Life’s a beach (or 3 things the ocean taught me about life)



Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean in Kitty Hawk, N.C.

  • What a good friend recently told me about life is true: sometimes when a wave is crashing down on you, the best thing you can do is stop fighting and let it wash over you.  Every wave runs out of energy. Sometimes they will even knock you toward the shore where you’re safe.
  • If you build your castle too close to the waves, they will destroy it.
  • Sometimes the really cool shell you think you found while digging blindly in the sand and surf is actually a crab with claws. And he isn’t happy you disturbed him.


The strange incident of the tongue-clicking man

Last week I went on vacation with my family.

I, my sister, brother-in-law, two young nieces, mom and dad all stayed in a beach house a block away from the Atlantic Ocean in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

As expected any time a family is in close quarters for an entire week together, hilarity ensued.

We stayed just down the road from Kill Devil Hills, where Orville and Wilbur Wright took the first flight more than a hundred years ago.

The day we visited the Wright Bros. monument, I saw a couple do a strange thing.

We had walked the hill to the top where a massive concrete monument protruded from the ground, marking the spot where the first plane flew. (By the way, why are all the monuments in this country shaped like penises?)

A man there had started to walk away from (who I presume was) his wife. He got maybe 20 feet away and she was still sitting, probably resting from the hike to the top. He turned, looked at her and sort of clicked his tongue. She came to him like he had whistled to a dog. Not a word passed between them. I recounted this story to someone who suggested that maybe the man had a speech problem and could only communicate this way. Perhaps, but I saw no evidence of that.

It was so strange that I told the story to my family. In a rare but misguided attempt at multicultural understanding, my dad (wrongly) assumed I was speaking about one of the few Indian couples that were on the hill with us.

“Well, that’s probably just their custom,” he surmised.

“Dad, it was an American couple,” I said.

He then spent the rest of the day clicking his tongue at us. No one felt compelled to follow him, though.