Friday, 25 September 2009

Second of two for today. I hate Florida

I take up where I left off , before I was so rudely interrupted by last evening’s storm.

The storm reminded me that I miss technology. (By the way, do you remember the good old days when we did not have mobile ‘phones, therefore we never lost them!)

Up until to about four years ago if a person mentioned Florida I would immediately respond “I hate Florida”.

That “hatred” arose out of two visits.

I got thinking about the first visit when I was cut-off from Facebook for about 36 hours.

The technology in my first visit was at the Epcot Center.

More about that in a bit.


Some 20 or more years ago, my friend Joe and I drove away from Pittsfield, MA in my trusty Mazda 323, bound for Florida. We drove down Interstate 95, but I cannot for the life of me remember where we stayed en route. My guess is that we had one night with the Haulers, Don and Barbara, who then lived in Mclean, VA.

I do remember that when we crossed the GA/FL line I thought “we are here now”, little knowing that Florida is very long north to south

Joe and I were bound for Daytona Beach. Lord knows why, but it may have had something to do with the intrigue of the Daytona 500! .

Daytona Beach was a great disappointment. Our beach front hotel had had “Spring Break” students the week before, and it was not in good shape. The main drag in Daytona was supremely tacky, and I wondered why the heck we were there.

Joe and I were there for a couple of nights. One day we rented an old Bass boat so that we could explore the intra-coastal waterway. I remember two things about that boat trip. First, we saw a Pelican perched on a wooden pole, and I flipped out with excitement. Second, our rented boat broke down and we had to be towed home by some friendly folks who noticed our distress.

From Daytona we took the back roads towards Leesburg, FL, there to stay with my good friends Al and Doris Williams (both now with God). Al and Doris had been parishioners of mine in Fitchburg MA. They, like me hailed from Bristol, U.K. They were the salt of the earth, and I treasure their memory.

Joe and I took a couple of trips out of Leesburg. One was to Sea World which I liked then, but would despise now. (I do not believe that animals should be our playthings.)

The other was to Epcot. My dislike of this place was palpable. The endless rows of bedding plants in unyielding straight lines, each plant at the exact same height seemed to be to be in defiance of nature. The Disney “mantra” that science would solve all of our problems seemed puerile. (Not that I am anti-science – far from it).
Joe was anxious to stay for the closing laser show at Epcot, and so we did. When it ended he asked me “what do you think?” “It was alright” was my reply. Joe was “gob-smacked”. “You got all excited about a pelican on a pole”, he said, “but you cannot get excited about this laser show!”

Where does this all hang together?

1. 20 years ago I hated the Epcot technology, but today I cheerfully depend on the technology of Facebook and of my mobile ‘phone.

2. 20 years ago I rejoiced in “nature” when I saw a Pelican on a pole. Last night I also rejoiced in magnificent thunderstorm.

3. Friends such as Al and Doris Williams, and Joe are at the heart of my being.

4. Life is so wonderfully complex, that technology, nature and friendship are probably but 3 degrees in the full orb of 360.

P.S. Now that I live here, I no longer hate Florida. (But injustice still pisses me off!)

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