October 30, 2009

October 28, 2009

October 25, 2009

October 24, 2009

Black Island and beyond

My friend Robert, from Washington, was here for a few days to visit his mother. We were planning to
go kayaking but the launch at his mother’s enclave was under construction. Undaunted, and still in the 
mood for an outing, we decided to bike the Black Island trail at Lovers Key.

The island was named after Black Augustus, a pirate who was captured but later escaped, making Black
Island his home. All along the trail we heard the mournful bellowing of an alligator deep in the swamp. 
Black Augustus' ghost. Local legend has it that his treasure is still buried there. We didn’t find it.

So we went to the beach, to practice living well on next to nothing...

October 18, 2009


I was on my way into the city today when I began to notice a line of congestion on the opposite
side of the median, heading back the other way. I congratulated myself for driving in the
direction I was going. But what appeared to be a routine slow-down started to look more ominous as
I neared US 41. Cars were still bumper-to-bumper, and had been inching along, for the entire four
mile stretch.

As I neared the intersection, I could see a traffic cop at the crossroads ahead stopping cars from
turning right, south, in the direction of Coconut Point mall, my destination. He was forcing them
north, or else into a U-turn and back down the road they had just come up. So that was what the
congestion was all about. Still a couple of blocks from the intersection, and thinking I’d
outsmart the traffic, I made a right turn down a side street. I thought I could catch a right-hand
turn on 41 a block or two farther south. Delusion, especially when associated with self-
congratulation, can be comforting.

After a block or two, traffic moving in the opposite direction on the two-lane side street began
to thicken. Then it slowed down in my lane too. As I drew close to the 41 intersection, there was
another traffic cop there. She was turning cars back too.

I pulled into the gas station on the corner, got out of the car, walked to the highway, and looked
south. What I saw was a half-mile of empty interstate and a small city of flashing squad cars
clustered in the distance, their lights shimmering in the wet pavement. A drizzle had begun. I
turned around and joined the conga line back the way I’d already come. I pondered having dawdled
over the camera gear that delayed my departure, and for which I had chastised myself, just an
hour ago.

When I eventually reached US 41 again, I was directed to turn left and a few blocks later pulled
in at a McDonald’s. I noticed a state trooper in his car. I went over and asked him what the mess
on 41 was all about. He told me that there was a pile up. A lot of people got hurt, he said, “a
lot of people.” We chatted a bit. The accident was caused, it seemed, by the usual mix of self-
absorption, impatience, entitlement, and speeding. “I’m not supposed to tell you any of this,”
he said.

I like my truck. It’s given me a license to be pokey. That was unthinkable with my Mustang.
Mustangs aren't allowed to be pokey. It's a state law. But now the pressure is off. People just
drive around me. On the freeway I get in the slow lane, set the cruise to 65, and watch the rat
race burn by while I ease on down, ease on down the road. Which reminds me of a joke my brother
was fond of telling in his youth. Two bulls, a youngster and an oldster, are standing on top of a
hill. They look down to the valley and see a few cows grazing below. The young bull, excited, says
to the old bull “Hey, man, let’s run down there and make love to one of those young heifers. The
old bull looks at him with disdain. “Why don’t we walk down, and make love to all of them.”
Which are my sentiments, if not exactly, appreciably.

October 12, 2009

What could be nicer

Only a few thousand things. Is there anything more over-hyped and overrated than sex? I think it’s mass Pavlovian conditioning, promulgated by the advertising industry. Can't live with it, can't live without it. Sigh. But I can think of hundreds of things more enjoyable, less messy, and less of a letdown, with scarcely even trying...

a Mozart piano concerto
a kiss
an acid trip
Pad Thai
a dip in the ocean at Lido Key beach
lying around all day at Lido Key beach
first night in a great metropolis
a bottle of 1980 Bordeau Blanc
The Cyclone at Coney Island
swaying in a hammock under a frangipani in bloom

feel free to jump in any time...

October 9, 2009

Whether the weather

We’re having a late-season warm spell. Which gives me a few more days, or maybe a little longer,
to ride around on my scooter with my shirt off. I was out today and a couple out of some romantic
comedy pulled over to put the top down on their Mustang. They honked as I rode by. My scooter-beep
brought a wave and a shriek from Amanda and a fist up from Channing. A last hurrah.

Autumn around here is a slow drift into a Canadian summer. My only joy is that we still have a
couple more months before the snowbirds descend, with their noise, their road rage, beach-busting,
and viruses. And money to spend. Me, I’d like to head further south come Christmas, with a couple
of playmates, til spring. Crooked Island, maybe. Never heard of it? Exactly.

I awoke this morning from a disturbing dream. I was in a boat at the marina when a huge storm,
dreadful forty-foot waves, began rolling in. Much chaos, battening down, scrambling, ensued. And
getting packed up to move to higher ground. This was a foreshadowing, it was obvious by morning
light, of the coming seasonal influx. But I fell back asleep pondering the things I would take
with me, not all of it sensible. Camera, laptop, a few old letters, the bottle of Chanel, the
baseball, the Cocteau... the rod and reel... the bottle of shirazzzzzz....

October 6, 2009

October 3, 2009

The driver's seat

My brother was here with his girlfriend for a time. He has his own condo in the building and shows
up for a week, a month, when the spirit moves him, when his airline has a deal he can’t pass up.
He regularly flies down and back for as little as fifteen dollars, round trip. I don’t know how he
does it. I passed it off as idle boasting until he showed me the printout. There it was: DTW to
RSF and back again. Fifteen dollars.

We watch a lot of movies when he’s here, and go out for Chinese, for ribs, for breakfast. For a
while we stopped exchanging DVDs after I got miffed at his taking umbrage with my lending a movie
to my neighbor Fran that he’d to lent me, even though he had just finished watching one that she'd
lent to me that I'd lent to him. Siblings have complex resentments and rules of engagement.

Movie night is at Chez Jeaux since I acquired the big flat-screen TV. Generally accompanied by
snacks by Jack. We had pizza for Palmetto and Adaptation, fried chicken for What About Bob? Beer
abounds. Neither of us quite trusts anybody who won’t drink with one or the other.

He keeps an Explorer at the condo, and insures it with some kind of discount policy that provides
ad hoc coverage when he’s here and uses the car. On the day they left I drove him and Linda to the
airport in the Explorer since my truck is, for all practical purposes, a two-seater. On the way
out he mentioned that the insurance on the car expired at midnight. So I kidded, “So I have until
midnight, huh? Maybe I’ll drive out to Miami after I drop you off.” He looked at me fake-askance.
“Yeah, Miami, or Naples... Fort Myers...” each city progressively closer to home. “Or Fort
Lauderdale,” I said. “I haven’t been there in a while.” Ironic laughter. But no sooner had I
returned to the condo, straight from the airport, and walked in the door, than my cell phone rang.
“So you got home alright...? What took you so long?”

“I stopped at Hess to fill up the car. I wanted a full tank before heading out.”

Ironic laughter. On both ends. I had no interest in driving to Ft. Lauderdale and back before
midnight, but since he'd had to check on me I couldn’t help letting him think I might. I was, for
this hand at least, in the driver's seat. Siblings have complex rules of engagement.

October 1, 2009