The beach, for those wondering, hits back.
Most people, on living 10 minutes away from the beach for the first time in their lives, would want to go and dip a toe in on the first day. No, I have to go and dip two pots, two lids, one frying pan, one tea kettle and four knives.
My cookware, which was ordered on Amazon, made its appearance this morning, after not being delivered on Saturday because no one was around to answer the door. (This was Amazon’s fault for being too prompt – my packages showed up before I did). This was great, because it meant I could start cooking, just as soon as I’d taken care of a few pesky details – like ritually immersing the metal things in a body of water large enough. For those wondering, the Pacific Ocean qualifies and it’s the closest.
So that was my Monday afternoon activity. I even thought things out (marginally) before embarking on this quest. I changed out of jeans and into a skirt, on the theory that the former were far less pleasant when wet. I should note, I wasn’t planning on getting anything higher up than my ankles wet, but I wanted to take precautions (and it’s a good thing I did, the bottom of the skirt has finally dried, about four hours later). I also put on flip flops–another part of my foresight.
So there I was, heading off towards the beach in a jean skirt, flip flops, a sweater, headscarf and a backpack half my size that was clanking like an army of tinkers had just moved in and set up shop. I should mention, by the way, that I didn’t actually know where I was going. I mean, I had the basics down – walk west until you get wet – but I wasn’t sure which roads would actually go to the beach rather than just dead end into a frat house (and one cannot tovel* anything in beer). But I got lucky. I was on one of the main streets in my little University neighborhood and, when it ended, there was a path down to the ocean.
I set off gamely down the path, nearly went sliding down a very steep hill (the downside of flip flops is their complete and utter lack of traction) and cautiously picked my way down. Next came the wooden stairs, then the last few stone steps and I was on the beach. I paused at the landing between the wooden and stone steps and set my bag and myself down. I had forgotten just how big the ocean is. It’s big. It’s also an ugly sort of brownish green reminiscent of bad interior decorating, but that was because there was one giant cloud in the entire sky and I was under it.
So I decided to be prudent and leave my bag on the stone landing and take each piece down one by one, which was surprisingly sensible for me. The frying pan went first, then the small pot and its lid. Then I got complacent, just in time for me to be immersing the larger pot’s lid. Now, for those of you who don’t know/remember, the way one dunks something in a mikvah* requires that every metal part of the object is immersed completely and simultaneously. That means letting go. Letting go in a regular mikvah is fine, just try not to drop any goblets. Letting go of something in the Pacific Ocean is a whole nother kettle of fish.
A stupid wave came along and washed the lid right out of my held-kinda-open hands. But it washed it towards the shore, so I ran after it, missed, ran after it again in the opposite direction as the undertow grabbed hold of it and finally snagged it right before the next wave hit and soaked me halfway up my thigh.
So, pot lid was rescued, pot was dutifully (and far more carefully) immersed and everything else (the kettle and knives) had this useful plastic handle that I could hold on to. Of course, first I had to get the knives out of their packaging. I had left them in the cardboard and plastic packaging they had come in for easier transportation – I was trying to avoid getting cut, you see. Most of you can figure out what happened next.
Yep, I cut myself on the edge of the plastic.
But then I was done. I could repack everything in my bag and take it back to my apartment and wash it thoroughly and then I could return to being a real person who can cook. But first, I had to get all the knives back in to the plastic and repack my clattering knapsack and, as I did so, the rings on my left hand went flying off my finger.
Yes, that left hand. Yes, those rings.
For reasons unknown, my body had decided that my fingers would be a great place to lose weight from, so they are thinner than they were two years ago. And it was cold and my hands were wet and my hand was moving and they just darted off.
I hooked one of them midair, while the other one fell behind the railing and, to all appearances, under the deck.
So the first thing I did was check which one I had. It was my engagement ring – which was good, because it meant that the worst case scenario hadn’t happened (Yes, it’s insured. No, that’s not the point). The second thing I did was climb back down to the beach, which wasn’t so much a beach anymore because the waves were coming up higher and hitting the bottom step. I went around the side, clambered over the rocks, and looked down to see my wedding ring sitting nice and pretty on a pile of seaweed, just out of sight from the stairs and not under anything at all.
I put it back on my hand, told it sharply to “stay” and began the long walk home.
On the bright side, I’ve discovered the supermarket for grown-ups in this little undergraduate community (by which I mean the produce section is larger than the cheap beer section. No, this was not true of the place I had been to yesterday). Not only that, it seems that expensive organic stuff with kosher symbols are more ubiquitous than anything else. I have Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin bread for breakfast! This is exciting, in case the exclamation point doesn’t give that away. I now also have both the tools and ingredients for thai peanut stir fry and so, if you don’t mind, I’m going to head off and take care of that dinner thing.
*tovel – ritually immerse
*mikvah – body of water in which something is ritually immersed. There are certain requirements that dictate what constitutes a mikvah, which is why I didn’t just do all this in the pool right outside my window.