It was a great event last Friday, as they had one of numerous beach opening ceremonies across the city. Everyone smiling and even some self-congratulatory back-patting going around, but none of this ever hinted at the annual and somewhat comical confusion of the Parks Dept. PEP officers’ behavior. I seriously question how so many of the staff just cannot be on the same page. Surely they all meet in the same room to get advised on protocol and the ACTUAL rules of the beach.
Not only was it recorded with the Parks Dept. trucks and ATV’s weaving through sun bathers on the sand, our kids were repeatedly harassed by one officer because they had boogie boards on the surfing beach; another one was OK letting people go in. Not to mention our 10-14 year old kids getting ordered out of the water in the surfing beach when they weren’t even ankle deep; another officer was quite OK with 3-4 year olds doing much worse, God forbid they were thigh deep!
I thought this whole boogie board debacle was put to rest, with the statement that it is up to the lifeguards to determine, on the day, if they can be used and where. One lifeguard friend of mine said that they made no decision that day and they should be allowed everywhere. Hmmfff! Confusion reigns again.
Sometimes you just have to let it all happen in front of you, let it fall apart and not worry how the pieces fall. And all the time I see these events unfold. I occasionally come back to one of my favorite, and ultimately true stories that I’ve only shared with a few people.
Two years before Sandy a PEP officer approached me about settling a debate she was having with a co-worker, it went like this:
Her: Yo! Mister! I’ve got to ask you, since you go all the way the hell out there on that stand up thing, so far sometimes I can’t even see you. You’re surely the one to know what the hell that is over there. (She says as she waves her finger in the direction to the land mass west of us)
Me: What? That over there? (As I too point my finger).
Her: Yeah! That over there! Is that England or South America?
After a few gasps for air I take to settle myself.
Me: That? Over there? That’s New Jersey.
Her: GTF outta here!!!! New Jersey???
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