A Writer's 21st Century Memoir.

How I Nearly Caught My Death On The Gulf Coast

I lowered my window but didn’t remove the sunglasses that I had picked up from the local target before the trip. The sun’s rays were beating down on the Chevy Silverado truck that my coworker had reserved for me a few days before. So I decided I rather protect my eyes than remove them for the law enforcement officer that was waiting just outside of my window. Everything about the entire trip up to that point had been so last minute, and I continued the trend by picking up the truck after the meeting and heading straight for the coast.

“So,” the border patrol agent said while drawing nearer to my window. “Where are you headed to?l” He too never lowered his sunglasses but smirked out of curiosity.

I was still in my wrap dress with no shoes, and tangled hair from the wind that blew harshly blew directly into the stupid grin that I was wearing the entire way back from the ocean. It was the kind of tangled that resembled a birds next that had fallen out of a tree and into the garbage. I looked a more than a little disheveled, but I shot a smile back.

“I’m headed back to my hotel in McAllen,” I answered while half pausing to think about where I had come from and where I was going. “I just wanted to dip my feet in the ocean.”

Another agent on the other side of the truck walked around the back end to where the open bed was and led his large German Shepard around to sniff my lone vehicle for what I was assuming was for drugs. He ended up leading his dog back around to the front after the panting puppy was positive that I wasn’t secretly pulling a Clint Eastwood as a top-level drug mule under a vicious kingpin.

“That’s a long way to be driving just to go to the beach.” The agent said as he glanced around at the inside of the truck briefly. He then paused again before asking if I was a U.S. citizen. I hesitated in my unwarranted nervousness and proceeded to say, “yes.”

Yes. It was a long way just to go to the beach, and yes, I had obviously been to the beach before living in California for the majority of my life. However, I had never personally seen this particular body of water or ventured out into it as I had done in the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and so many others. The Gulf of Mexico was there, and so I had to go, let the wind whip through my hair like someone skydiving from a plane, and briefly contract some potentially disgusting cold that I probably won’t get rid of for a week.

That day I headed as far South East as I could go before I ended up across country lines into Mexico. I took off my black heeled boots and walked across the bright sand before stumbling further onto Boca State Beach passed the few empty beer bottles and cigarette butts. I thought briefly about picking up some of the iridescent seashells half-buried in the warm sand but then thought about the weird piece of degrading plastic wedged next to some of the beautiful shells and decided against it.

The part of the beach further away from the road was a lot cleaner. I had noticed more gaps of wet sand than mysterious trash as I walked along the coast and decided to make my brief dash for the foamy-looking not so clean water rushing up as strengthening tides on the sand. The second that the water had hit my feet, I instantly thought about the BP oil spill and all the other manmade disasters that polluted the Gulf in particular and ran back to the safety of the beach.

I can probably die now., I thought to myself. Not because of the filthy water, but because I had gone out of my way to cross another destination off of my list without planning. It was all so spurred of the moment as I had decided several minutes before I took off for the coast that I would be going there through the middle of Texas’ wild marshlands alone on unpopulated farm roads

I wanted to continue carrying this feeling of random spontaneity that would take me around the world to wonderful and amazing places, either alone or with friends. It was almost as if not having a New Year’s resolution really did open up the time needed for me to literally get up each morning and do whatever it was that crossed my mind. There were consequences, of course, but I would become more open to so many new and interesting possibilities that I never even thought of before.

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