I drove back to the place to get my luggage and the detritus of 20 years' vacationing. This is a turn-key sale, which means almost everything in the apartment--the pots and pans, silverware, towels, throw pillows, TVs and DVD players--everything stays. I had to negotiate to take the espresso machine. Now I wish I could leave some sort of Floridian booby trap under the bed, something that might explode and cover Gramps with aloe gel. Or better still, something alive and with claws.
The three-hour drive to the Amtrak station in Sanford is uneventful, except that I have sprayed Hawaiian Gold SP4 in my left eye so I am tearing throughout the trip. Also, my Avanti's aged A/C is not up to the task of dealing with the noonday heat. I arrive soaked in sweat and with my left eye swollen shut. I resort to sticking my entire head under a faucet in the men's room, but in the interest of conservation, water comes out in two-second spurts. I am trying to wash my eye out when a voice says, "Wouldn't drink that, if I were you." There are no paper towels, and I will not suffer the shame of putting my hwead under the whooshing air dryer.
At dinner, left eye almost back to normal, I am seated with three guys who at first talk baseball and then segue to Florida's ills. One of them is moving back to New York. There was an alligator in his front yard, a little thing really, not even four feet long, but it freaked out his girl friend and she gave an ultimatum: New York or no more pussy. His words, not mine. He'd miss his bungalow in Sarasota but was looking forward to being in a place with real seasons. "The sweating Santas got to me. And the Christmas lights on the palm trees, that ain't natural."
I remember spending a Christmas in Florida once, and the man is right: the holiday is plain weird when celebrated in 70 degree weather. But still, still... I'm back in Virginia and last night it was in the upper 40s. There are things to look forward to. I do believe most events have a reason for occurring, and it is not within my ability to discern why. The only thing I know with certainty is that somehow I'll get back to Siesta. There's too much of me still there.