I went to the beach for the first time this year on Wednesday. A couple of friends of mine joined me. We took our lunch and ate it there, on the beach, without having to fight off too many seagulls. I did not dip a toe in the ocean though I should have. One should always touch the water when he or she finds themselves at the end of land. Despite the fact that it was in the upper seventy degrees the wind was rolling and sand kept hitting and rubbing our skin like sandpaper making it feel much cooler. But the sun shone on continuously with nary a cloud in the sky.
It was because of the chilly air that I did not put on sunscreen. I know, I know – not smart. At least my face was covered from my moisturizer.
Being at the beach is a lot like mania. At first it is exciting – loading up the car, getting out the travel snacks and coffee. There is this anticipation of what is coming next. I know it. It is that moment when I HAVE TO HAVE a cigarette and I never smoke. I know mania is right around the bend.
Then you reach the ocean and you grab all your stuff from the car – towels, cold drinks from the cooler, your bag, your sunhat. You impatiently pay for parking because you just want to feel the sand between your toes. This is like you manic speech. Always interrupting, running quickly from your mouth. In that manic moment you may not even realize you are doing it, but to others it is quite odd and out of character.
As you walk you get a view of the ocean and, without fail, there will be a catch in your throat ’cause that is beauty. You will walk across the beach finally digging your feet into the sand. You and your friends will find the ‘perfect’ spot. This is when mania feels so good. When you are having sex with whatshisname. It is when you are spending $3,000 on Victoria Secret products online. You are at the race track. You are a genius and you want everyone to know it. Perhaps you have written the most heart warming book. Maybe your painting rivals the works of Picasso.
Whatever poison you pick, it feels so damn good. You can fly or at least I once thought I could. That is the sun, warm as I lay there on my blue striped towel.
But then the wind picks up and that sand you walked through starts to hit you in the body. Soon it is sandpaper all over your skin. There is sand in your mouth, nose, ears and hair. It is everywhere. During mania, this is the part you start to peak your head out and take a look at the damage. Who was whatshisname and why did you fuck him in the bathroom of some bar last night? What if your partner finds out? You have no way of paying for all those bras and panties. You lost at the tracks. Your soon to be famous manuscript is really just a pile of paper you scribbled on.
You pack up your things after a fun day and notice, well more like feel, your sunburn. Mania can hurt too when we get ourselves back to our regular selves. There is a lot of explaining to do and not everyone is going to accept or understand it. I find people do not understand me, and that just has to be okay.