I’ve long said that New Orleans would be perfect if it had a beach.
A nice, BIG beach, preferably facing the Atlantic Ocean so cute boys on surfboards can flock, and dolphins can surface at sunset with their dorsal fins.
But, I don’t live in South Carolina anymore. I live in New Orleans, perhaps the only big city in America surrounded by water that’s not pretty or swimmer-friendly.
It was 80 degrees last Saturday, and I did the next best thing to going to the beach: I wore a bikini top in City Park near water. A man-made lake.
And I saw a SWAN!
Take that, ocean.
OK, so it wasn’t the same at all. Nothing is better than the beach in the summer.
To make matters worse, I got a picture text message from my twin sister, Joy, who still lives in South Carolina. It was a picture of her ON THE BEACH. Just to piss me off.
“BASTARD!” I screamed at my phone, sitting at the park, confusing children riding on the train about why a crazy person was wearing a polka dotted bathing suit NOT on the beach.
Not to be upstaged, I sent Joy back my own picture message: Me at the park (with the lake!!!) drinking the deliciousness that is Abita Strawberry.
Try finding THAT at a Piggly Wiggly grocery store in South Carolina!
Haha, I thought. I’ve got her good. I smugly waited for her response.
My phone vibrated a few minutes later.
“Enjoy the pigeons.”
Haha. BASTARD TWICE!!!
“Enjoy the sand gnats,” I wrote back, which is the only thing that’s annoying about the beach.
(Sand gnats are like mosquitoes and fleas combined, but you can’t see them to squash them, and they take advantage of all your available exposed skin.)
I also wrote to Joy:
“I ENJOYED Mardi Gras.” ZING!
I decided a long time ago that if I won the lottery or was lucky enough to be able to work remotely, I’d live in South Carolina from June-August and New Orleans the rest of the year.
South Carolina in the winter is blah (aside from all the OYSTER ROASTS) and I hear New Orleans in the summer is blah, which is why it’s so hard to get on a kickball team here (It may very well be the only thing going on.)
But it’s not summer yet. It’s flowery, and crisp, and spring, so according to my fantasy life, I’m right where I want to be.
And I’m going to ENJOY Jazz Fest next month. SNAP
But, after getting a taste of life without a beach, I can’t say I’m looking forward to June, when I’ll start hauling a baby pool out to the backyard.
(Some New Orlenians insist that you can swim in Lake Ponchatrain and not have your skin burn off, but I still remember when pollution was so bad and gross that our elementary school art class spray-painted stencils on all the sewer drains in the neighborhood with the message: DO NOT WASTE, DRAINS TO LAKE.
People dump God knows what into those drains. Car engine oil? Battery acid?? Dirty diapers?!?? No thanks.
Also, the Mississippi River here is more “industrial” than “Tom Sawyer,” and swimming in it will actually kill you in one of three ways: dangerous currents and undertows, mutant SIX-FOOT-LONG catfish, or getting hit by a barge.)
So, I’m stuck either crashing hotel pools or sitting in a baby pool. By myself. All summer long.
At least there’s kickball.
And no sand gnats.