From the moment I landed in Orlando on Friday, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to log the two miles of daily walking which I have been doing so conscientiously since late spring. I didn’t do much on Friday, and I walked, at a much more leisurely pace, when I was in DeLand on Saturday.
I more than made up for any slack yesterday in Cocoa Beach. Susie and I went there so that she could go to a rehearsal at Surfside Players. (She is running the sound board for their performance of Wait Until Dark, which debuts Friday night.) When Mike and Steph drove us there, the plan was that I would camp out with my laptop and my book at Juice N Java until the rehearsal was over.
The best laid plans, etc. Juice N Java closed at 2 p.m., and there were no other places conducive to prolonged sitting and reading. There is a Subway on S. Atlantic Ave. (the northbound lane of the legendary A1A), but it did not have Wi-Fi.
That meant I pretty much walked around the A1A area for two or three hours, and around 4 text messages between Susie and me started flying back and forth. They had done a complete run of the play, but the director wanted to rehash all the missed cues and technical difficulties, so it would run later than they thought.
My hopes were briefly lifted and quickly dashed when I saw that Cocoa Beach Community Church had a thrift store, but it was closed on Sunday. (Most of the churches are very close to A1A, and they make an interesting juxtaposition to all the bars, surf shops, tattoo parlors, and boat rental places. Oddly enough, Brevard County only has two synagogues, and they are both in Melbourne.)
Any worries that I was not doing my fair share of walking went out the window when I heard that news. I stuck mostly to A1A (northbound on Atlantic, southbound on Orlando), and kept walking mainly because very few of the shops that were open interested me.
Cocoa Beach is quite different from DeLand. Cocoa Beach caters mostly to the more leisure- and activity-oriented crowd. I saw many people with classic Coppertone tans carrying surfboards, on their way to and from the beach. The stores that were open carried surfing gear, as well as beer, electronic cigarettes, and swimwear. Ron Jon still dominates the water sports scene, but I was happy to see that many other smaller surf supply stores seem to be staying open and attracting loyal customers of their own.
When I walk, I usually try to be carrying as little as I can. Yesterday was an exception. I had an almost full backpack with me, containing the laptop, my journal, and my hardcover of Bleeding Edge (and, except for The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon does not write short books!), so my shoulders got as much of a workout as my legs. Steph and Mike had been shopping in Viera, but they picked me up once they were back in Cocoa Beach. I barely moved for hours once we were back in Merritt Island.
The only other walking I had done since arriving here Friday had been very short walks (less than 10 minutes) to Cumberland Farms, the nearest convenience store.
I will be back in Columbus early this evening. Susie and I had breakfast together at the McDonald’s across the street from her high school, and once she crossed the street to start the school day, I walked the two miles to Starbucks, where I have been typing this entry. The Cocoa Beach Shuttle will pick me up at 1:15, which will give me plenty of time to catch my 4:55 flight to Columbus.
Until Steph moved down here, and Susie came down to visit–and then eventually to stay–I never had any desire to visit Florida. It was the numero uno location for spring break when I was at O.U., while I elected to do things like ride Greyhound cross country to San Francisco. I thought of it as a land of retirees and political Neanderthals (although I was a fan of Lawton Chiles and do admire Bob Graham). I did not expect to be as taken with DeLand as I was. (I wasted no time in “liking” the businesses there where I spent money.)
So, another Florida sojourn will soon end. If this has been like previous years, I will probably be back for Christmas, and bring Susie back for the balance of her winter break.
And so to Ohio.