The worst job I’ve ever had in my entire life happened the summer of my senior year of high school. I got hired by a resort in Destin, Florida to drive around a golf cart, pick up tourists and take them to the beach. When they needed my services, they’d beep me the number of the house they were staying in, I’d pull up to the front door, load them in and drive them to the end of the street. It sounded ideal, a summer in the sun. But it grew old, fast. Eight hours a day, I’d pull up to an Easter egg-colored house on the resort’s property, wait for an army of sunburnt tourists in zinc oxide-covered noses to toddle out of their house, weighted down with one or two coolers, beach chairs, umbrellas, bags brimming with tourist trap beach toys and whining children branded with orange arm floaties. They’d demand all their regalia fit into my four-person golf cart. After which we’d take off about as fast as a golf cart with an elephant riding shotgun, to the beach—which was literally a few feet away.
But wait, Petey forgot his alligator float. And Kimmie needed her beach Barbie. Nearly every time my cart was loaded and ready to roll (or putter at this point), said tourist family would remember they left another armload of whatever and we’d have to go back for more.
In addition to carting people who couldn’t walk the small property, I baked in the sun like a piece of clay in a kiln. Here’s what you might not know about golf carts: The sun only comes in on the side where you’re sitting. So, at the end of the summer, my left side was a glorious Tahitian brown. My right leg, hidden under the shade of the golf cart’s top, not so much. I was like a human black and white cookie. And there was no amount of self tanner that could balance me out.
The resorts only rule, other than catering to the laziest people on earth, was to keep the cart moving at all times so if someone forgot to beep me, they could still catch a ride. That was the summer I learned how to drive the cart’s monotonous loop while simultaneously reading paperback mystery novels or sleeping. It was also the summer I decided you should never go to the beach with more than you can carry.
To adhere to my beach policy, a good tote is essential. My Miami-made Hayden Reis bag is big (and strong enough) to fit all my necessities. Kiddo demonstrates. And it comes with a matching wet bag to carry your post-beached bathing suit. This one from Maio Swim by Monica Wise is awesome.
For whomever had to take my place after I quit that job, my deepest apologies. I’m sure the song “Hit the Road, Jack” now has a whole new meaning for you, too.