It’s probably the last summery day we’ll feel for a while here in New York, so I did another first-ever: I took the bus to Rockaway Beach.
The ride itself was weird: I got a seat a few stops after I boarded. Its previous occupant’s phone dropped out of his pocket. I hollered to him as he disembarked, waving his phone at him. He was thankful. I chatted with a nice couple and admired the family seated across the aisle. When the family got up to leave, I saw that they left their lunch carrier under their seat. I held it up and some people banged on the windows to get the family’s attention. As we handed off the lunch someone noticed their phone on that seat as well. I laughed and, inexplicably, called after them in Spanish, their language, “y el teléfono también.” I don’t normally speak in tongues, and I am sadly monolingual. Or maybe not any longer?
I ambled to the ocean behind a guy playing a ukulele. Then I ran into the couple from the bus, who had exited a few stops before I did. Greetings, well wishes, ciao. I remembered to bring a camera and a magazine but not something to sit on. The sand was soft and warm and felt like a big comfy chair with a peaceful view. No blanket needed here. I walked along the shore with my feet in the warm ocean water. Kids and dogs played, adults supervised and tanned. How could I have missed this all these years?
Sun and sea, the boardwalk populated mostly by people much younger than myself. It had a youthful summer energy, but with less crowds than in season. It’s a happy enough place to make a hot afternoon ride there on mass transit pleasant.