We were driving to Dead Horse Bay. We should have turned around right here.
A few minutes beyond the Verrazano Bridge, a Jeep nearly killed us, practically forcing us off the road as it cruised sideways into our lane. Our friend Ariana, who was driving, kept her cool and avoided disaster. Then she went on with her story about the pigs of Nicaragua.
So there was that.
When we got to Dead Horse Bay, we found the new oil pipeline in the works.
But near the wide green grassy path to the beach I found a lot of juicy pokeweed shoots, and got to work. A few minutes later I glanced down at my white linen pants. Ticks. Crawling up me. Squeal. So Ariana looked at herself. Ticks. Squeal. A few yards later there were fresh ones. Her blue canvas shoes were covered with them.
I can't really get over it. I come from Africa, where I scarcely see a tick, and in New York City I have to worry about them.
And so it went till we got to the beach. Where the wind whipped and the water was a sullen grey chop. We broke the tick news to Vincent who hates ticks beyond any other thing.
He seemed tick free.
I found a couple of useful bottles from the constantly eroding shoreline, but we swung around the corner and towards a sandier return path, to beat a retreat.
On the way back, the same thing. Ticks. I kept flicking them off poor Ariana with my foraging knife, as they appeared. I found only a few more on me. With orange sneakers and white pants I think they saw me as a bright alien being. But she, navy blue, was under siege. So much for the bucolic picnic I had imagined, lounging on the fresh spring grass. No way, Jose.
Instead, we tailgated on safe tarmac in the parking lot of Floyd Bennett, across the road - the enormous aerodrome-turned ill-maintained National Park. But not before the we had all retired to the odorous bathrooms to perform strip searches.
Field garlic pickles and chicken liver mousse. And I believe I downed the lion's share of the gin and tonic.
I hate ticks.