Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Last night we watched the rainless lightning illuminate the clouds. It was right over Lower Manhattan, or maybe it was over Jersey behind it.

As I lay on the beach on Long Island on Saturday I closed my eyes and listened to the conversations around me. A girl had worked in real estate and done real good, she bragged to her friends, but she didn’t want to ever go back. After a while, a man wandered up to them with a rap about how he learned to swim.

“My family had a boat when I was a kid. A lot of us. We were in a bay and we all jumped off. The last one out forgot to drop the anchor. We had to be rescued by the Coast Guard the following day.”

There were murmurs of admiration from the girls.

“You didn’t swim, you didn’t survive,” he said. “Now two of my cousins are Olympic swimmers.”

More cooing. Oh! Ah!

“In the Army they tell you water is like, an obstacle,” he continued. “In the Navy it’s a refuge. The water like, protects you. You not gonna get shot.”

A group of two or three men walked right by our tent, in mid-conversation.

“Sounds like a liberal,” one said.

“... so he gets all naked and starts going on about Donald Trump,” said another.

“Sounds just like a liberal,” he repeated. The word liberal pronounced not with disgust exactly but a kind of exasperated disappointment.