Saturday, 17 August 2002

We awoke, ate a big breakfast (cooked mainly by Hilde, supplemented by donuts purchased by Barry from the Donut Shack), and went to the beach. Normally I detest the beach. But this beach was different. It was only a 3-blocks walk from our cottage. We had chairs to sit on, which vastly improved my attitude towards the beach. And it wasn't insanely crowded. Oh sure, there were people there (there would be people there every day, sometimes in great numbers), but you didn't feel hemmed in by everyone around you.

It was a hot day—unseasonably hot on the Cape—and the water was warm. I actually went into the water. Understand, I love swimming pools. My in-laws' pool sees me a lot during the summer. But I'm not a huge fan of salt water. One word: sharks. Well, actually, here's a better word: predators. And here's a concept: I can see what's in the freakin' pool. But my wonderfully powerful imagination conjures up a whole host of unknown, unseen horrors when I'm in the ocean. Or in a lake. Everytime a piece of seaweed touches my ankle, I'm convinced that it's either the unknowing caress of a dead, bloated sailor, or the exploratory quiver of a giant squid's tentacle, or the prelude to a shark's multiple-rowed mouthful of teeth. I can go into the ocean for 5 minutes and come out of it with my heart racing as though I've been swimming laps for an hour. Come to think of it, that's great exercise. Except that most exercise doesn't end in you collapsing from fright. Actually, when I normally think of exercising, I end up collapsing from fright.

I read while on the beach: chunks of Denise's book, *Nickle and Dimed: On Not Getting By In America* (which I gave to her), and chunks of a New Yorker, and many pages of *Wonderful Contrivances: Technology at the Threshold*, by Merritt Ierley.

We went out for dinner that night to Captain Frosty's, a clam shack and ice cream parlor. Great name. Inspires fear into the hearts of pirates everywhere. At first I thought Denise was talking about a place called Captain Fluffy's, which is even worse. But not much.

We came back home and played Spades again. Same teams. This time, though, it was a blowout. Boys 465, girls 50. We went zero a couple of times, and that really helped. Plus Denise and Hilde consistently underbid, over and over, so they left a lot of points on the table. But we all still had a great time.

Denise said many things of note during that game, which I wrote down for the world to enjoy for posterity.

Speaking in a tone of great wisdom and experience: 'If you got kings, someone else got aces!'

Denise's views on how to play Spades ethically: 'It's all about the points! It doesn't matter how cheap the victory.'

Denise's explanations for her innovative playing style: 'I'm not incapacitated. I'm just incompetent.'

Denise, explaining that even though she can't shuffle cards, she still has some skills: 'I'm a good passer-outer!'

All in all, a good day with great company.

WebSanity Top Secret