Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Black Sand Beach


black sand beach 04
Originally uploaded by ohnochriso
I didn't have to work yesterday and neither did my friend Rob. Our companies both inexplicably observe "Columbus Day" as a holiday which, while enjoyable due to the having of a day off, is politically dicey to say the least. I had planned a Whole Day of Nothing for the third day of my three day weekend. But when I ran into Rob and his husband Avery the other night he mentioned the idea of going to the beach on Monday and I was sold. That sounded much better than sitting on my ass and doing whatever all day like I would any other random day off from work.

He came and picked me up at noon and, after dropping off some replacement contact lenses to my poor boyfriend who was at work with a torn one in his eye, we headed out for the Marin Headlands and Black Sand Beach. I'd never been to a black sand beach or a nude beach before, so I figured it would be a little adventure. I also figured I might not want to go starkers so I brought along swim trunks just in case. If the beach was crowded I'd wear them and if not I'd probably go au naturel.

The beach turned out to be pretty deserted - only a few people were sprinkled along the shore, all fairly spaced out from one another so as to allow naked privacy. Rob and I laid out our blanket, dropped our bags and soon we were as bare as the day we were born and applying mass amounts of sunscreen to all parts of our bodies. I had put some on at home but I felt like this was definitely a "better safe than sorry" kind of scenario. We both agreed that any sunburn is bad but that we'd heard many horrible tales of foot sunburns from unfortunate beach goers who forgot to apply the SPF on their hooves. We also liberally applied sunscreen to our nethers because, as we both agreed, we'd totally be willing to endure a foot sunburn any day over a wang sunburn.

It turned out to be a beautiful beach day, even though it was only in the mid 60s. One of the benefits of the black sand is it warms up the area more than white sand would. So sitting there on our blankets we were nice and roasty toasty even though the water, which I dove in for a second, was seriously cold. But I can't stay out of the ocean completely if it's in front of me. It must be some sort of fishy, Piscean instinct. We ate some overly warm sandwiches and chips and discussed future plans. It seems like San Francisco is quickly becoming less than ideal for Rob and his partner and me and mine have also discussed leaving behind the city by the bay one day. But regardless of our various dissatisfactions with the place, everything felt pretty perfect at that moment. Tucked away on this little beach with nothing but ocean, horizon and sometimes fog in front of us, it was hard to imagine wanting to leave that behind.

At one point a park ranger came down the nearby steps and, fearing that we might get ticketed for nudity, we put our trunks and/or underwear on until he'd made his way up and down both ends of the beach and then left. Shortly after he departed, one of our naked neighbors from further down the beach came over to ask us if the ranger had approached us. He was so incredibly orangey in his tan-ness that he was like a neon beacon approaching us. He had put on some ratty boxer shorts to cover up since, as he told us, the park ranger was really aggro about people not being naked on the beach. Our neighbor informed us he'd been coming to the beach for 35 years (which clearly showed) and he'd never had any law enforcement people be so insistent about clothing. In fact he referred to a time when something washed up on shore that seemed to be a bomb and the cops who came to the scene spoke to him and other unclothed beach goers and never said boo about it. He let us know he'd be filing a complaint the next day. I momentarily imagined what it would be like to be on the receiving end of that complaint. To be the bored office worker who had to process such a thing and pass it on to their superiors to go into this park ranger's file.

We left the beach shortly afterward, climbing the steep, winding path back up to our car, stopping twice to catch our breath and take in the view. As we drove back over the Golden Gate Bridge towards home we passed through an ever growing bank of white fog, as if we had to access some magical mist to leave behind the world of warmth and nudity we'd just inhabited to re-enter the chilly, overcast city full of noise and clothed citizens.

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