Categorized | Features, Laurie's Scribbles

When Did Beach Chairs Get So Complicated?

beach chair

Laurie is on a quest to find the perfect, age-friendly, beach chair. 

By Laurie Stone

Alas, there’s a new test for flexibility in our later years. No, it’s not how well we touch our toes or pull a stretch band. It’s how low we can sit in a beach chair.

When young, I could gracefully perch on a tiny canvas strap one inch from the ground. Getting up was a breeze. These days? Not so much.

This dilemma reared its head a month ago when I blithely bought a beach chair from the local drugstore chain. It was little and light and “close to the sand,” the kind I used to use. No problem, I thought, carrying it to a family picnic the next day. That’s when the trouble began.

meals, mother, worrying, hopeful, boys, asleep, pedometerStarting the initial descent, I wondered how far down this thing went, until I ended up collapsing into it. Even worse, when I tried to rise, I had to half-roll, half-twist my way off, using hands on the ground as leverage. Where did my thigh power go?

“Good God,” my younger brother Eric teased from the sidelines. “You okay, Laurie? Should we call a medic?” I started laughing so hard, I worried I’d never get out. What if I was stuck sitting here in February?

The next day, I returned the “Chair from Hell.” But what would replace it?

Nothing Too HeavyI’ve seen beautiful canvas chairs with metal frames but carrying them is like lifting weights at the gym, heavy and cumbersome. No, I want to tote a beach chair, not join the Marine’s, so nothing too heavy.

Nothing Too Long — Chaises look wonderful and comfortable, but they’re also bulky and heavy. It even feels a little show-offy, having full body support while everyone else sits in chairs or on blankets, so nothing too ostentatious.

My mom has a good beach chair and I’ve been known to borrow hers from time to time. But when she needs it, I must give it back. Yes, in this strange, adult rite of passage, I must get my own beach chair.

I’m coming to see this is one of those tasks other people perform in nano seconds, but I struggle with. Every time I go to buy a beach chair, they just sold out. Or I try ordering one from Amazon and I’m told it will take eight weeks — just in time for fall. After trying different types, I now have two more non-negotiables for portable outdoor seating, but …

As they say, it’s hard getting older, when our bodies no longer perform tasks they used to do effortlessly. Did the beach chairs change or did I?

Somewhere my perfect chair is waiting for me. It’ll be the right weight and size, and I won’t have to impress gymnast Simone Biles to get into — or out of — it.

No doubt, my thighs will thank me.

Laurie Stone writes from the woods of Easton, Conn. Her blog, “Musings, Rants &Scribbles,” shares thoughts on growing up, older and (hopefully) wiser. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.


One Response to “When Did Beach Chairs Get So Complicated?”

  1. Diane says:

    I think our search needs to be, instead of a search for the perfect chair, a search for the perfect beach buddy to carry said chair. And while we’re at it, someone to carry us. Maybe four strong men in loincloths to carry us AND our beach chair? I think I’m on to something…


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