Scourge and Transparency

The Rise and Fall of Advanced Social Journalism during the Early Twenty-First Century

Posts Tagged ‘floridarians

The Cape Fear

leave a comment »

I had not written a word until on my way out of Florida. And I have to admit I was somewhat happy to be leaving the state. The region is like every possible demographic and stereotype of America is crammed into one isolated and humid peninsula. There they have the rich, the poor, the very poor and the rich that are still culturally poor. I should ask the Floridians to not take offence here but who am I to tell people how to feel? – go right ahead and shit on me. My observation is partially based on 6 hours in an Orlando bus station where I expected my company to be Mickey Mouse but I got methheads instead. In spite of what happened in the foreclosure state it was all but a detour on my way to the bottom of the Mississippi River – New Orleans.
When I finally put pen to paper, while waiting at a roadside bus stop sitting on my bag, I took a look up and saw that I was directly beneath a palm tree. During the previous week I had for the first time swam in the ocean (although technically the Gulf of Mexico, still sea water nonetheless). People that grow up on the coasts always shit bricks when you tell them you’ve never seen the ocean – as if they’re unfamiliar with the Midwest or therefore assume that you are unable to even swim. I grew up near the Great Lakes and although it isn’t salt water the pollution has a distinctive taste and smell as well. The bus to the land of Cubans and crocodiles was a long 20-plus hours with layovers. Needless to say I was very irritable and groggy.
The reason I was stopping down that way was to visit my father. I was guaranteed some hearty free meals and birthday money – both of which were much needed. Unfortunately it is incredibly difficult getting through to my dad even face-to-face and almost like emailing a brick wall. I told him I was travelling coast to coast and could stop by his neck of the woods for a few days around the beginning of June. He said he was leaving Florida at the start of July but I could fly home with him – completely disregarding the clear description of my travel plans. Not only that, he spent the 48 hours I was there complaining that I should stay for another week. While sitting by the beach and having everything provided for me would be enjoyable, I had to move onto more exciting places – as scheduled.
Even though I had time to scribble in my journal, only moments prior I was worried I’d miss my bus and have to stay in Florida even longer. Despite having told my absentminded parent the date, time and location of my departure he coconsciously – or unconsciously – decided not to consult a map or arrange transportation to the bus pickup until minutes before it left. It seems my father was more concerned with me enjoying a “vacation” instead of realizing that I wasn’t on a hardly deserved holiday but on a pre-planned backpacking journey.
Instead of spending two days and two nights wallowing in some much-needed sleep, gluttony and time poolside I was dragged on an exhausting and stressful sabbatical. I was pulled through tours of neighbourhoods and beaches that all looked alike; woken up for breakfast earlier than when I would have set my alarm on a work day; introduced to people whose name and relation I instantly forgot; and more-or-less treated as if I had just become potty-trained. When I arrived at the condo after two nights on a bus without showering, shitting or shaving I desperately needed a good deal of time to get myself together. But after 15 minutes with the door locked behind me my father went into a panic; banging on the washroom and shouting because he thought I had obviously died. This wasn’t even the worst of it. While eating supper with some guests I excused myself so I could take a shit for the first time in four days. I had left some crumbs on my plate and instead of the dinner party departing after finishing their meals they all sat and waited for me to return from defecation. It was at this point that I informed my father that I was mature enough to be in the bathroom alone without worrying him.
The few days I spent in the Sunshine State were certainly something of a jarring experience. The miniature and moist vacation was squeezed between wild binge drinking and filled with child-like annoyances and pampering. It goes without saying I would have preferred more time to rest my head and less encounters at bus stations with people who looked like, and probably had been, arrested on COPS. Yet in hindsight it probably did me good to remove myself from a steady diet of crackers and alcohol in preparation for the Big Easy.


Written by shanedantimo

April 1, 2013 at 5:37 am