Monday, July 31, 2006

I got off the train at Beach Something Etc. and walked south along a crappy cracked street towards the water. I passed an isolated public school (125, I think). It looked to be closed for the summer; however, the playlot was open and a bunch of orthodox Jews inside were playing dodgeball. I kept walking, eyes forward, not wanting to provoke a firestorm of kosher bombardment. The sidewalks were tilted and cracked and barely partitioned the over- and undergrowth from the patchy asphalt street. I did hear a cicada, which is a rarity. A bit of summer in Indiana thrown into my brain. It seemed desolate and quiet, the perfect place to dump a body. (Hmmm...)

I reached the boardwalk and simply stooped low and walked under it to get to the beach. The many tracks in the sand made me feel okay. There was a couple decked out in beach gear, sitting only feet from the high tide and enjoying a lovely smoke. The first thing I did was drop my ass into the sand and pull off the shoes, tie them to my bag. Then I slathered on the sun screen, stood up, and began walking east up the beach. The beach was really shell-y, with the occasional dead jellyfish washed up, thick, glassy and transparent like the bottom of a soda bottle.

It was hot. I was getting hungry. I wanted some summer food: something meaty and salty and fatty, preferably wrapped in doughy white bread with fries and washed down with a coke. So I kept moving east towards a section of the beach that seemed more populated. I was most sadly mistake. There was NOTHING along thing strip of beach: a comfort station which (for once) had both onion-shaped dispensers of pink hand soap AND a full box of paper towels. So. I washed up and kept heading east, past a boarded up joint with a turquoise ziggurat roof displaying a wooden sign with a burger on it. East again past an "adult" home (whatever that means), east again past a red-iron skeletal framework condo building, still east past an short avenue lined with traditional family homes, a street lined with big old sour sycamores, a street that carried on strong right to the edge of the water: large white-and-orange barricade would keep you from driving any further. I turned north near a bridge, sure that I would hit a major commercial thoroughfare. Again--predictably--I was wrong. I walked to to an intersection that looked more like a highway cloverleaf: no sidewalk, no invitation to do anything but walk back in the opposite direction. So I did. A walk back along a minor weed-choked road that aligned with a major road...and I kept walking.

Like I said, I just wanted something summer-y, and the longer I walked the less particular I became. I walked for ten blocks or so and I got propositioned by an actual real-life hooker with hickeys and bruises ("You wanna go somewhere?" "Uh, no thanks, bruise- and hickey-covered lady."). Finally, I found a shitty Chinese place and I got the lunch special, General Tso's Chicken (bad) with two desultory sprigs of broc, along with fried rice with fatty, cadmium-red stained glob of pork (worse) and a coke (okay, actually). I ate it on the boardwalk as rapacious gulls and pigeons settled down around me. A flick of the wrist drove them away but only momentarily; I was sure to die at some point but my leftovers would live forever, they seemed to be saying. After that, I headed back down to the beach for about 20 minutes of sun bathing before it started to look stormy.

So. A not-so-quick walk along the boardwalk until I got near a decent trainstop. Took a photo from the platform (see attached) and hopped on the train. At the Broad Channel station, a couple of dudes got on carrying surfboards, my first indication that I'd gone in the wrong direction when it came to trains. (They came from the west.) I hopped on the Airtrans and whipped easily back to the E. I was home and six-packed within 30 min.

And so my relaxation goes...

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