I just up and went to the beach today.  Alone.   Sand and sun was calling.   I would have preferred company, but really sometimes alone can be good too. The beach I go to is a public beach.  It's accessible to anyone, which is good.  And it's accessible to everyone, which is bad.   Bad comes in all forms.

I got there about 10:30 a.m.  There was pickings of people scattered here and there.  It was definitely not full swing yet at the beach.  It was just the way I liked it; spread out and quiet.  Within the hour the masses arrived.  I purposely went to the end of the sparse population and laid out my area; beach chair to sit in and an old sheet to lay down on to sun my posterior side.  

They say we have a personal space radius depending on the closeness of the relationship we have with the people in contact with us.  Intimate distance allows between 6 - 18 inches between us and those whom we are intimate with. Personal distance allows 2.5 - 4 feet between us and close family or close friends.  Social distance, 4 - 12 feet, is for acquaintances, co-workers, people you do business with, etc.  And public distance, 12-25 feet, is typically used in situations like public speaking, teaching, and the like.  To that last category of public space I must add two places I feel it is appropriate to use that distance divider; the beach and between restaurant tables! 

Before I could fully wake up from my beach nap, I could hear the throng that now surrounded me.  A young family with two small children to one side of me had graciously left the 12-25 foot polite public distance between us.  Kudos to them!  A mother with 5 teenagers moved into my den, close to my feet.  She and the teenage girls put up their entourage a bit too close for my comfort and my need for quiet, alone and space.  I found myself getting tense. 

I watched people.  I watched a young couple with a baby no more than 2 months old.  The grandparents were with them and they were standing right in front of me at water's edge taking pictures of Johnny's first outing to Lake Michigan.  No doubt an event to be scrap booked after their photo shoot ended.  The new mom had two tattoos (which is beachwear 101 nowadays!); a flower on her upper left back and a panda on her lower right back/hip area.  Why a panda?  No logical sense to it.  She wasn't Asian, though maybe her family owned a Panda Express Restaurant.  What would make someone like her get a PANDA tattoo!  I found it humorous. 

To my left were a grouping of sea gulls that had been lazily hanging in the general too-close-to-me vicinity since I had gotten there.  I think technically they were there before any of us being it is their natural habitat.  Adults know not to run at them or feed them.  Kids don't.  So, a group of young kids ran into the flock of birds.  Up they flew.  I felt something slight on my head.  Thinking it was a bird's wing that had grazed my head, I reached up to touch my pony tailed head.  As I drew my hand back it was covered in bird shit.  One of those startled birds, chased into the air by the kids, had covered my head with poop along with the head rest of my beach chair.  Birds, and people, who did not have the right to be in my intimate distance space were definitely encroaching!

Maybe there was more to this personal space thing than I originally imagined.  I don't like to be crowded in my nesting spot on the beach.  But obviously neither do the sea gulls. 

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