On city beaches
The beaches I enjoy most are city beaches. Where you can run your hands through the sand and pull out a chip packet. Or you are wading waste deep in the water watching a container ship head towards the docks and then accidentally brush past some stranger’s leg. One day the water is clear, but the next day it is brown-ish and stinks. “I can’t even enjoy a blade of grass unless I know there’s a subway handy, or a record store or some other sign that people do not totally regret life,” Frank O’Hara wrote. I feel the same about beaches. I like beaches that you can take the train to and sit and look at the people instead of just staring at the unjudgeable ocean. Like La Barceloneta beach or Jacob Riis in New York. Families with cooler bags. Friends reading books and putting cigarettes out in the sand. Tattoos and body hair. The older, skinny, sun-baked men who lay out a single towel and then methodically tan and swim without saying a word to anyone. Lots of people think that the pristine and remote beach is better but why? Because it is private and clean? Is that what you value? When I go to the beach I would like to be seen there. Also, it’s not a big deal if you forget to bring a bottle of water to the city beach because there is a tap nearby or a kiosk that sells beer and sandwiches. I went twice to the city beach last week when it was hot. The second time I ate fish and chips with a friend and then we got into the sea as the sun was setting. Everyone stayed in the water and turned towards the horizon like it was the end of a movie, or actually the beginning of one, a dystopian movie: the citizens of the city have gathered at the beach to watch whatever it is coming over the horizon to upend their lives, finally aware of what was at stake all along. I should come to the beach more, I thought to myself, once the sun had disappeared and I was starting to get goosebumps. Maybe I should come in winter. But then I remembered that in winter the city beach is for walking. And those who sit on city beaches in winter don’t want to be seen, for whatever reason.
1. A Diary in Alphabetical Order, a newsletter by Sheila Heti.
2. In the Country, very short stories by A.L. Snijders.
3. My First Impressions of web3, an essay by Moxie Marlinspike.
4. A tweet, by me.