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On the beach

Posted by Kahrobaie on August 05, 2007

Could "to be on the beach" mean jobless or being in land instead of sea in the following phrase? It's a phrase in "1919" by John Dos Passos (Joe is a deserter - he has deserted US navy becasue he doesn't want to fight in Europe) He's in B.A. and just found a job in a freight ship:

"Go get your dunnage (luggage) and be back here in an hour," said M. "Haven't got any dunnage. I've been on the beach." replied Joe.