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Sunday, August 08, 2010

I envy the people who stay late at the beach

On holiday in Brittany we end each day with a post-prandial walk on the beach. No matter how late we leave it there will be some family group still down there, making sand castles, playing volleyball, swimming or doing something else that most people stopped doing at the end of the afternoon.

Ever since I can remember I've envied the people who were still on the beach long after the rest of us had made whatever concession we needed to make to getting ready for dinner. I can remember looking out of the window of hotel dining rooms and seeing a handful of kids still out there playing, the whole beach to themselves. How did they do that? How could their parents be so relaxed?

I've concluded it's an attitude of mind. The people who are still on the beach at nine o'clock aren't worried, like most of us, about making their leisure fit the dictates of a clock. They're not terrified that Junior will never go to sleep if he doesn't get fed by a certain time. They're not haunted by the fear that they will arrive at the restaurant too early or too late. They're not suffering the agonies of the rest of us by trying to make everything perfect. They're built for holidays in a way that most of us, sadly, aren't.