“How was the waugh-da?” the girl at the deli asked, from behind the salad counter. I stopped this morning on my way home from the beach to see if the Wave had come in.
“It was great,” I said.
“What the hell?” said the cashier, registering my wet hair and towel. I think this is the girl I once lost patience with. I told her to concentrate on what she was doing.
“She goes there every day,” the first girl said.
“Not every day,” I said.
She’s seen me twice now this week. As long as I'm staying in Rockaway, I try to go for a dip before work at least three out of five mornings a week. Otherwise, what am I out there for? This morning it was overcast, and I might have used that as an excuse not to go in the water, but I knew I would regret it, so I went. Clean, not too cold, with good, regular, long-breaking waves, maybe a suggestion of a rip tide.
After my swim, sitting on a towel with a cup of coffee, I noticed down the beach lots of surfers hanging on the water in their black wetsuits. They don’t mind if it’s overcast. Gulls were dropping clams from on high to break them open. I had piping plovers in stereo: cheep-cheep cheep-cheep cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep. I wonder if they have only one pitch, and if I will ever be organized enough to take a pitch pipe with me to the beach to find out.
And the Wave had come in—the local paper, that is. I'm saving it till I get home tonight and can read about the latest parking controversy.