By Kimberly Krautter
I never go to the beach. What's the point? I'm not going to get in the water. No way. I know what's in there. Personally, I prefer to eat the buffet, not to be the buffet.
Yes, I admit it. I have the world's most ridiculous shark-phobia. In 1975, I was 10 years old when my parents took my then 7-year old brother and me to see "Jaws." Now before you gasp in horror and proclaim my parents wholly unfit, in their defense, it was the Friday night of opening weekend, and in the 70s we didn't have the boffo blockbuster movie marketing that we have today. They thought it would be a jolly little summer movie. Rollercoaster fun. Like the rollercoasters in the baby end of the park. Who knew?
The theatre was packed to the gills. We had to stack up in the seats. I sat on my dad's lap. My brother sat on my mom's. We even had to sit in different rows. Frankly, I don't think I recovered from that first scene. I still have nightmares about "the tug." Oof. My stomach just flipped with the thought of it. My little brother passed out when the head popped out of the boat. OK, maybe he didn't pass out, literally, but mom swears the "went limp."
It is said that I didn't take a bath for months, and I do recall that I developed an impressively strong bladder because I was very suspicious of the toilet.
It's really sad because before then I was a little fish. I loved the ocean. You couldn't get me out of it. I used to spend hours on end, neck deep in the murky water off Hilton Head Island tippy-toeing along the bottom hoping to detect sand dollars which I would bring up for my growing collection. Hey look, remember I told you it was the 70s. We didn't know that was considered poaching. After the movie, I became a confirmed mountains and rivers gal. Surfing whitewater in a kayak, you betcha. Boogie boarding on the breakers, not on your life.
The great thing is that when you have no plans to go to the beach, you have no pressure to participate in the annual season of dread known as swimsuit shopping. You have no reason to suffer the glare of overhead fluorescent lights that cast a sickly pallor on your skin and expose every dimple on your flesh. There is every reason to ignore your expanding hips and waistline.
What about the pool, you ask? Well in addition to my rather convenient phobia, I also have paper-white Irish skin, so in general, the Sun is not my friend. Another reason to avoid the swimsuit. Hurray for me!
Avoidance is a marvelous psychological coping mechanism. I buy breezy little dresses and skirt ensembles. Unfortunately those breezy little dresses have become more like caftans these days.
Hey, isn't this why God made Spanx®?
My apologies to Sara Blakely, a goddess to be sure.