I like the beach. I know...laugh it up ocean people. Laugh it up at my beach. Whatever - The Great Lakes are 20% of the world's fresh water supply so when you get thirsty and run your wells and canals dry...it is the Midwesterners that will be having the last laugh.
I don't care to prance around in a bathing suit in intimate situations. Intimate situations being overcrowded beaches. The North Ave and Oak St beaches of the world do nothing for me.
I like something more unappreciated.
I happened upon MY beach when I first moved back to Chicago. I lived in The LP at the time and took a long bike ride up the lake front path. I got tired and set up camp at what I believe is know as Hollywood Beach or Osterman Beach. It is at about 5800 North.
I was on the south end of the beach.
After setting myself up I took a look around and noted....I was surrounded by men in dainty Speedos. I was the only woman an this beach. Odd....there were two options: I either rode my bike to Europe or I was at the gay beach. Clearly it was the later. It was so hot that day and all I wanted to do was get in the water and cool off. But I knew I could not. These gay men would judge me worse than a 19 year old sorority girl at North Ave Beach. I was on the brink of heat exhaustion, I began to think I would die in my dramatic special overly dramatic way. After what felt like years, the beach cleared out and I made a break for the water. Sweet, sweet possibly hazardous Lake Michigan water.
I was informed later that the south end of the beach was indeed a well established gay playground, while the north half of the beach was the immigrant family beach. So I returned to the north side and this became MY beach.
Why? It is simple. I feel comfortable there. In my twisted mind: if English is your second language - you can't see cellulite or fat. This must be true. Europeans have no shame and I like it. The men: overweight and proudly walking around in what appears to be your standard Hanes cotton brief. But then you note an embroidered palm tree and an exotic words, like Del Mar - proof that it is in fact meant for swimming and beaching in a land not known as the United States. Then there is the women. The over 50 women, clad in bikinis. There have been three times where i have seen a 50 plus woman on this beach rip of her shirt to bear her breasts to Chicago and put on a bikini top. This is why I love it. These visions teamed with the a mixture of foreign tongues: For a moment...I am in fact on a European vacation.
So on this most recent rip to the beach I was having a hell of a time with the sand flies.
Lets get some things straight about me: I am not a big fan of insects. While I lay their annoyed with every fly that landed on my body, I pondered some big questions. My peasant skin: was it failing me? Or was this just more proof of my peasantry? Perhaps although my very white skin could deflect UV rays, it at the same time, was sensitive to insects landing on it. Was this just more proof? Perhaps my ancestors needed to be aware of tics and such. Those with nonsensitive skin died off to Lyme Disease, West Nile or whatever deadly disease you get from bugs that make them so highly dangerous and intolerable to the most courageous of man. This highly superior sensing technology skin is why I can't camp.
Now don't be that insane campers that mistakes the non-camper for someone that hates trees and landscape and has no respect for the outdoors. Nothing could be further from the truth. I just don't want to sleep with it. I do not want to make love to the sweet outdoors. I want to enjoy it and then go back to civilization: pronto. I want to know there is running water and a shower moments away not 7 hours away. I can not commit myself to endless days in nature. I don't hate nature. I just can't do it. I wasn't raised that way and I have never learned to like it. I tried. In a half assed way? Yes - but I tried. But it never worked. I hate myself for it. I feel like I would be a cooler person if I camped. But it is not me. I am miserable and uncomfortable the entire time.
Plus - let's look at the facts. I have a way of attracting unconventional illnesses and drama. I have had the shingles three times, I was stung by a scorpion in my own bed and I got amoebic dysentery from a bean burrito...do you really think I want to tempt the fate of the outdoors? Bears will find me and rip my head off given the opportunity. I will be involved in the first recorded case of a rabid deer heard attack. This is the kind of luck I have. I attract crazy people - I will attract crazy animals and insects. Believe me...I will. And really - I think this day at the beach proves that crazy insects love me...or maybe i am just a big 'ol baby.
So at the beach: I am flailing about at every fly. The odd part was these flies were mentally challenged. Or perhaps I was a magician. If one landed on my hand - I flung my hand and looked at my hand...fly still there. I flung again...two flies. Abra cadabra. I was like a magician doing the trick where one white dove is on his arm, he waves his arm and the one turns into two. What the heck? Am I magic? After this occurred several times I considered trying to walk across the lake. Maybe I am the offspring of God - what could explain this magic?
I looked around...no one else was flailing and fitting like me. I thought: well..they were all here longer than I. Maybe the flung enough earlier and the flies learned to stay away...........oh great - I am out of my mind. Now I am assuming that somehow the flues can be trained in a matter of minutes. I am ridiculous.
Mind over matter. I give it up. I will not let the flies ruin my time. I will ignore. I put my book away and just laid on my back. I could feel them one me. Nope...NO...I can't feel them...I am ignoring them. This did not last long. I knew what I looked like. I looked like a one of those Ethiopian children with flies running amok on their faces from a 1980's charity commercial featuring Sally Struthers. There was a fly playing in my eyelashes at that moment, another screwing around on my elbow, two on on my left hand and there were at least 12 on my legs.
That was it.
I sat up, armed with my book I went on a killing spree.
After the insurgents...I noted that the casualties were somewhere in the high teens. I was proud...a gentleman on a towel 15 feet from me said "Flies?"
"yes...no one seems bothered but me"
"oh you just have to shoo them away and it is fine"
"well...that wasn't really working...they still came - it is like they are glued to me - perhaps I smell of manure"
I became highly annoyed that he did not show any amusement in my joke...this lead me to believe that I do in fact smell of manure.
That fucking fly loving, hippy, tree-hugging bastard pissed me off. Did he not see me flailing around like I was having a epileptic seizure prior to this event?? He certainly did not care then. He only cared when he saw the god damn fly genocide going on. He should have been grabbing my tongue 20 minutes ago. Instead he insinuates that I smell of cow shit and makes me look a fool. A foolish baby that can't handle some flies.
Clearly the man has no sense of humor and I can not be in the company of him or his fly friends.