I have this long held yet to be disproved theory that if you build a baseball stadium in any town in America ladies of a certain age with score books and pencils will simply show up, buy season tickets, and sit behind home plate for every game. It’s some kind of law of nature; older women all over the country are in search of ballgames to chart. It’s the same way with the coast: whether it is because of the proximity to salt water tides or simply because beaches represent the edge of society, there are certainly Beach People.
Without any doubt, one of the reasons that we live in Central Florida is so that we can take off and go to the beach pretty much any time we’d like. We can be to the Atlantic Ocean in an hour and the Gulf in about 2 hours (Tampa’s traffic is inevitably going to slow you down). We like the coasts equally, choosing the east coast when we want more beach time, the west coast when we want to mix in some of Tampa’s highlights like Major League Baseball, museums, and concerts.
This weekend we went to New Smyrna Beach, just south of Daytona, for a little beach time and a chance for me to ride out on the roads along the Canaveral National Seashore. The ride was great, downhill and into the wind on the way out and nicely wind aided coming home. My trusty single speed loved the relative flatness of A1A and the heat of the Florida sun was mostly avoided by my kind-of early rising. (I kind- of hate early rising.)
When we arrived in New Smyrna, Teresa and I chuckled about the people you see in beach towns, no matter which town, which beach, which coast, there are interchangeable characters that you see in every single beach town. The beach attracts a certain type of person and we are, perhaps, among them.
The very first guy you will see in any beach town is Skinny Smoking Crusty Guy. He’s weathered and he’s probably headed into or out of a 7/11. He looks like a good wind will blow him away and he’s a sad looking testament to the philosophy of “There but for the grace of God go I” and he manages to survive, buying his cigs, PBR, and lottery tickets from the cash he earns somehow.
Jeep Full of Girls and their soul match: Pick Up Truck Full of Boys: Oh to be young and single and boat-less. Remember, you can drive on many Florida beaches and the country music, portable tents, beer coolers, and Frisbees are the movable feasts of the coasts. Tats, sunscreen, and beards are required attire.
Shuffling Old Couple is usually found trying to park their Lincoln at a grocery store or headed to dinner at 4:00 PM. They are shrunken, tanned, and bearing coupons.
Triathlete Person: I went for a bike ride Friday morning and passed a blonde runner. I passed her again at dinner time, she was either doing 2 a days or still running. Triathlete person makes me want to tell her the same thing I want to tell Metal Detector Person: “Just enjoy the damn beach.”
Local Realtor: There’s at least 2 in every town, their gigantic head shots competing on the for sale signs of their clients’ homes. Local realtor is also a life coach or yoga instructor.
Surfer Dude: Yup, some still drive VW minivans.
Hippies: found manning an organic tea shoppe, tee shirt shoppe, crystal shoppe, or wind chime emporium near Main Street, usually next to a nail salon and an art gallery. They will tell you about your aura.
Empty Mansion: I wanted to talk about beach house owning rich guy but I’ve never seen one, at least outside his home. There’s something about beautiful beach houses: they are pretty much always empty. You never, ever, see someone cooking in those beautiful outdoor kitchens, sunning themselves on the ocean view porches, or even looking out the windows. Beach houses appear to be more like trophies than homes.
Trophy Wife: She’s around, in all her Botox and silicone beauty and often seen in small packs. And it breaks her heart to think her love is only given to a man with hands as cold as ice.
Belly Busting Cuban Shirt Guy: Yea, he’s not ashamed of that boiler, it took dedication and hard work to earn it and hell yea, he’ll go to the beach!
Leather Woman: A cautionary tale: a lifetime of baby oil and sun worshiping does not end well.
Cyclists: Beach Cruisers, roadies, townies: you are all my friends. Whether you ride on the beach or the roads, I wish I was riding with you.