Saturday, I awoke to a text message from my friend Sarah — a summons to the beach at 1:30. Given the temperatures that day were expected to be in the mid-to-upper 80s with sunny skies throughout, it was a no-brainer. This is the earliest in a calendar year I have ever been to the beach on this coast — this weather is really unseasonably warm. It seems like we get damn close to records on a daily basis these days.
Naturally, everyone else in the City of Charleston and surrounding suburbs and towns had the exact same idea. Thus, we sat in traffic for at least an hour as the road bottlenecked. Even better, the opposing lane had just about zero traffic. The jam evoked memories of Hurricane Floyd (of course, nothing was as bad as the clusterf*** that was the Floyd evacuation).
After driving what seemed to be the length of the Atlantic shore to find a parking space, we finally came to rest just short of the Folly Beach County Park, grabbed our stuff, and found a spot. Despite the traffic, there was a pleasant amount of room along the beach to do our thing.
A while ago, Sarah, being an athletic type, told me she’d throw a baseball with me. After Saturday and several trips up and down the beach (and me almost killing two innocent bystanders with an errant throw), I don’t think she’ll do that again. :P I seem to have Mark Wohlers-esque control problems (though my curveball isn’t bad and I found my knuckleball again).
She and her friend Matt then decided to lay out and take in some sun. I’m not much of a laying-out type of person, so I grabbed my kite and got that going. My kite is a standard 3D kite that’s shaped like a F-16 Fighting Falcon with a popup cockpit, the intake, and everything. The canopy is even labeled with “Col. Smith,” making it all the more fitting. I bought it at Fry’s Electronics a few years back in San Diego, CA. So I pulled the kite out, and within three minutes, I was out of string and this guy was flying. I didn’t have to do a damn thing to get that bad boy in the air — in fact, I had to walk south with it in order to keep stress off the airframe (it was bending back and forth almost violently at times), as the winds were pretty potent. I became somewhat uncomfortable with this after a while and decided to bring the kite in for fear something might have snapped. (The kite is, after all, about four years old and has been through a lot.) The flight lasted 45 minutes and ended without incident, which I always strive for. I don’t like the idea of a kite going down in a crowd of bikini-clad women with large, burly boyfriends who have spent about five more years in a gym than I have — the aftermath just doesn’t sound pretty.
True to form, the BlackJack was on the scene, and I snapped a few in-flight shots. That kite was up there.
After the flight, we decided to take off — the water was pretty damn cold (what can I say, it is March) and the temperatures began to drop a bit below the comfortable swimsuit threshold. I do know that I need to spend a ton of time in the gym before I attempt to take my shirt off in public again. That, and I think I blinded people with my epic pastiness.
If you’re reading this, my apologies to those I blinded and to those whose lives I nearly ended with my lousy directional throwing.