Susie was one of the first people I met in Newport. She’s a great friend and also my walking buddy. Anytime the weather is decent we’re out for a walk somewhere. She knows a lot about the area, and we’ve had a pretty good time laughing at my attempts at pronouncing Oregon cities. On our walks I am sometimes treated to what I like to call “Beach Patrol Susie’s Rules to Live By.” Usually some event on the beach brings these little tidbits of wisdom and we laugh, but there is always some truth behind what she says.
Rule #1 – If the ocean gets sucked out really far, run like heck. It’s a tsunami.
Rule #2 – Don’t dig big holes in the sand unless you plan on filling them back in.
Rule #3 – Never turn your back on the ocean.
Rule #4 – Don’t play on logs that have washed ashore.
A few days ago I decided I would take advantage of the “not raining at the moment” weather and head out for some exercise. I called Susie to see if she wanted to join us, but she was busy. So I headed to South Beach State Park for an easy run with Abigail. We started to get sprinkled on a little bit, but with my new rain cover for the jogger it didn’t really matter. I did a mental heel click and continued on. Abigail, however, was not so happy to continue on. She started to whine as she frantically tried to pull off her socks. I put my headphones back in and kept running. Terrible, maybe. But what was I going to do – teleport us back to the car?
It is not uncommon for Abigail to get upset in the stroller. So this time I had come prepared. We had our new obsession, I mean birthday present, Violet the interactive dog. I hoped that we would have time to walk Hank afterwards so I even packed a snack.
As we approached the van I saw Hank’s big furry head through the windshield. Why was he so high up? Oh right, because he was sitting on the back seat. I’m surprised he wasn’t buckled up chatting on his cell phone. I opened the door to let him out and grabbed Abigail’s snack. The clouds were getting a little darker, but I figured we’d just walk until the rain told us to turn around.
The snack seemed to appease Abigail for two more miles until we were back at the van. I was ready to load up when I saw that she had made a huge mess. Instead of eating her snack Abigail decided it would be fun to take each piece of cereal and crumble it up. It was everywhere. I cleaned her off the best I could and put her in the car. Hank was already in the back. I took my hand and brushed the remaining crumbs out of the stroller. Suddenly one measley seagull twenty yards away turned into five thousand swarming me.
Hypnotized by the crumbs on the ground the gulls waddled closer and closer. I took the folded stroller and pushed it frantically in their direction screaming, “Back! Back!” (I’m still thankful that there was no one around to witness this display.) It was working. They were backing off, but I knew I would only have a few seconds after loading the stroller to make it to safety. I flapped my arms yelling one more time, threw the stroller in the back, closed the gate, and raced to the driver’s seat. I had survived and was ready to get going. Only I couldn’t because the keys were in the bottom of the stroller. I glanced outside and saw a mass of seagulls surrounding the car. There was no way I was going back out there. I crawled through the van, over the seats into the back where I grabbed the keys, victorious.
Which brings me to Rule #5 – Seagulls don’t play around with free food.
I called Susie to tell her what happened on our walk without her.
“Ah, Rookie Mistake,” she laughed. Touche.