The most notable event on Friday was my journey to the starting point of it all, Second City. When I arrived at the airport amidst a flurry of sorority sisters, the sun was quite brilliant and the wind refreshingly brisk. whowantscookies was unable to pick me up at that hour, so I took the train into town and proceeded to walk the rest of the way.
Unfortunately, I remembered the wrong street, so I overshot my destination by ten blocks and wound up in a very interesting part of town. This was eventually ironed out and I began plodding in the proper direction, but the sky had grown quite ominous. The wind began to pick up, and it became strong enough to force me to cease all forward motion. The gusts threw stinging particles of sand and dirt at me, which was more than enough warning that shit was about to happen. I had just enough time to remove my hearing aid and put it safely away in its protective case before the rain could hold back no longer.
I was determined to make it no matter what, but the wind prevented the use of an umbrella, and lacking windshield wipers of some sort on my spectacles, I could barely see where I was going. I was surely swimming upright, so I took refuge at a bus stop and waited for the deluge to break up. The shelter did not block all of the elements, as it often poured in sideways and dripped through the openings in the roof, but it was a definite improvement over being out in the open.
By this time, whowantscookies was able to come and find me in his car, a conveyance which was much appreciated. I maintain that the inherent tendency of white shirts to draw trouble is what caused the sudden downpour.
This was the moment of reckoning for me, the day I had been fussing over and looking forward to for weeks. I swam in the ocean for the first time in my life, ambled along a boardwalk which was infested by rather aggressive sea gulls, ate much junk, and most importantly, wore a two piece swimsuit for the first time since my elementary school days, an era when my swimsuits were characterized by fluorescent colors and butt ruffles.
I was very nervous and agitated at first. No one else had a swimsuit that showed as much as mine did! I never wear stuff like this! My body is far from perfect! Oh dear! Oh dear! I had predicted last minute cold feet, so I purposely left the Speedo alternative behind at the hotel. Oh dear! Ocean! I was going to do it, yes, no matter what! No fear! Oh geeze! I had to muster my courage to leave my cover up behind, but I did.
I eventually grew more accustomed to showing so much flesh. Swimming and playing around in the waves helped a good deal, as I did not feel as much like a lone cheese cube on a platter at a party while I was out in the water.
Over all, the bikini concept isn't so bad, and I now think I can wear them. I just need to find one that is more suited to my personality and needs ... a little more modest, and more function over form! I'm not a sunbather, nor do I parade myself particularly well. I like to have fun without fear of something falling out. The bikini I wore is much more suited for controlled conditions, such as a swimming pool or a situation in which no water is expected. With ocean waves knocking me off my feet, however, the risk of exposure was greatly increased. I managed to retain some of my dignity, but some was lost due to large waves ... fortunately, I do not think people were watching me at those embarrassing moments!
Speaking of fun, I would like to introduce you to Cosandtopia, a kingdom in which cosplayers rule (and are eventually defeated by small children). The Great Burning of 2006 began during the construction of the mighty barrier and waterway system, intended to protect the magnificent city of beads from the tide (which was actually receding and thus no threat). A proudly round watchtower stood on the edge of the water drain. Behind the wall, one could find the Happiest Pyramid, a deep quarry which could also double as a foot bath, a three story WalMart with products designed specifically for cosplayers, a Beached Whale from which all the town residents obtained their food supply and a squashed cylinder which was actually meant to be a giant pie.
We received a surprising number of compliments on our magnificent magnum opus of sand and cosplay combined, but it was not to last. Some punk kids sacked the great city and left it in ruins. All was in shambles, and only the T-shaped waterway remained virtually untouched.
The Great Burning of 2006 continued after we finished swimming. While we all applied copious amounts of sun screen, every fair-skinned person amongst us began to show signs of the scarlet plague. Due to my new semi-permanent neckline, I believe that a majority of my sunburn occurred at this time.
We did not linger too long at the flea market, for most of the party had succumbed to The Great Burning of 2006 and did not relish the idea of being outdoors for any great length of time. I successfully resisted the urge to spend money on an old camera, ice cream and a pair of needlenose pliers!
The Second City airport was full of Sunday afternoon chaos, and the soundtrack to "Schindler's List" played in the background ... an oddly melancholy choice for a place so bustling. The flight using the gate before mine was tardy, and so our boarding was delayed. Once we were on the plane and heading towards the runway, I looked out the window and noticed a long line of aircraft ... we took up our place at the end of it. I dozed on and off while we lost approximately a half hour or so while waiting for permission to take to the air.
Once we were in the sky, the flight itself was quite brief ... until we neared New City, that is. Due to rain in the area, we were forced to circle for another half hour or so before being permitted to land. Once we were on the ground, we learned that due to lightning strikes in the area, no one was permitted to be on the field ... which translated into no one being able to operate the metal ramps that would remove both passengers and luggage from the plane. And so we waited.
8:30: On the ground in New City.
9:10: Approximate time we were allowed to deplane.
9:48: Time I retrieved my luggage.
10:20: Boarded the first of two buses back home.
11:53: Boarded the second bus.
12:25: Home. Finally!
a.k.a., proof for certain doubting individuals that I actually did wear a bikini in a public location.
On my camera:
- The clouds on the flight to Second City were quite beautiful.
- Being followed by the paparazzi.
- Viewer be warned: I look terrifyingly like a wimpy body-builder in this one. Photo by stefan_.
- The beginning of Cosandtopia.
- Random strangers on the beach. YAY OCEAN!
- Sara being a beach babe.
- Stefan permitting me to take a picture at an awkward angle.
- Rob looking very confused.
- Mar being a hot beach bunny!
- Dustin, Sara and Dave on a ride.
- Flying into trouble.
- The trouble.
- Before The Great Burning of 2006. I can tell because we can touch our shoulders.
- Cosandtopia from behind the protective barrier.
- Cosandtopia from in front of the protective barrier.
- Everyone minus Rob.
- If it weren't for my horrendous burn line, I'd love this photo to pieces.
- WHEN RAPTORS ATTACK!!