While other beach denizens make their homes in the sand and water and hide from the direct sun, we do the opposite. We put down towels and beach chairs to separate us from the sand and use plastic floats to keep us above the water. Then we catch our solar rays despite everything we've learned about the dangers of tanning.
The weirdest thing we do, though, is build homes that fly in the face of everything we know about living on the shore.
INSTEAD of orienting homes to make the best use of cooling ocean breezes, we line them up in neat suburban rows.
WE PRIZE "the view," but separate ourselves from it with glass and screens, requiring us to clean constantly to keep the view clear.
WE FURNISH these homes with items that battle with the elements: heavy upholstery, carpeting, finicky electronics, dust-catching rattan.
WE INSTALL hard-to-maintain swimming pools just feet away from the greatest swimming hold earth has to offer.
Then, hoping to protect all our investments and yet further separating ourselves from the beach, we put in air conditioning.
At this time of year, even in more moderate climates, people begin to separate along the air conditioning line. The "pros" can't imagine summer without chilled escape pods; the "cons" can't see why anyone would want to need a sweater in August.
I am truly baffled by people who move to the islands for the warmth, then shut themselves off from it. Yes, I know that sometimes the breeze dies and it gets oppressively hot. But those days, really, are rare and should be taken as a sign that it's time to slow down, take a swim, have a cool drink or take a nap. There's a reason certain areas of the world have a tradition of the siesta. Pre-AC people had it figured out.
I don't totally reject all AC. I think a certain level of it is necessary in hospitals and nursing homes, and I concede that it can provide an escape from sand flies on certain hot, still mornings. Nevertheless, I'd rather use Off! as my perfume than seal myself away from island living.