Discover more from Squirrel Tomatoes
Episode 2 of Squirrel Tomatoes: Irina Groushevaia
Squirrel Tomatoes chronicles my attempt at growing tomatoes while battling squirrels.
It also features guest authors who I ask to write anything they want as long as it is at least 69 words in length. I do not edit them, and they retain all rights to their work. Today’s guest author is Irina Groushevaia, a non-binary Russian writer and reporter covering the intersections of culture, food, and LGBTQ+. You can find them on Instagram and Twitter.
I love what Irina wrote.
Squirrel Tomatoes is free. It also features advertisers who agree to donate $25 to their charity of choice.
TODAY’S AD is from Bertie the Pom (Ian).
Bertie the Pom’s ad reads:
"Hi readers, please consider donating to your local foodbank if you are able, and Hi Helen!"
Thank you to Bertie the Pom for their ad.
Beach Day Not Relaxing as Advertised
By Irina Groushevaia
I thought I was going to have a nice beach day, finally a breath of relief from the hot, musky city. I was alone, on a break from my apartment and partner at the Rockaways.
Ready to plunge into the Atlantic Ocean and let the waves gently carry me, I put down my Soviet history book and removed my mask in anticipation of sweet freedom.
I love the Oceanside: I was sent to Sea camp in Crimea for many summers and often our family vacation would end up being a popular “all inclusive” trip to Egypt, where the 3-star hotels were infested with other Russian, German, and British tourists with massive sunburns and hangovers.
The beach was the only place my single mother would scream and beat us less, as she was busy getting free drinks from local men. “Go do something,” she would tell us, me 12 and my sibling 17, in a foreign country, in a shitty hotel. We’d go to the beach.
Entering the water, I felt a rush of excitement: the cold tide brushed up on my legs. I went deeper into the vast, dark green body, and plunged. I was at tears, allowing myself to indulge in self care during a pandemic. But suddenly, my body felt like it was on fire. Confused, I dipped back down under the water. It felt like red ants were trapped in my bathing suit—I rushed back to the shore.
Anxiously, I pulled my swim top away from my chest to see what was going on. Dozens of tiny, see-through jelly-like ocean aliens were trapped in the seams of my top. Barely able to contain a scream, I ripped it off and started brushing myself with the towel with such force that the other beach goers started giving me looks, “you good?”
No, bitch, I’m obviously not good.
Realizing, there’s massive pinching in my shorts, I haphazardly pulled on my mask, grabbed my sanitizer, and ran to the public bathroom in broad daylight. It took me all my willpower to not wail or sob, as I shook out these tiny motherfuckers from hell and stood completely naked in a public bathroom stall, during a global pandemic.
Shaken, I started googling “small sea creatures stuck in bathing suit” and discovered I had caught sea lice, which are jellyfish babies, and were brought into our waters with the Isaias storm. I was humiliated and defeated by some tiny ass jello larvae. Let this be a PSA.
Thank you, Irina.
See you next week for Episode 3, The Swamp.