Sand In My Thong


We live in a densely populated beach town in southern California. There are thousands cloistered together with one common goal…a small glimpse of the sea. All of us clawing over one another for an ocean peek. It is that single goal which drives us to pay exorbitant rents, share World War II washers, and fumble with dryers plugged in communal lint.

But I ask you…who can resist the many sights and sounds of life at the coast? For instance, at this very moment I am watching a spider painstakingly navigate his way across my new, improperly assembled IKEA “Bjorn” desk. It makes me think of the monumental evolutionary trek this little speck of life has ahead…and frankly, the journey is exhausting me.

The spider narrowly escapes death while scurrying over my Day Planner. Fortunately I catch sight of him before a page turn from May to June flattens him. Hedging my karma bet, I was able to airlift him to safety with my ballpoint pen…although one of his legs appears to be dragging behind as a result of the rescue mission. Pray for the little fella! May all your dreams come true, Hopalong!

Actually, I have no idea why I automatically assume this spider is male. I once read that you can determine the sex of a daddy long legs by licking one of its back legs. Supposedly if it tastes minty, it’s a male. I am scared to ask what a female tastes like, or how and where this test even originated…(my guess is an out take of Fear Factor.)

At the same time, not far from my window a small child is screaming in a full-throated protest of a parental demand. I think it has something to do with wearing a hat, but the kid is obviously under duress, damn near delirious, and drowning in his own slobber over the fact that an authoritative figure wishes to cover the fryable soft spot of his noggin. I have given up trying to understand the child’s cryptic cry, having resorted instead to earplugs and a few glasses of wine.

To top it off, my dog wanders in with his whiskers shellacked in puppy chow.

Supposedly this particular brand of lamb and rice slop does not go bad until January 1, 2015.

That fact alone should disturb me, but I still managed to fill his bowl, adding a thin layer of processed cheddar cheese to the mutton mix.

I am hopeful that a dairy product might minimize the effect of hash heartburn, which I can only assume will explode from his irritable bowels like a flock of starlings.

I don’t mean to dwell on this but I cannot help ponder the notion that a rather noteworthy company made an unpredictable promise to keep the contents edible for damn near a thousand days.

In a time of political, economic and social unrest, how the hell can anyone stand by anything, let alone be vigilant over an aging tin of chemically radiated ingredients and mystery meat byproducts?

Still, there it is on the label for all dog owners to see. A pledge to keep their canine grub protected and preserved in a perilous universe.

Heaven knows I wouldn’t mind those assurances when it comes to my own expiration date.

Alright…so if I had to guess…Maybe I’m fixated on this because of an article I recently read on dying.

Supposedly if you view every single human being as a person moving one step closer to the grave, it immediately transports the viewer to a place of compassion for the whole human race. After all, aren’t we just hoofing it through…doing the best we can under limited supervision and the inevitability of death?

So I began the day thinking of that can of dog food as 994 days closer to its demise, and the compassion rolled off me like a cool morning prayer. Especially since I was one day closer to expiring myself.

No question my brain works in mysterious ways. Just the sight of my dog’s crusty whiskers prompted me to think of a friend who I haven’t seen in years. She used to date this REI survivalist dude.

He had a long beard and an annoying habit of incessantly twisting it into a corkscrew, then pigtails, and eventually fanning it out to allow the whole tangled mess to air (my least favorite position.)

Every time my friend and this guy did the horizontal hula he refused to shower until he had sufficiently relished the bouquet of their lovemaking. I can’t seem to shake the visual of him diving into the delta, preserving love canal fluids on his scrub brush like a doggie-bag leftover.

From that moment on I could no longer look at the guy without wondering whose DNA sample was occupying his Paul Bunyon beard.

There was just something creepy about knowing he was savoring the catch of the day from the night before… while teaching his biology students how to dissect a carp.

And that…my dear friends, is what I’m thinking about today. Alright already! I’ll go back to writing fiction.

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  1. Great minds…

    Seriously, I just responded to your comment over on my blog and, into it, had pasted your quote from said comment: “if you view every single human being as a person moving one step closer to the grave, it immediately transports the viewer to a place of compassion for the whole human race.”

    Love this little piece. In the moment, concept linking to concept. I, too, try to daddy long leg spiders out the door … but, alas, not the hairy ones. Those, I squash and say a little prayer.

  2. Eww Annie! It took years to get that guy out of my head and now you’ve revived him—before breakfast.

    A former co-worker suffering a mid-life crisis was dating a twenty-something who felt compelled to share his propensity for aromatic whiskers. Nauseating info for those of us who worked closely with him. I’ll always be grateful for the day he shaved that beaver trap off.

    • Lynne,
      I think “Shaving Off The Beaver Trap” would be a great country western song. I may have to work on a little ditty this afternoon. I’m sure there are a whole lot of people glad to see your co-workers whiskers leave. Maybe now he can buy a Porsche and drive it to a strip club.

  3. Ugh! Men…

    Marching to the grave, huh? I’ll definitely have that on my mind all day.

    Phenomenal post, btw. :)

    • I know…it’s a little rough Jennifer, but it definitely focuses your attention. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  4. From minty spider legs to pussy beards in a few short paragraphs. Brilliant.

    I can’t help but think, and ladies, correct me if I’m off base here; that if I allow my bush to grow to full on Donna Summer (RIP btw) status, I can tell you the following. A male friend once said this to his other male friend, in front of me, about the girl he was dating. And I quote, “the amount of hair is directly proportional to the smell down there.”

    Can you develop a yeast infection in a beard? Just food for thought.

    Great post, delightful imagery.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go shave my vagina.

    • Tracy,
      Why is it that I worry when I see a comment from you? :) Maybe it’s the reference to Donna Summer’s bush…or the smell of a woman being propotionate to the size of the muff, but I think it’s the image that you leave behind…a woman running for her razor and a yeast infested beard. Thanks for making me laugh…like you always do!

  5. Why bother writing fiction when you have this kind of material??:)

    • Thanks, NoraB! I sort of feel like I vomited chunks out this morning, but it’s amazing how much better I feel…as only someone unloading massive amounts of brain dung can do!

  6. Thank you for planting all of those seeds in my day. Now I can go forth with my psychedelic-colored (as opposed to rose-colored) glasses on and laugh my way through every encounter I have. I will pray diligently for that lame spider and the little boy who was no doubt forced to wear a hat despite his hearty objections, and I will do my best to stop gagging about the beard.

  7. Always glad to help a sista out, Kario! Thanks for stopping by and letting me traumatize you.

  8. Thanks for the linkage. And, on a completely different note … wow, all this talk about yeast-soaked beards/muffs … I missed an interesting conversation… but, perhaps, gained a writing prompt.

    • Terri, we got a little carried away by the lack of structure. I do better with an outline. :) On a brighter note, I hope you have some people read your beautiful post…and that a writing prompt was gained from this mess!

  9. Annie, I’ve always thought a visit to your blog instantly increases my IQ by ten points. And this post, wow! I feel like freakin’ Einstein! Minty male daddy long legs, the long term effects of tinned mystery meat, expiration dates, bearded men, and crusty whiskers–canine and otherwise! This post has it all! Add to the mix Tracy’s visuals and we’ve got ourselves one hell of a winner! I love it! If Kario will allow it, I’m joining her in prayer for the tiny spider. It’s the least I can do after being so thoroughly entertained. :)

    • Bella, yes, with a little help from my friends (which is the best part for me) there became quite a visual poo-poo platter! I haven’t seen the spider today but I assume he’s licking his minty fresh leg back to health. Thanks so much for the laugh!

  10. What is it about a place with a view that makes people eager to pay more rent/mortage for this privilege? I live two miles from the ocean, give or take, and that’ll do, though I do go ga-ga every time I drive west and as I reach the top of a hill, I glimpse the breathtaking view of the ocean. Talk about gorgeous!

    • I know, Monica. I never get tired of the view or the fact that I can hear the ocean at night. Of course this comes with a mental cost…earthquakes and tsunamis. In the place we are living I don’t think I’d survive either, but I’m in it for the ride. Thanks for your comment!

  11. I’m on an island (Alameda) and we live about 4 blocks from the beach. One advantage to living here is that it’s rather small, and since I don’t swim, I really can’t get lost. We are surrounded by bay water and that’s fine with me because I am afraid of tsunamis. I have a clear plastic “critter cup” always available so I can pack up any visiting spiders, bees, what-have-you, and slip a postcard under them to gently escort them out into the yard. (Yes, I am so zen it’s scary.)

    I cook organic chicken and organic brown rice for my dogs every week. I add to this combo a little California Naturals kibble and call it a day. The pups also get a scrambled egg every week as well as a couple of ounces of cooked beef steak. They both have amazing coats, good breath, and nice well shaped feces. Yes, I do look every day to make sure. After the publicity and recall of so many “pet foods” manufactured in China, I have become very careful about what the dogs ingest.

    That man with his nasty beard made me gag. That was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard of. No, that’s not true. When an ex-husband grabbed a pair of my used panties out of the laundry basket and took them home with him, that creeped me out even more. Ugh!

    • Linda,
      It sounds idyllic. You must love Alameda…just the proximity to the water alone sounds terrific. It appears all the critters have a good life at your place. I am going to have to step up my nutritional guidelines for my little pooch. He hasn’t seen an egg in awhile…let alone beef steak. Of course either have I…hence, the dried out hair and breath!

      Yes, the nasty beard guy is disgusting, but let’s throw the ex into the mix with copping the panties. I hope he gags on the delicates. :) Thanks for your nice comment, Linda.

  12. I’m cool with hearing more stuff from real life. Although it seems fictitious for one to revel in last night’s lovemaking the next day. At least, I would want it to be.

  13. Hysterical post. I always love when a terrific writer, like yourself, makes the visual so vivid for their reader’s imaginations. However, when it comes to this piece, I’m not so sure!!! OY from licking a spider to Paul Bunyon’s flavor saver…I’m going to concentrate on remembering how cute your pooch (dog that is) must look with post Puppy Chow whiskers.

  14. I love the way you think. And write.

  15. Question: Can I please come visit you before you die? I love Cali and I love you, so it’s a win-win.

    P.S. Take your vitamins and you’ll live longer.

  16. BTW, I loved this post.

  17. Now I’m going to be thinking about death, and spiders, and dog food all day.

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