June 19, 2007 - Ed Bares All
Summer officially begins on the Summer Solstice, which this year is at exactly 1:06PM on Thursday June 21st (as opposed to the Summer Solstice Parade, which this year is at around noon on Saturday June 23rd). For all essential purposes however, the first day of summer was yesterday - the first day of summer vacation for school kids - high school, junior high, and UCSB.
Of course Edhat has documented and lamented that kids don't spend their free time like kids in the olden days. They don't ride their bikes without helmets, and they don't play outside in the neighborhood. But to every generation summer still means a day at the beach with the sun in your eyes, suntan lotion on your back, and sand between your toes.
Yesterday morning the dedicated staff of edhat.com went to beach to watch the change of season. We took along our silver-surveyors -
tally counters - to count the number of people walking barefoot on the beach. We started off our shoeless journey from Hendry's Beach and walked all the way up to Hope Ranch Beach (and back). If not for the cool temperature and the thick marine layer above us, it would have been a perfect summer day.
We passed 43 people on our way up to Hope Ranch Beach. Groups of kids at the two endpoints of our journey provided us with the most shoeless sightings. In between there was nothing but adult walkers - mostly in shoes, barely a few without. It seems that for the over-twenty crowd, the allure of sandy soles is not as strong as the need for firm ankle support. Concerns about getting our shoes soaked underneath a crashing wave are far less than our concerns about getting our floor mats covered with sticky grains of sand that hide in the cracks between our toes.
The adult shoe-wear we sighted not only covered the bottoms of people's feet, but it also covered the entire gamut of footwear. There were sandals with straps and sandals with toe-thongs (zorries). There were running shoes, hiking boots, and specialized walking shoes. Barefoot styles were all the same.
Overall, 39.53% of people walking at the beach were feeling the sand between their toes. ParkieP picked 39%. SilkSpider picked 40%. By the width of a grain of sand between the toes of toy poodle, the daily t-shirt is awarded to SilkSpider, who just signed up for Edhat yesterday. For those of you who've been playing the Edhat contest for a long time with no shirt to show for it, well ... life's a beach!