I woke up early this morning, due to my own restlessness and in part to Mayling’s yowling for her morning snack. I thought I’d take advantage of my alert state of being to ship off a particular pack of expired Polaroid film as the doors of the post office open, then bring my car to get the brakes looked at by Midas, those with the debilitating touch, I’d say it’s really not golden at all.
In other words, I thought I’d find some productivity out of my free time this Saturday in April, but instead I found something else… beauty. A gracefulness in observing the goings on of life in Florida, that of the wild side and more domesticated. I think I’ve discovered they’re one in the same.
What led me to this veritable conclusion would be the most unfortunate event of my back left tire being flat. Marvelous, so no brake check is in my future, for the time being, but I can still make my merry way to the post office, and that I did.
Stepping in off the street, the bright sunshine and loud sounds of cars chugging along was sucked into a void and stripped from the world of the closed off AC and phosphorescent glow that illuminated the lady at the counter. In momentary shock, I almost forgot what I was doing, where I was, for that matter.
But unlike the faces on the street, this lady was unperturbed by my presence and offered to take the recently sealed package I had to offer.
That’s 1 point for productivity. And it’ll be the last of the morning.
By this time, I had crossed the 7 or 8 lane highway a few times, indecisive as to my next move. The breeze creeping over the buildings and swirling about me drew me to a lake on the opposite side of the road-do I stop into Subway or sit and read a bit in this glorious setting?
Choosing the latter, I soon tired of the chilly wind whipping my pages and hair back and forth, though I believe I did perceive the scene in Jane Eyre to be a lot more vivid, in this light.
I took the path more deeply than I had gathered at first glimpse that lead to a boggy and rusted storehouse for boats, bikes, and a pretty Ford antique all covered in ripped tarp and decaying leaves.
I stumbled over and under spiderwebs and tree branches, breaking one and apologizing profusely to no one in particular, and made my way into the depths of the storehouse beyond. My greed drew me to touch a Pepsi bottle, a glass pint-sized one, which label claimed to give a refund to those who took care to bring it to a time, a place, a facility, who knows how long ago or where these things came from.
I wished I could somehow steal that speed boat that seemed ready to ride, all clean with reflectors shimmering. How did it get in here? It doesn’t belong with all this broken down and ancient wares.
Moving around the yard, I found more modern apparatus: a sprinkler and hose, bird baths, brand new green plastic lawn chairs all just chilling on the shoreline of this haven tucked away from the side of one of the busiest roads in Orlando.
Peering around the place, like a creep I glimpsed a man sitting in the house near the storage garage, and quickly tip-toed passed, to only seal off my exit upon sight of barred wire and wooden fences, both tall and stout, but all full of wildlife. I had to turn back.
So I picked my way around the backyard of this hermit-like creature’s humble, and crumbling, abode probably making myself known if it were to be. I’d rather be shot in confidence, than down on my knees, if it’s going to happen at all.
Coming ’round to the front, I followed the path made by large rubber tires, with barely any sign of recent use. The porch smelled like Christmas, ’til I noticed a dead pine crunched and rolled up on the side opposite the front door. I rang the bell and promptly a voice rang out to me as I peered through a criss-cross of steelwork to discover the face that it originated from. I asked the man with ’70s-style eyeglasses if any of his cars were for sale. He deigned that they were indeed NOT for sale, and upon remark of mine that his place was rather “pretty,” he told me that his parents built the place in 1948-that “we’ve lived here a long time.”
I suspect this wasn’t the same guy I saw through the window in the back of the house, so my curiosity was only further piqued.
I felt dismissed, after after spoken with a real-live person, all my hopes and dreams of living in such a place, frequenting the marshland and greeting the sparrows and cardinals once in a blue moon were shattered by the proof of this man’s claim staked all over the property.
I headed home, climbing out of the shaded bush and back onto the sidewalk with its glaring sun shining all the bitterly down upon me and the wind bringing me back to that place of realism and away from the mystical.
One more stop landed me at Cafe D’Antona on Oleander and Semoran, afterward. The man in the doorway of this cozy little place, with its rocking chairs out front and hand-painted sign advertising its location, told me briefly about the get-togethers he sees almost every night within his shop.
People come and play music and read poems, he says. And he expects tonight to be no different, if I would like to come by.
It’s amazing what treasures lie just beneath the surface of our own daily fount of reasoning. Hurrying on your way to the supermarket or to work, you may miss a few beautiful little facts about the city you’ve lived in for years, all because you weren’t brave or curious or free enough to explore them out. Shove them from the world of secrets and solitude and bring them to a place where you may now know of them, and change the way you view the city forever.
Because it’s fascinating, how a diverse amount of people can all live under the same dome that we call America, and we all have such feelings and views and material things hoarded up and hidden away from those eyes who may be offended or discouraged by the appearance of them.
I, myself, love to explore.