Most young kids will play with others at the seashore, jump in the waves, share their plastic shovels and think nothing of spontaneously making a new friend.
That mindset often wanes with age.
Sure we will chat casually and smile at strangers but that is usually the limit.
This summer I had a beach buddy.
Okay, we did not meet in the sand and share shovels but we evolved into beach buddies all the same.
In the Spring, a couple from Germany moved here to San Diego for 6 months. Our husbands worked together which was the catalyst for our friendship. And I certainly remembered living in a foreign country years ago and not knowing a soul.
So she and I got together on a regular basis.
We walked the local beaches, Del Mar, Solana Beach and La Jolla Shores (her favorite). Barefoot, swapping stories for hours. No pretense. No awkward silences. Not afraid to share.
We discussed aspirations, how to make meatballs and what craziness had ensued during the week.
Sometimes we practiced words (she had a bit of difficulty with those starting with the letter ‘v’).
Many times I would interpret the slang that she heard but didn’t quite understand.
“Why do Americans always say they have issues?”
One day she surprised me by saying, “People are laughing at me. It happened more than once and they won’t tell me why.”
Turns out she had been ordering Veggie burgers as she is a very healthy gal and likes to eat nutritional meals.
Which is fine.
Except she was asking for a “wedgie burger”.
I mimicked how kids could give each other a wedgie, by pulling up my pants as high as they would go, and she got the joke.
We both burst out laughing.
I found her range of interests fascinating, from the accent reduction seminar to surfing classes and later the Brain Gym.
Last week it was time to say good-bye. They flew back to Germany.
I will miss our conversations along the coast.
But am inspired to be more spontaneous.
Knowing that grown-ups can have beach buddies too.