So last week, I was a crazed stressbunny, fighting off that ass-deep-in-alligators feeling and sensing that I was about to slide into raging bitch mode at any moment.

My buddy Brooke says "Right. We’re going to the beach." 

I said "I’ve got way too much work." Then I stopped and considered that the last time I took a trip for fun rather than business or family obligation was…um…um…good god, 2004? (There was that one trip to the mountains in 2006, but there were some really weird tensions going on, since my marriage was, unbeknowst to me, on the way out…hmm. Yup. 2004. And we went to Duluth.)

I attempted to recall the last time I went to the actual beach, hit a number that indicated I had not been of legal age to drink at the time, stopped doing math, and decided that probably the world wouldn’t explode if I took a day off. "I’ve never been to the beach here," I said. "I’d feel stupid if I had to move and never went to the beach," I said. "And we could go to some galleries, and it’d be a business expense," I said. "Get in the car," Brooke said.

So we kissed our respective boyfriends, climbed in the car, and headed off to the town of Duck–yes, it’s called Duck–on the Outer Banks, stayed at a resort hotel with a private beach (not as expensive as you’d think, since we’re starting to hit the off-season) and good lord. Just…lord. Why has it been thirteen years since I did this? What was I thinking? 

We walked on the beach. Well, Brooke walked, and I stumbled along with my binoculars out going "Sanderlings! Oh my god, look at their little legs! Royal terns! Oh my god, that flock is nothing BUT terns! Look! It’s a Ruddy Turnstone eating barnacles off an old horseshoe crab shell! Hey, is that a Greater Black-backed Gull?"

There’s a standing joke–or problem–that every time Brooke and I go anywhere, people assume we’re a lesbian couple. In this case, they probably thought that we were a lesbian couple and Brooke was really really patient.

So it was wonderful. There were zillions of dead moon jellies washed up, but it was still wonderful. There were dead horseshoe crabs. There were sanderlings. I love sanderlings. They run in front of the tide and their rapid little legs are wonderful. There were willets and several zillion gulls. There were tiny scuttling crabs who had dug holes in the sand. There was beachness.

We went to galleries. We went shopping for pants twice because in thirteen years of not visiting the ocean, it didn’t occur to me that I would need to pack extra pairs if I was going wading because there are WAVES and saltwater soaking your pants is a three second thrill with daylong repercussions. We ate crab. (At one point, Brooke ordered a sandwich that turned out to be an entire softshell crab on a bun, with some sauce. It still had legs. I will treasure her complete lack of expression when it was set in front of her forever.) I drank something called a mako tai. It was bright green, and involved a great deal of tequila. Then I called Kevin while drunk and told him that he needed to get a job out here.

It was awesome.

So, I’m back, sort of, although it’s hard to get brain back out of vacation mode. It would be a good day to run errands except that I have none set up to run. I have Dragonbreath to do and art to make and books to write, but god, I think I want to go back to the beach. For at least a week. We didn’t even get to the aquarium or the lost colony or the Elizabethan gardens.

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