I’m lucky enough to walk the beach regularly, which means I’ve become quite familiar with the variety of characters you might come across on any given day.
There are the surfers. They come in all ages and genders and pretty much all wear the same uniform: a black, long sleeved, long legged wetsuit. For the most part, they do not heed warnings about the water (stay out of the water for 72 hours after a rain event), they come no matter what the surf report says (small waves, crumbly waves, rough surf) and seem to enjoy themselves even when worthy surfing waves are few and far between.
There are players. The ocean is their playroom. They often bring toys: kites, footballs, frisbees, shovels…you get the idea. Players give play their full effort and attention. Teenagers are common in this category–especially teenaged boys. Adults, however, are the ones I notice (and secretly admire) who fall in to this category. They clearly derive intense joy from this play…and make me want to try whatever they are doing.
There are the artists. They see the beach as a blank canvas, a place to express their artistic vision. Some create with rocks, carefully balancing stones to create unfathomable towers using only gravity to hold the creation together. Others come armed only with a rake or stick and create intricate designs in the sand, proportions in alignment yet they bring no measurements that are visible–the vision seems to be firmly in the artist’s head and arms and body.
There are also the characters who don’t fit into any category–instead they are their own unique character, like the guy we call the naked guy. This guy walks miles on the beach wearing his private parts in a small bag slung on a string worn around his hips. Today I heard some young boys behind me describing his attire as “a very tight speedo.” The naked guy seems to know quite a few beach regulars, he sometimes chats as he walks. I’m not sure if this is his version of sunbathing, his exercise regime, or if he just enjoys the feel of the.briny sea breeze on all of his skin, but his practice definitely makes him stand out as noticeable on the beach.
I wonder if other places have a similar cast of characters–or unique categories of characters that inhabit the space. I’d love to know about the characters your come across in the places you frequent.