I, like many people, love going to the beach. And my family and I take a trip to the beach very seriously. We have a supply list that has been tweaked based on the age of our daughter and the beach we are going to, but generally, it includes:

  • Wonder wheeler (to haul all our stuff) plus husband (to push Wonder wheeler over hot sandy beach)
  • Towels, blanket and chairs
  • Cooler with assorted snacks, drinks and sandwiches
  • Bag of assorted sand and water toys
  • Bag of precious items that cannot get sandy or wet (like book, iPod, camera, wallet)
  • Sunblock and umbrella (to shield my pale Irish skin from the evil, cancer-causing sun)

Now, once we get to the beach, we have a system for set up as well: umbrella and chairs first, then sunblock application (you get my back, I’ll get yours), then arrange towels and blanket, then position cooler in shady area, then sit down and relax while kid and husband head to the water.

Ah, let the bliss begin.

But, wait! What’s that? Who the..? What the..?

Here is where all the planning and expert packing can go awry.

For me, it never fails that no matter how thorough my packing list or where I set up camp, I am eventually surrounded by one or more the following:

The Pig family: This is the family that comes hauling all kinds of disorganized crap, dumps it in a random spot and then proceeds to leave trash everywhere. Empty juice box here, bag of chips there…left to just blow into the ocean or into someone else’s precious oasis. The seagulls love these people, which also greatly increases your chance of getting pooped on.

No! No! No! No!

No! No! No! No!

Lady with skimpy bathing suit: OK, I must admit, that I find this one a bit entertaining. This is the lady that decides that her thong is the best choice for a public beach outing. It pains me to look at her, but I do enjoy the snickering and snide comments from the other beach goers. I also enjoy watching the men making their move on her. Usually some older guy with a potbelly tries first, then some younger guys will go as a group and say something really witty like, “Hey, nice bathing suit.” It really is hilarious. Some not so hilarious caveats: when the person wearing the skimpy thong or bikini is grossly overweight or has kids with her. Then I’m just simply grossed out and saddened.

High school kids with foul mouths: When I hear groups of kids on the beach swearing like sailors, I often wonder, did I swear like that when I was their age? I don’t think so, but I also wasn’t super cool like them either. What is the allure of swearing? It’s just words, right? All I hear are ignorant, immature idiots, but maybe it’s really code for “I’m young and horny, come get me ladies.”  Wonder how that’s workin’ for ’em.

Person who brings a radio: Who doesn’t have a pair of headphones? Come on! How do you not know that the entire beach hates your taste in music (and why do they always play some awful ethnic music)? Or maybe I’m the one person on the planet that does not want to listen to the ball game play-by-play.

Loud talker: I like a good juicy gossip tale as much as the next person, but I would at least like to know the players and I prefer to discuss in hushed tones to perpetuate the whole “secret” facade. If you want to talk about so-n-so’s husband is sleeping with his secretary and how you found out by walking in on them in the supply closet, do it softly so I have to strain to hear you like any good eave’s dropper.

People who feed the sea gulls: OK, are people really this stupid? Don’t they know that the second they feed the one sea gull hanging around their towel, that suddenly, there will be an entire flock hovering over yours and the immediate vicinity? Keep your chips in your bag, pal.

The beach is not your ashtray, asshole.

The beach is not your ashtray, asshole.

Smokers: I especially despise the guy with the cigar. Who are you and where is it acceptable to subject everyone around you to your stench? And why do all smokers think it is perfectly fine to throw their butts on the ground? It’s not! It is so not acceptable!

Do you have a beach goer horror story or just a pet peeve? Tell me about it.