I spent about 12 hours in the car today and didn't leave the state. I drove up to Tally to sign the lease on my new apartment and move some stuff in. The complete move will happen Monday.
Upon advice of some Tally residents, I took SR27, a short cut and scenic route. It was nice getting off the Interstate and seeing some of rural Florida, despite it still having waving Confederate flags here and there (guess some people haven't gotten the memo on that one yet). I was so caught up in the activities of small-town America, yard sales, fireworks tents, toothless men, women's stomachs bulging over their shorts and a Dollar General in every town, that I missed the turn to head north. I thought it was odd when I crossed over the Interstate and knew if was well off to the east of where I was supposed to go. I was 30 minutes down the road before I realized I missed the turn somewhere. If I took the Interstate, it would have taken me five hours (I've driven it). This time, it took me six hours and thirty minutes to get there.
Walking into the apartment was a relief. A relief that after 8 months, I finally have my space again. I spent less than an hour there and headed back home.
I opted to take the scenic route again, thinking maybe it was a long-cut because of my navigational error. Nope. Took me six hours to get home.
My dinner consisted of orange Powerade, two mozzarella sticks and beef jerky (side bar: the best beef jerky I've ever tasted was from South Africa. A friend I worked with in the Everglades had escaped from there in the 1980's to avoid going into the military. I always think it's sad that he can never return to his home country to see his family. Anyway, he used to order the best jerky from S. Africa and share it with me - the power of the Internet!).
When I stopped to refuel the car, there were hundreds of bugs swarming me (and everyone else). Think they were mayflies. While pumping the fuel, I noticed a lady bug on the side of my car and thought it was odd. Without notice, the bug disappeared and a mayfly landed on the contact of my right eye and it was stuck! "Don't panic," I told myself.
I ran into the ladies room and in the mirror, I could see the bugger stuck there, which made it more painful. Luckily, I had brought my glasses along, which I normally don't do for day trips. With my gas-pumped finger (side bar: fuel is not the worst thing I've accidentally put in my eyes, I once sliced garden-fresh jalapeno peppers. Later that day, I fell asleep on the couch and woke up to my cheek tingling. I didn't make the connection that the tingling was from my pepper-juiced-stained hands until I took my contacts out and burned my eyes. Be ware and wear gloves!) I slid off the contact with the bug carcass, splashed water in my eyes to relieve the stinging and hit the road again.
Things I thought about on the drive home:
- More story ideas for a guidebook I'll be contributing to.
- An online guidebook.
- The new airport security mechanism: the puffer machine. I experienced this latest contraption this past March at the Gulfport/Biloxi Airport. I was concerned because I had spilled fuel all over my feet while refueling the rental car. For certain the remnants of the fuel would be detected and I would be pulled out of line for questioning or a pat down. Didn't happen. The machine is like a giant version of that eye test the doctor gives you - the one where a puff of air is blown in your eye without notice. Unlike the eye test, it puffs you from the top, down. I thought I would draw at least a smile from the security agents as I posed like Marilyn Monroe when I was puffed at my skirt's hem. Nope. I was waved through as a non-suspicious passenger.
- A dream I had about a guy I went to college with and haven't thought about him in ten years.
- That Saddam Hussein and I both like Doritos. (side bar: How can those soldiers go around and give interviews like that anyway? This is why we are in Iraq, to protect the American liberties).
- How nice it will be to have my own bed to sleep in! (I've been sleeping on a futon since April).