hypocrite because I appreciate the spoils of a capitalist society.
I sat there trying to get a handle on what I thought of our train companions when the automated train voice announced the next stop. "Train to Long Beach, next stop Jamaica."
Curly man turned to me and said, "Excuse me, could you tell me, are we going to Jamaica, Queens?"
I said, "Yes." Then I stopped. "No."
"No. Actually, we are going to Jamaica Jamaica."
Patrick and I guffawed.
The curly man looked us over and smiled uncertainly. "Well, we are going to Long Beach which is supposed to be in California, so . . ." He chuckled.
Patrick piped in, "I grew up with a kid who thought that you could take a train to Hawaii and that North was always in front of you."
This caused both Patrick and I to fall over ourselves laughing. The curly haired man just stared.
Finally he said, "I can tell why you two are so happy. I'm from Amsterdam. I have a sense for these things."
I protested, "No, we're always like this."
Patrick added, "Maybe you are not used to seeing such happy Americans. Most of this country are miserable fucks."
"We're not American. We're New Yorkers!"
Again, we erupted in laughter.
The curly haired man turned back to his companions and shrugged. He looked at mullet guy like, "I think they're high, but they might just be crazy."
I guess there are worse impressions we could have left.
Patrick's Dance of the Seven Sarongs
After beach cocktail hour at my place.
Greyhound fizz: Vodka, Grapefruit, club soda, lime wedge.