We arrived in Florida late on undesirable flights due to a mix-up I had made with dates. Because of the mix-up and its late discovery, we stayed the first night in a hotel in Sarasota that resembled a Quentin Tarantino movie set less the contrived lighting.
It’s a short drive to Boca Grande from Sarasota. Driving on Florida highways always makes me wonder where people live. Real people. The people who are accountants and bankers and not fishing guides and small shop owners. I have a skewed perception of coastal highways that open up to beach towns with nothing in between.
The last few years we have arrived around the same time and driven straight to a favorite haunt for lunch. This year, as the waitress began to hand us our menus Bill said, “I think we pretty much know what we want.” “How many years in Boca?” We both turned to look at our oldest and said, “Fifteen. Give or take a few in the middle.” And I wondered, “Don’t you know us? Don’t we look familiar to you? We belong here.”
We spent the day at the beach. When the boys grew hungry and headed back to eat I stayed to finish Middlemarch, George Eliot treating me better than Austen ever has. At the house I showered with different soap and towels that smelled wrong and blew my hair with a dryer without enough heat. All of these things would be unforgivable at home, vexing and bothersome. At home these details are reminders of shortcomings, of things undone, errands not run. They are reminders of an imperfect life. On vacation they are negligible. Nuance. Insignificant compared to the sun and the release.
I have learned small things about myself on vacation. I like to walk to town for the paper and coffee and bread. That fresh blueberries are delicious. That having music on during the day is delightful. Being away is wonderful in its own right, but the best of it is coming back better.
Heavens, I did not mean to be away so long. A couple of projects kept me before we left and then I tried to unplug as much as possible while we were gone. My apologies to Iris and anyone who noticed my absence and was concerned. All is well, if somewhat messy and unorganized. I should be back on track next week.