Sunday, April 8, 2007

A Day In The Life OF ME

November 9, 1997 ~age 25~

I woke up at 9 am Florida time. I had been in St. Pete’s Beach for over two weeks. I was staying at my boss’s beach side cottage and although I loved every minute of it, it was also lonely on my own. I shower, get dressed and go down to the beach one last time. I stare at the water, the seagulls, the big empty beach chairs at the Holiday Inn next door. I had worked every night I was there but one. I did get to see the sunset over the water. It was spectacular. I was living a dream right then and there and I knew it. I had never seen water so big that there was no other side. Even if it was “just the Gulf” it was spectacular.

Every morning I would walk that beach down to the big pink hotel, the Don Cesar. This was my last. I had a taxi coming to get me at 3 to catch a 5:15 flight back to Minneapolis. I went to the house, packed my bags. Left out my jacket and put on jeans and a new Bob Marley T-shirt I bought. I had to dress accordingly, as to the plane ride with a switch in St. Louis and flying into the Minnesota winter. I shivered as I thought of the cold.

I walked to the to the nearest souvenir shop to buy gifts for my family. All the shells I found on the beach were small. Plus my first day on the beach I saw a man on this huge looking bulldozer like contraption. He was gathering all the shells and crushing them into a path like pile. People jogged on that path. I was horrified that I had to get seashells in a store. Who knows where they came from? I made my purchases. Walked even further down the street and had another first time experience. I ate at IHop’s. OMG, it was exactly like in my dream and better than any Tremendous Twelve I ever ate at Perkins at 3 in the morning.

When the cab came after me I made a decision that had been bugging me for the last week. I had decided right then and there that I would not move to Florida and manage the bar for my boss. This decision came from one palm tree. It was decorated with Christmas lights and it just wasn’t right. All the Christmas décor just seemed out of place to me. That made me feel like I would be out of place, I thought.

The cab driver was nice. He talked up a storm on the history of the Howard Frankland Bridge. Most of which I forgot. I loved looking at the Bay. Then he pointed out a dolphin in the water, going along as we did. The cab driver was willing to stop at Yankee Stadium (Legends Field, ok Rala) so I can take a picture but my camera was packed away. So I said a little prayer to George Steinbrenner as we passed it.

At the airport I got hit on by the skycap. I was like “Dang must be all the Sun.”, then I checked in and was starving so thank god Tampa International had a KFC. I ate from the buffet. Then went to a lounge to relax, read, and wait for my flight as my nerves settled to some chardonnay.

Flying makes me nervous, I won’t lie. But once I can look out a window I am fine. I guess I get nervous about the landing part every since I seen that one flight in Iowa land in a fireball and people were lying all over the corn field. I was relieved to see that I got a window seat. A little short pudgy man had to get up to let me into my seat. He introduced himself but I don’t remember his name. He was going back to his home in Chicago, was originally from India, and worked as a nuclear engineer. He even gave me a business card, just in case you know...I ever need a nuclear engineer. When the flight attendant came around he asked if I would join him in a chardonnay, I was like suuuuuuuuuure. So he ordered us two each. Well, this should be interesting, I thought. We drank the chardonnay, talked about our lives and just things in general. We laughed a lot, but that’s just the type of person I am. I like to laugh whether I am tipsy or not. A sense of humor means everything to me. When we were over St. Louis the pilot announced that the runway traffic was backed up and we had to circle St Louis for a bit. I looked out to see if I could see the arches and the city was above us. At first in my chardonnay pickled mind I thought immediately ALIENS. You know like on the movie Independence Day where those big spaceships are like on top of the White house and stuff. Then I figured out we were flying at an angle and felt silly. I panic easy; I am a Pisces, ok. So I counted 13 other planes circling St Louis like sharks. I looked for the arches because I missed them on my flight over. I saw river boats but no damn arches. Now I like have to see it in person to believe it is there.

I landed in St Louis ok, without the plane turning into a fireball or me flying in a cornfield. My flight to Minneapolis was announced as I was saying bye to Apoo, (OK, not his name but I jacked it from the Simpson’s.) I sat next to a lady that didn’t offer chardonnay but she liked to read, which was fine with me because I had brought Terry McMillan’s “Mama” with me to finish but Apoo never gave me a chance.

The pilot announced as we were getting close to land that it was a “sunny 3 degrees in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.” I put my jacket on and got off the plane. My mom and best friend was waiting for me. We found my luggage easy and I walked outside. The arctic blast hit me so hard when we opened the glass doors. I thought of the beach in Florida, of the palm trees, of the sunshine. Did it really matter to me that my Christmas lights hung in the right climate?

The answer was yes.


Josie said...

Absolutely! It will never feel like Christmas to me here in New Mexico, where we shop for presents in our shirtsleeves without a snowflake anywhere in sight. There is no place like home.

Dorid said...

LOL there's been plenty enough snow here in NM lately ;)

You know, it bothered me when I was in FL... Chewy used to say the Christmas lights just don't sparkle off the sand the same way... The kids always wanted a Christmas Palm, but I never bought one. I still feel a little bad about that.

a lot of the little mom and pop tourist shops rely on the local shellers to keep things going down there... that's why at dawn they send out the trucks to crush the shells... because if the tourists are spending money on shells, then the locals get to eat. It's kinda sad in a way, becuase some of the items in the shell shops are harvested rather than found... like the sand dollars.

Sand dollars are raked out of the sand alive and put in flats that look like plastic soda bottle cases only they stand up in them in long rows. They're loaded into the back of the pickup truck of the sheller, sometimes thousands at a time, and taken to be processed: dumped alive into vats of bleach which strip the flesh off them and bleach them the nice white the tourists like. Average cost of a sand dollar today in St Pete Beach? ONE DOLLAR. I'd give them the damn dollar to let the poor little bugger go!