It’s an endearing little custom of your people, that of sending the men out in the early morning to plant the tent legs and umbrellas in the prime spots, dig them in hard against the high tide coming along in two hours, and space the chairs so they get the proper breathing room. They work so hard, those chairs, stuffed for 358 days in cramped lockers under the sundeck. They deserve their freedom. After all, I get a whole cubicle to myself for nine hours five days a week, with weekends to move about freely.
Besides, they got here first. What am I doing at 7:00 a.m. but lazily wiping counters and folding laundry between sips of coffee on the 15th floor of the Capri, staring longingly out the salt-crusted window as a striped canvas forest unfolds before my eyes, a panorama of umbels breaking ground and blooming all at once, big swaths of wild umbrellas a wildlife preserve for bikini- and tankini-clad wives and mothers who will finally come to keep their belongings company after a leisurely breakfast at 10, the ice in their red plastic cups watering down the mimosas and bloody Marys in the elevator.
Leslie F. Miller