Adventures in Beach Cleaning

Saturday morning the Island King needed to drive the beach cleaner on the beach as well as empty the beach trash cans, meaning he needed me to follow him to the beach, him driving the beach cleaner and me driving the trash truck.

At 5:00 in the morning.

Once we got to the beach I learned that the beach cleaner can not go on the beach until the woman who inspects turtle nests has cleared that area of the beach and that the agreed upon time she would be done was 6:00.

While we waited for 6 the Island King told me that he needed me to drive the truck down the beach in front of the beach cleaner, stopping to pick up any large items left on the beach.

Because you would not believe the stuff people leave on the beach. Tents, chairs, umbrellas, clothes, beach toys, boogie boards, and shocking amounts of trash. Some expect it to be there the next day and some just walk off and leave everything.

Unfortunately for these folks, there is a county ordinance stating that anything left on the beach overnight will be hauled away as trash.

So the trash man comes along, tosses stuff in the back of the truck and takes it to the trash transfer station.

Only Saturday the trash man was the trash lady. And it was her first day.

We rolled onto the beach at 6:04, and I started driving down the beach.

This is VERY cool.

At 6:08 an older woman came running towards me waving her hands and yelling at me.

I stopped, she came up to the truck window and yelled at me that she hadn't finished the turtle check yet and that I was NOT supposed to be on the beach.

I said "We were told 6am was the agreed upon time"

"6:00 don't mean shit - you aren't allowed out here until I finish"

She said this with such venom and hatred that it was literally like being hit with a board.

At 6:08 in the morning.

Before I could respond she started pointing at the beach cleaner coming down the beach behind me and yelling "Look at your boy - what are you going to do about your boy?"

One minute I was driving down a beautiful white sand beach at sunrise and the next I was being cussed and yelled at by an old woman.

So I looked at her, shrugged my shoulders and said "I don't know"

At which point she started walking towards the beach cleaner while I got out of the truck and watched with my mouth hanging open.

What just happened?

She got to the Island King, they talked for a minute and then she went her way and he continued towards me.

He waved his arm for me to continue so off I go.

About 5 minutes later I stopped to pick up a pile of boogie boards and a woman came running over and asked what I was going to do with those boards.

I told her that anything left on the beach overnight is to be picked up and taken to the trash and she immediately asked if she could have one of the boards for her son.

Ok. Less trash I have to empty.

But then she starts rooting around in the back of the truck and as she's grabbing sand toys she's telling me that her sister is here and can't afford toys for the kids.

Perfect. You take the stuff, kids get to play with it and I don't have to take it to the dump spot.

She spots a brown chair and grabs it but as she does she stopped, got an odd look on her face and then launched into a tirade of righteous indignation telling me this is wasteful and that I should be ashamed of myself.

It's 6:45 and I'm being yelled at again!

I just shrugged my shoulders, closed the tailgate and drove on.

As I'm driving I here someone yelling "Trash lady! Trash lady!" so I stop and a man comes running up to me and tells me that he came down a few minutes ago, left a brown chair on the beach and then ran back up to his room because he forgot something.

And someone told him they saw me pick it up.

He wasn't happy and informed me that he knew about the no stuff overnight rules but that he'd come down this morning and I'd taken his chair.

Which I had.

And then I gave it to the woman who'd yelled at me five minutes ago.

I apologized and told him I thought it was trash but then he interrupted me and said "Whatever, just give me my chair back"

Where is a big hole to swallow you when you need one?

I had to tell him that I'd given his chair away and watch his face turn a really interesting shade of purple.

"Which way did she go?" he snarled, referring to the woman who had his chair.

I pointed in the direction she'd gone, said "It's my first day" and drove off.

Wow. It's not even 7:00 and I've been cussed, shamed for throwing things away and yelled at for stealing a chair.

Thank goodness I was finished with my portion of that particular job and was able to park the truck, get out my chair and relax for a little.

I say for a little because it wasn't long before I was approached by a man staying at the condo I was sitting in front of.

He starting chatting and after a couple of minutes I realized that he was hitting on me.

After I declined a Bloody Mary in his condo he realized the guy out there on the beach cleaner was my husband and wandered away.

This has been the most bizarre morning of my entire life. It's like I woke up and drove straight into the Twilight Zone.

About 8:00 the Island King finished cleaning the beach and off we went to empty the trash cans along the beach.

We were changing out trash bags at one spot when a woman came up to me and said "Are you the ones who dig the holes?"

Now I have no idea what she's talking about but I have been berated all morning long and I'm damn sure not going to tell her yes or no because I'm pretty sure that whichever answer I give will be the wrong one.

I called the Island King over and he told the woman he wasn't sure what she meant.

She said "You know, the hole for my umbrella"

The Island King laughed and said "I'm just a lowly trash man - the boys in the yellow shorts set up the umbrellas"

Finally, we were finished and when we got back to the warehouse I was telling my BIL everything that happened.

He laughed pretty hard and welcomed me to his world.

But he did say that I got hit pretty hard on one day because normally you only get yelled at about once a day.

Then he smiled and showed us what he'd found while he was cleaning a different spot on the beach.


He found a wad of cash and I found that people can be really ugly early in the morning.

I think I'll stick with our photography business.

I don't get yelled at near as often and never before 8:00.