Or: Things I Learned By Getting A Car
1. Brooklyn is a beach town.
Queens, too. Oh, and Staten Island. Brighton Beach/Coney Island and the Rockaways are accessible by public transit, yes, but by car they are ~45 minutes and I don’t have to schlep the stuff for three people plus, to one degree or another, those actual people using only my body. And then we are at the beach. The beach, I tell you!
Since moving to New York ten years ago, I’ve made a handful of day trips to the beach. Fewer than ten, probably. In the first six days after getting the fuel pump replaced (ahem), we went four times. We’re planning to go tomorrow.
2. Children like the beach better than overcrowded apartments.
Again, who knew? Jackalope and the Bean do pretty well together, but, well, siblings gonna sibling. Turns out putting them in smaller cages doesn’t help. At the beach, well, I have two buckets and there’s more than enough sand for everybody.
4. My apartment likes it better when we are at the beach.
We had to stay in last Tuesday morning. There was marker all over the sofa before 9 am.
Not the culprit, for the record.
3. Mamas like the beach better, too.
Partly this is because of the relative tranquility and because, duh, who doesn’t love the beach? Some of it is harder to pin down. Why should sand and salt and an environment where I really do need to be sure no one is drowning at any given moment make me feel so much more substantial, more tied to the world of the living? I can’t tell you why, but at the beach I’m not thinking about whether this shortened breath, that mild headache is the beginning of the end. It makes a pleasant change.
4. There is no Facebook at the beach.
Or next to none, anyway, as my phone battery is trifling and see above about real environmental dangers.
5. It turns out I spend too much time on Facebook.
I knew that, on one level, that “pay attention to your children/wife” level. What I did not realize is how much the click and click and click was increasing my anxiety. UGH. Facebook is a silly place, yes, but it’s also how I keep in touch with the world of adults and friends and complete sentences and big ideas. I just started a group for discussing anti-racist parenting, for instance. Also cat videos.
The things people dislike about Facebook — the way it provokes envy, for instance, or a sense that one isn’t living correctly — aren’t the problem. The problem is the very act of watching those notification numbers light up red, feeling compelled to check them, again and again and now again. I love it, and apparently it’s terrible for me. UGH.
Luckily, there is the beach to take my mind off it.