Dearest beach lovers,
As promised, I’d make my next post playful. And playful it shall be. But I have also promised that in my letters that I’d be authentic. Part of authenticity means offering truth despite the flak I might receive when it’s given.
With that said, this letter is to all you beach lovers. You annoying, basic, territorial beach lovers.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a good Mai-Tai in the sand with my squad as much as the next girl. But why is it when this question poses itself during casual conversations or silly icebreakers at work, each beach person loses their ever-loving mind when people voice responses that are contrary to their opinions?
“Would you rather mountains or beach?”
Cue the outcry.
“BEACH, PLEASE. GET THAT MOUNTAIN AIR AWAY FROM MY PIÑA COLADA. GOOD TIMES AND TAN LINES. AM I RIGHT OR AM I RIGHT???”
Listen, I get it. I like the beach, too. It has a wonderful place in my heart. But, like…why are we so obsessed? And why do we get SO ANGRY when someone says they aren’t fans of the beach? I wouldn’t talk about it if I haven’t seen it happen, without a doubt, EVERY time the question is asked.
This exact incident occurred at a professional development I attended not too long ago. The presenter used this question in hopes it would spark conversation between unfamiliar faces, and boy, did it.
It wasn’t full on rage at first. It was more like an abrupt “Why is this question even being asked” feel among people. Then, the debate launched like the first shot in battle with several loud, dominant voices blurting, “BEACH. BEACH. BEACHBEACHBEACH.” It’s important to note there was no explanation attached after saying “BEACH.” It was as if the blurt spoke for itself. The chorus of BEACH responses ironically mimicked the seagulls on ‘Finding Nemo’ that blurt “MINE. MINE.” A tad annoying, but a response nonetheless.
Then, that quiet, brave soul gathered enough courage to step out and speak her mind.
“I kind of like the mountains.”
Oh, hell. Becky, why’d you have to go and say something stupid like that?
“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? GET OUT OF HERE WITH YOUR MOUNTAIN TALK. PALM TREES AND 80 DEGREES.”
I think I blacked out for the next 15 minutes as the one-sided debate continued and poor, uncomfortable Becky sank down into her chair.
Guys…I’m Becky. It was me. And you know what? I’ve found my voice.
Apparently, there’s research that your preference reveals a lot about your personality. According to the Journal of Research in Personality, introverted people tend to head to the mountains where interaction with people is limited, whereas extroverted people tend to head to the beach because there is more opportunity for interaction. All I’m saying is, there are a few things you extroverted beach people need to learn from us mountain folk. (Spoiler: it’s not camping or fishing).
First off, why are you as territorial as a male dog on a fire hydrant when it comes to the beach? Every one of you has a beach you like to claim as your own. There’s the Daytona people, the the Miami people, the Seaside people, the St. Augustine people…Listen, beaches. Last I checked, your name is not Ponce de Leon. You didn’t discover anything. That beach ain’t yours. Letitgo.
Next, beach people: stop being basic. Sand is not new. Neither are waves. Or water.* Or your raving about the beach like it is something we have never experienced before. I’ve been to the beach. I enjoy the beach. And I, too, take boomerangs of the waves on my toes. But stop convincing me of its value like I’ve never been there. This isn’t my first
rodeo…I mean…visit to the shore.
*Side note- Do you know what IS new about the beach? MyBeachCart. This innovative cart carries all your crap in one trip! ONE!!! Get one at MyBeachCart.com, Amazon, or eBay! [shameless ad]
Perhaps the research is saying more than it lets on. Maybe to cool your extroverted beach jets, you need to sacrifice a few days in the sun and retreat to a hidden cabin in the mountains. Make yourself some tea. Wrap yourself in a blanket. Find a perfect rocking chair on a giant porch. Rock, sip, and cuddle the angst away. May I suggest Boone, North Carolina for this eye-opening experience?
In all seriousness, no other topic lights a fire like this one does. If you don’t believe me, try it on for size the next time you want to get off-track at the next staff meeting. Or when you’re at a formal dinner and want to spice things up. Or when you just get into one of those moods where you feel like creating lasting rifts in collegial relationships and friendships.
But mountain people, do me a favor and grab your cutest flannel and bullet-proof vest before starting the convo. You’re going to need them.
Sincerely done with y’all,