Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day (2017)

The east coast of the United States of America never escapes the repercussions of Canadian winter weather.  Christmas Day here today was a chilly 67℉; and we have it on good report from our friends on Hilton Head Island (with whom we exchanged Christmas greetings mid-morning) that the temperature there was forbidding as well.  They complained of feeling housebound. Nonetheless it was sunny and as usual I went for a bicycle ride shortly after noon following the conclusion of my customary prolonged breakfast (which today included an exceptionally flavourful orange).

Given the strength and direction of the north wind I began my ride by cycling into the wind, traveling towards Daytona Beach about four miles from here.  Fortunately I had the foresight to wear a shell over my Polo shirt and light hoodie though I still sported short pants.  Not surprisingly there was very little traffic either on the roadway or the sidewalk. I paused briefly at Frank Rendon Park adjacent the Shores Resort (where I am always able to plagiarize their WiFi).  But it was a cool repose even though astonishingly I saw two people swimming in the Ocean. So I headed off again in the direction of the Daytona Beach city limit which is just before Silver Beach Avenue. There I turned down the beach access and commenced my sailing trip on the beach southward and homeward with the wind at my back, the glaring sun in my face.

There were far more cars than usual on the beach today.  And more people. Some revellers were congregating in sizable groups decked in festive Christmas hats.  There was a noticeable surf as a result of the strong northerly wind, rendering the green Ocean rolling and frothing. The tide was less than half-way out so I actually had to restrict my path of travel. But the sand was smooth and dry and I was able to cling to the edge of the shore carefully watching the sea extend like a map and then recede. Before long the Sunglow Pier was in sight and I detoured off the beach onto the long inclined boardwalk behind the apartment building.

After stashing my bike in the garage I went to the pool where I lay on a lounge chair to catch the late afternoon sunshine.  But the wind kept me uncomfortable so I relinguished before long. On my return to the apartment I saw the Club Room was in darkness so I decided to play the grand piano.  To my suprise when I entered the room and turned on the lights I discovered what appeared to be a father and his son all but asleep on two of the sofas.  Alarmed at discovering them and at disturbing them in their seclusion, I apologized for the interruption but they groggily dismissed it.  When I asked if I might play the piano they did not object.  I sat down and played a number of Christmas songs pianissimo which frankly is contrary to my normal routine but I thought more fitting under the circumstances. Upon concluding my private recital I closed the cabinet and left the room, remarking to the gentlemen on my way out that that was their Christmas music punishment for the day.  They may have chuckled but otherwise there wasn't much reaction one way or the other.

The balance of the day was spent reading email communications from people in Canada and the Caribbean; talking on the telephone with family and friends; and watching a Netflix documentary about exclusive international hotels none of which we're pining to visit as they distressingly exemplified the absorption with a niche market for rich people who have nothing better to do than amuse themselves with superfluities - like sleeping in an ice room in the Arctic, swimming in an open-air infinity pool 55 stories above ground, feeding giraffes during breakfast in Africa, having a dedicated butler while surrounded by squalor in Marrakech, ignoring the effect of Ecuadorian jungle mold in the clouds of a rain forest or swooning over folksy handmade quilts in a remote island off Newfoundland.  One has to wonder whatever happened to artistic endeavour or the thrill of reading a good book!

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