Wednesday, October 25, 2017

What a busy day!

At four o'clock this morning I gulped my first handful of pills for the day - 2 Tylenol Arthritis, 1 Celebrex, 1 Baby Aspirin, 1 Coversyl and 1 Lipitor. Though I had been half-awake in bed for the past several hours, I then slept soundly until 8:20 am.  I have learned that those drugs - or at least some of them - are a soporific.  And a good thing.  I have never slept especially well. Nor might I add have I ever taken sleeping pills.  So the pretext of those drugs for arthritis, blood pressure and cholesterol is sufficient to assuage any reservation I might otherwise have about timing their consumption so strategically. Besides my regiment of pain killers throughout the day - painkillers about every four hours - promotes taking the first round early in the day to ward off complete discomfort when I finally rise from the lair.

Because I knew that today was to be a sunny day - and that accordingly I could not possibly resist cycling down the peninsula and back along the beach - I resolved to complete my daily ablutions immediately, not waiting for example until I had had my customary plate of orange slices and cup of black coffee.  Today was not a day for dithering.  I also knew I needed groceries so, without formulating an exact plan of attack to wedge that necessity between breakfast and cycling, I recognized at the very least that prosecution was the order of the day.

I relish my morning shower. Like almost everything else in my life at this advanced degree of the arc, my shower is a rigorous procedure.  So mandatory are its constituents that there are times when, if I am not feeling especially robust, the undertaking borders on work.  As a result I have latey been known to shun the performance even if only unwittingly.  But today the cleansing routine was part of the larger scheme of things so I hadn't the privilege of side-stepping or postponing the duty howsoever briefly.  The disruption of showering before my fruit and coffee - and the knowledge that I must prepare myself to go to the grocery store - meant that the wardrobe choices had to be reversed somewhat, postponing the athletic gear (for bicycling) for street clothes (for grocery shopping).  Granted this satorial conundrum is hardly worthy of Yves St. Laurent or Ralph Lauren but nonetheless it instilled momentary quandary as I accommodated the relative alteration to my habitual progress.

The advantage of having prepared food in the refrigerator is that consternation is happily subdued.  Specifically there was a generous portion of recently cooked bacon.  Though my physician has cautioned me against artery-clogging indulgences, I have often said the memoriam on my tombstone is, "He loved bacon".  The morning nosebag consists of protein primarily, eggs, cheese and bacon.  Today I added a handful of cherry tomatoes.  The test of a good protein meal is whether afterwards you feel you could eat it all over again.  I did.

Within fifteen minutes after breakfast (and after having connected by telephone with my aged mother as is my wont) I was wheeling the sedan out of the garage into the glaring morning sunshine.  The temperature had plummeted to a frigid 75℉ so I opened wide the side windows and the landau roof. The traffic on S. Atlantic Avenue was light by any standard.  I am beginning to think the northern tourists are resiling from what they consider to have been the annihilation of the entire state of Florida by the recent hurricanes; or possibly that they've concluded the exposure to disruption is outstanding until the end of November.  Whatever the reason it was an easy drive to Publix to collect my groceries.  Already I have established my preferred entrance to the store's parking lot and I have even settled upon an optimum parking space which adjoins a curb (under a palm tree), pointing downhill (so the cart for unloading the provisions will be ideally positioned and - more importantly - there is no risk of someone else's cart running away into my vehicle). I deceive myself to imagine that I park at such a distance from the entrance to the store as a conciliation to forced exercise!  Really! I hate walking - and it shows because I look so undignified when I walk, sadly hobbling like the old man I am.  Yet another reason for hair product!

The highlight of my retail exploit at Publix was the purchase of a new set of finger and toe nail clippers.  They're made of steel, reputedly high quality with sharp cutting edges. They cost about $5.98 so I consider it a negligible indulgence though it conforms to the apophthegm that it's the little things that count.  Otherwise I restored the larder to its erstwhile abundance of fresh fruit, cheeses, crab cakes, shrimp, meat, bacon and a haul of crisp, green veggies.

It was the work of a moment to unload the provisions and prepare myself for the bicycle ride. I donned my new silky shorts from Sears Roebuck. The day could not have lent itself more agreeably to cycling. Within no time at all I was insinuating the side streets of Wilbur-by-the-Sea.

I have no doubt that my intrusions into Ponce Inlet (from which there is no outlet) will continue unabated. The atmosphere becomes progressively quieter as one moves southward from Daytona Beach.  Not that Daytona Beach is noisy, it's obviously just far more urban and developed.  Wilbur-by-the-Sea and Ponce Inlet are literally the end of the road.  I enjoyed seeing some of the local architecture there.

On my way back along the beach (the tide was by this time receding, having crested shortly after noon), I rode into a northerly wind which, while refreshing, meant I had more work to do than when I was going the other direction. Just as I regained the entrance to the apartment building I was informed that our internet service was down.  What followed was a succession of telephone exchanges between us, the concierge and the estate agent (who in turn contacted the landlord).  Eventually we were connected to the internet supplier (Spectrum) who walked us through a series of what amounted to little more than rebooting exercises until service was at last thankfully restored.  The service supplier suggested a new modem/router may be in order though the estate agent preferred to wait to see whether the problem resurfaced before acting on the supplier's suggestion simply to exchange the old for the new. As tenants we of course have little authority in such matters so we acquiesced accordingly.  It bears repeating however that the estate agent (and her principal) have been helpful and responsive to our needs since commencment of the tenancy.

To round out the day I assembled a healthful plate for my evening meal.  I certainly don't qualify as a cook by any stretch but I will nonetheless take the liberty of sharing what I consider to be a culinary find; namely, cilantro.

Cilantro is my new lettuce. It is tasty and uplifting (and reputedly healthful).  First I rudely chop the leaves then lay them as a base on a large plate. To that base I add sliced mini-cucumber, green pepper, cherry tomatoes and cheese of any description (tonight I used goat's milk but I have also used Gorgonzola or sharp cheddar).  On top I spread zucchini spirals.  Then add a generous amount of ground salt, the juice of half a lemon and a splash of olive oil.  I once tried adding a dash of white wine vinegar but it detracted from the lemon juice.  I think the lemon/salt alliance is what makes the dressing.  To accompany this simple salad I had two crab cakes which I bought prepared at Publix. Should you care to know, dessert was blackberries swimming in honey/vanilla K√©fir.

Given our preoccupation throughout the day we had only a few minutes at the end of the evening to recapitulate.  We've decided that this place suits us.  The few ripples of inconvenience which we've had to endure are merely reminiscent of the Mapp and Lucia rental arrangements in the seaside town of Tilling memorialized by E. F. Benson.  The context of society here is brimming with colourful and generous characters some of whom are unquestionably animated.  We would be hard pressed to surpass the allure of the many scintillating people.

"Aristotle's definition of man as a political animal (zoon politikon) should be regarded with relation to his other definition of man as a rational animal (zoon logikon). Through his usual method of empirical observation of his surroundings, Aristotle reached the conclusion that a human being has the tendency to come together with other human beings to form a community (a polis). Only through this polis a human being can fully flourish. It should be noted that this does not mean that a human being cannot survive on its own (Aristotle realizes the human capability of a solitary life). What Aristotle means is that a human being can only fulfil its full potential when he lives in a polis. Thus the definition of human as a zoon politikon. Nonetheless, as Aristotle specifically mentions cranes and bees have the same tendency, of forming communities. Hence Aristotle's second definition of human as a rational animal kicks in so as to distinguish human beings from other animals. Human beings are different from animals in that they possess reason (logos); the quality that allows human beings to speak, criticize, deliberate, tell right from wrong etc. These definitions are found in several of Aristotle's works, predominantly his Politics and Nicomachean Ethics."

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