No sensible person would swim in the cold ocean water off the coast of New York at the beginning of June, but Kina is no sensible person. She is, however, endowed with the sort of metabolism that inures children to extreme temperatures, and with an abiding love of the sea. This is fine, and I am very happy for her, however, Kina cannot swim, which means that I must also be in the cold ocean water, and I, dear reader, am a sensible person.
We didn’t originally plan to go to the beach yesterday morning, but an early hitch in our plans for the day meant that Laurea and I were suddenly able to make up for our rainy Memorial Day weekend and catch some rays. We threw everything but our beach tent in the trunk, hit the BQE, realized that we hadn’t thrown the beach tent in the trunk, stopped to buy a beach umbrella, cursed the traffic, played several Broadway tunes at Kina’s request, and, finally, found a parking spot at Jacob Riis.
The first thing Kina wanted to do was jump in the water, but the waves were high and the water was cold. She was relentless, and we ended up carrying her past the shore break and into the icy chest-deep ocean. Every inch of my body hurt; she was thrilled. Over the course of the day, we performed that peculiar early June dance of walking back and forth between the shore to the sole-scalding beach six times. From the waves, Kina heckled the timid adults at the edge of the surf and squealed in glee as her teeth chattered. I held her aloft as the waves broke over my head and dragged my sunglasses into the murky depths. Kina pressed her cheek tightly to mine and squeezed my neck as we were carried up over the swells. I could only persuade her to leave the water by telling her that I would freeze to death. She complied.
When we weren’t in the water, Kina was either rolling around in the hot sand to restore her core temperature or begging to go back into the ice water. I don’t know what was wrong with me, but I kept taking her back in. You’ll do a lot for a kid, even when their proportion of metabolism-driving brown fat is significantly higher than your own and you cannot feel your own toes. She had a really great day, and in hindsight, so did Laurea and I. Kina ate chicken fingers and I froze my ass off; it all comes out in the wash.
Today’s Parade is, duh, the beach. Laurea originally intended for the water to be at the bottom of this landscape, but Kina decided that the white part should actually be the beach, and not the sky, and painted our little beach blanket there. At the edge of the water, you will see the three of us, exhilarated and freezing.