Unification News For January 1996


Beach Ball

Most prison movies seem to have a similar formula. They all have a scene where one of the prisoners defies the commandant. The guards stick him in solitary confinement in the box which is sitting out in blinding sunlight. After a while the prisoner notices that if the guards were to dab him with some barbecue sauce and flip him over a few times, they could probably serve him later with french fries and cokes. ("Why, this tastes like chicken," he might imagine them murmuring.)

The house I live in reminds me of that. It has symbolic porthole-type windows. The concept of ventilation never crossed the builders' minds. They never considered that air conditioning doesn't just appear magically when it gets hot. The temperature in this house is similar to a blast furnace since our air conditioning broke a month ago. I discovered it had broken one day when I went downstairs to the basement to put some laundry in the dryer and found myself up to my ankles in water. The repair man came and charged us $120 to shine a flashlight into the panel on the side of the central air conditioning unit. "See, it's broken," he said." It's leaking." A squirchet had disengaged from a wucca wucca belt and it would cost $800 to fix it. So we plugged in a fan.

Yesterday we were expecting guests, so when I got up I began to clean the house. Within minutes I had to do a Heimlich maneuver on my brand- new, second-hand Electrolux vacuum cleaner. It had sucked up some big wad of googah and the motor started to sing a high pitched aria. After about a minute the whining stopped suddenly and the vacuum began to spit dirt on the carpet instead of inhaling it. I knelt beside the corpse of my Electrolux and used my fingers to pick up the biggest gobs of dirt. After about 10 minutes of that I was drenched with sweat and spitting nails.

My innocent husband was in the next room shaving. I went in to greet him resembling Bette Davis in, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? After about three minutes of conversation I had managed to call him an expletive and had told him to shut up. Well, "good morning to you, too."

Our guests came and went. I apologized in tears for being so crabby. By this time it was about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon. Then Peter had a revelation.

Let's go to the ocean!

We live around 100 miles from Virginia Beach, so it wasn't an impossible idea. Somehow I became paralyzed again with the monotone of worries pumping through my mind. We don't have any clean towels. There's no air conditioning in the car and we'll be poached in our own sweat. The kids will be so hot they'll start mindlessly gnawing on each other. Besides, by the time we get to the beach it'll be dark.

I was cranking up into one of my world-class worry fits.

Then Peter looked at me, his eyes full of comfort and warmth. He said, "Let's just go and have a good time." "Yeah!" I said.

So we ran around wildly, gathering up towels, sunscreen, bathing suits and whatnot. It took us two hours to get to the town of Virginia Beach. Then we spent a half an hour traveling 5 feet per ten minute interval because of the idiotic traffic lights. (9 minutes and 45 seconds waiting at a red light and 15 desperate seconds to try to squeeze through a green light.)

But we finally arrived!

We played in the waves for almost two hours. I was careful to remove the baby's diaper after it had swollen to eleven times his weight and had begun to engulf him. (And I disposed of it responsibly!)

Watching my husband frolic in the waves was so great too. There we were, swimming in our clothes, too embarrassed to be seen on the beach in European spandex. Wave after wave filled our underwear with sand. Who needs a loofah?

The stress of life is so all-consuming. No wonder there are disgruntled postal workers. People need time to play and laugh. Sometimes I feel like we should take all the Muamar Quadafis (sorry Muamar) and the Saddam Husseins of the world and tickle them.

All the resentful militant types of every race and religion should be grabbed, lined up and tickled until they wet their pants. They'll either start laughing or be so embarrassed that they won't bother anyone anymore. We have a mission to dismember the resent-a-thons of the world! I have a theory that a lot of anger and violence stems from blocked humor organs. Studies show that unmerciful tickling forces out all the blockages from things like noses and bladders, thereby freeing all the bottled up stress

So as the sun went down we trudged back to the car. Our stress was deftly exorcised until the next onset. Our bodies were scraped raw from encrusted sand. There was nowhere to change and no money for a motel room. We had a jug of water in the car, so we rinsed the kids off and dressed them in dry clothes. ("Close your eyes so nobody sees you.") Peter and I changed in a Wendy's bathroom.

We drove home munching our burgers, talking, smiling, completely hot and sweaty again. Still, as I looked at Peter next to me in the dark, I actually had the cliche'd thought, "It doesn't get any better than this." Who the heck said Life's a Beach? Maybe sometimes it is.

Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents
Copyright Information