I was at the beach today. Beautiful day. The beach is called Cooper Beach and is located in Southampton, New York.
This time of year the it is filled with visitors who want to relax on the beach that has been voted one of the top three in the entire USA.
Today the water temperature was just right. The Atlantic Ocean waves were gentle and rolling. The sky was blue. And I was at peace with the world.
Emerging from the surf I walked toward the beach and where I had left my towel and other beach-type stuff.
As I neared my gear I saw a man standing and staring out at the ocean. He looked out of place because he was wearing dungarees, a long-sleeved shirt and a turban. Under the turban flowed a long beard that came down to the top of his chest.
When I came next to him we glanced at each other. I reached for my towel and stood there just a foot or so away from him. For no particular reason I said to him, “The water’s great. You should jump in.”
He looked at me and smiled and said he wasn’t quite dressed for it, which was obvious. We then started talking. Two strangers — one white the other brown — about the water, the waves, the sand, the fact that there was no danger of sharks (everyone worries about sharks) and how glorious a day and the beach was.
He told me he was visiting from Toronto. He came to New York with his family to see other family members in the New York area. He said he Googled beaches around New York and up came Southampton so he decided to pack his family into the car and come and see the beach for himself.
Just then his wife came over and joined us. She too was dressed in dungarees and a long-sleeved shirt but it was obvious she was excited and wanted to go into the water.
I urged them both to jump in when they were ready. Before we parted company I shook hands with both of them and introduced myself as “Neil”. The man and woman told me their names but I must confess I didn’t quite understand what they said. Yes, I guess I am a linguistically-challenged American.
As the couple walked away and I packed up my belongings I noticed a woman sitting on the beach staring at me. She was just feet away, within hearing distance of my entire conversation. I looked at her and saw something strange. She had a look on her face of surprise (I don’t want to claim shock) that I, a white man, would be speaking to a brown stranger right in the middle of a beach filled with people as white as the sand.
I looked at her and smiled. I wasn’t going to let the deplorables of the world ruin a terrific day.