Whew. Is it me or is everyone in Kentucky at the beach?
I don't know when this started and I don't know how it happened, but suddenly my Facebook feed is positively packed with photos featuring salt water. So, I sit and stare at them, looking at everyone sporting swimsuits, knee-deep in wavy water, their cheeks sunburned, their smiles wide and toothy.
You know their day started with something fruity and blended. Then it progressed to making important decisions about which sunblock brand to use and which giant towel to dry off with. It ended with watching a peachy sun get swallowed into the ocean, exhaling pink and purple as it fell.
Thinking about this, I look around at my messy desk in my landlocked life and pet the giant lump of envy sitting beside me.
Until there is a treatment or a vaccine, my and William's lives will remain largely unchanged from when we were in shutdown mode. William already had a virus attack his heart once, he sure doesn't need to go in for round two. So, we'll do whatever it takes to prevent him from contracting COVID-19.
As we're all learning in this tenuous time, everyone has different ways of managing their lives right now, including their risk. While I definitely do have a problem when I see thickets of people standing cheek by jowl in the middle of a party fest, I do understand that a beach vacation can, in theory, be taken relatively safely right now. Drive there. Rent a condo. Wipe it down. Cook in it. Keep amongst yourselves.
But that's just not in our cards right now.
If you're in the same boat (or, notably, not near a boat at all), I've come up with a plan for us. Ready? Feeling creative?
I've decided to create a beach vacation at home.
It will start with hauling out all of the tiny shampoo and conditioner bottles I've collected from hotels over the years. Because they're the best thing about a hotel room anyway.
I will only wear sundresses for a week and possibly a straw hat if I feel like I'm getting too much sun. At night, I will wear beach coverups instead of pajamas.
I will wear coconut-scented lotion from morning until night and smell absolutely terrific all the time.
Before bed, I will watch my beloved Anthony Bourdain traipse around the world, shedding pithy remarks everywhere he goes, because, a) his stuff is now available on HBO Max, and, b), that is what William and I always watch in hotel rooms, wherever we are.
I will splurge on HBO Max.
I will listen to vacation-style music in my car and in the house, including "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffet and "Day-O" by Harry Belafonte and "Kokomo" by the Beach Boys.
I will drink those blended drinks, calling them "smoothies" in the morning until they can become "daiquiris" at 5. I will put mini umbrellas in them all day long.
I will frequently make the joke that "it's 5 o'clock somewhere."
I will wear an anklet.
I will order local takeout and from websites like Goldbelly that allow you to order dinner from your favorite restaurants all around the country. Including key lime pie from Key West Key Lime Pie Company. And Proper ice cream from Delray Beach. And muffuletta from New Orleans. And stone crab from Joe's Stone Crab in Miami.
I will buy jack fruit and dragon fruit and mangos at the grocery because I spare no expense when I'm on vacation.
I'll reread "The Hunger Games" and "The Girl on the Train" and "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Jurassic Park" and "The Firm". I will also buy U.S. and People magazines and not feel guilty at all.
I will paint my nails a ridiculously bright shade of corral, the kind that is so intense you can't stare at it for long because you'll go blind. Then I will add flower stickers to a few of the nails because, even if I'm 43, it's still OK to do that when you're at the beach.
I will use St. Ives apricot scrub so I always have a bit of sand on my face.
I will spritz Bumble and Bumble surf spray into my hair for that beach waves effect.
When I'm not listening to "Kokomo," I will play "ocean sounds" on my white noise app.
Finally, and it's a grand finale indeed, I will braid cornrows into William's hair.
Honestly, I think this plan sounds pretty fantastic. First, we won't have to leave the dogs. Second, we'll have our own pillows.
And, I mean, we'll have those umbrella drinks. And the shampoo bottles.