Sunday, October 22, 2017

Lolling by the Sea

The weather forecast today is thunderstorms, 83℉. The view across our third-floor balcony onto the Atlantic Ocean is one of grey, threatening skies and strong winds tossing about the fronds of the surrounding palm trees.  No matter, it's Sunday morning, an occasion to squander one's energy.  I've been engaged in idle reflection throughout my leisurely routine of coffee, mandarin orange and protein. It is precisely one week since our arrival on the peninsula. While I won't suggest the process of accommodation has been one of unparalleled baptism, it has however been focussed and sometimes intense.  It intrigues me how our assimilation deepens by degree as the broader picture narrows to more detailed scrutiny.

We propose to do some shopping later this morning, just a few practical things for the household.  I also want to visit Ormand Beach to search for a car wash which was recommended to me yesterday by my hair stylist. Both matters - hair and car - constitute the extent of my preoccupation at the moment. What a delight it is to indulge such obvious vacuity! Though we have naturally kept open the lines of communication to the North there is no longer the compelling need to answer any call of obligation beyond that of mere interest. To that degree being here is a form of isolation though without the confinement of imprisonment. Otherwise we have certainly cut ourselves off from immediate contact with family and friends. I can't say that I mind restricting my involvement with them to remote correspondence, not because I abhor the alternative but rather because it removes me from the perceived obligation to weigh in upon pressing personal urgencies. There is literally very little we can do from this distance apart from share and commiserate as need be.

I am convinced that a bird's eye view of this area would disclose that its roads have been laid out north/south and east/west much the way Toronto is. Naturally this makes for fairly easy navigation.  No matter how one travels between destinations it is assured that time and again the identical sign posts will appear along the route.  And if one has a preference - as I do - for A1A (variously called Atlantic Avenue or Beachside Boulevard) then it is only a question of when one intersects the appropriate east/west path to determine where to go; it is all about squaring one's corners whatever the objective.  Accordingly when we left the condominium building before noon today we headed north on A1A in the direction of Ormand Beach and in search of Granada Boulevard.  We first stopped along the way at a Publix to look for shoe laces.  Then it was back into our 90° vernacular which did in fact lead us precisely where we wanted to go - the Sparkle-N-Shine car wash.

The car wash establishment was reminiscent of the Island Car Wash which we frequented on Hilton Head Island.  Though the threat of rain hadn't entirely evaporated I was anxious to see how the staff would handle the interior.  It turned out to be a great job and for a very reasonable price ($29.81) to which I added a well-deserved $10 tip.  We subsequently agreed that while it is worth having the interiors windows cleaned now and again it really makes little sense to wash the car regularly in view of the frequency of rain.

Our next stop was Volusia Mall where we picked up some pillow protectors. Having then exhausted our interest in shopping we rounded out our outing by going to Publix on Atlantic Avenue for groceries. We are both pleased with the quality of merchandise there.  We've discovered for example that one can buy a prepared-to-order meal of, say, fresh catfish with dijon cream sauce, quinoa, spinach, artichokes, red pepper, sundried tomatoes and leeks for the staggering price of $9.99! It's all one can do to imagine any reason ever to cook again!

By this time the weather had turned around completely.  The skies had suddenly cleared and we returned to living under a dome of blue with yellow sunshine. After unloading our goods I changed into my cycling togs and headed to the garage to get my bicycle.  I used the adjacent beach access pathway and within minutes was sailing down the coast next to the Ocean in the late afternoon sunshine.

There is no question that beach cycling is my most desirable medium.  My bike is a used one-speed bicycle (a bit of clunker if the truth be told) which doesn't at all lend itself to either speed or comfort. It does however satisfy my urge for motion and moderate exercise. I cycled south into the wind for the best part a half-hour then flew back to my starting point. I dropped the bike on the beach near the condominium then peeled off my shirt and removed my Crocs and waded into the sea.  The water could not have been more pleasant. Both the temperature and the intensity of the waves were ideal.  It required no encouragement to submerge myself completely, to savour the salt water.  As I was feeling the strain of my bicycling I didn't prolong my swim unduly but instead went to the pool of the condominium.

There I encountered His Lordship - recently returned from the gymnasium - and together we swam for another half hour.

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