Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Redacted Report

My trip to cocoa beach was spent mostly discovering that my law school friend and I have nothing in common except law school, and I am pretty much over taking pleasure in those years. (I never liked lawyers anyway.) My friend had been asking me to visit for most of the 20-some years since then and I finally decided to do it on impulse, trying to be more like the spontaneous Namesake! And really, I did enjoy the one good conversation when she and I got to just sit together and talk my first evening there.
That said, it was a weird trip. I did not get to do any of the fun things that Neptunesmuse suggested. How weird was it? Hmmm, let me count the ways. I feel guilty and ungrateful to be complaining because I suspect they were really trying, and for sure I am not going to dish in a public forum, but . . .
Slept on couch that was shorter than I am. No pillow.
They had no interest in going to the beach (what? why am I here?) They put a lot of effort, truly, into showing me their favorite things, often driving for many hours . . . INLAND! I was within sight of water for only a couple of hours, total. Walked on the pier at Fort Pierce, visited a Ventura gated condominium complex (I am not a gated type of person) to visit friends of theirs, and walked around Winter Park. But it is not their fault that driving for hours - away from the coast - in the back seat of a little convertible (with the top up) was not a keen interest of mine. We did walk to the end of the cocoa beach pier, where I had one very delicious coconut shrimp with orange marmalade, part of a shared appetizer.

They do not like to shop, but we went to goodwill and Walmart. We walked by a ton of cute little shops after they were closed. They don't like to spend money. I do, I definitely do. No souvenirs for my family, but maybe that is just as well.

No coffee (major tragedy). Food in general was disappointing, because they do not like any spiced or ethnic foods (and every culture you could imagine was represented in the vast array of eateries!) They don’t drink, either. (another major tragedy.)

Quite often, they went into their closed bedroom to watch the news on television, leaving me to sit alone with my own books and knitting – I felt bad because I figured it meant they'd had enough of me. But there was no TV in my space, so I read three coffee-table books on beach stuff, one book on sea turtles, and an entire novel (and a half), and knitted most of a washcloth while I was there. Friend repeatedly reminded me that I have gained weight since law school. Of course, she had a point there.

And not the best ending, either, although I guess not anybody's fault. I didn't get to the airport until my flight should have already boarded – lucky for me, the pilot had been grounded in Detroit and the flight sat there on the tarmac until several hours later. Then I had to dig my car out of a snowbank and shovel the lump at the end of my driveway before I could get into my house. (sigh.) But, against all reason, they told me a thousand times they were so happy I came and hoped I would come again and even offered to let me use their place when they aren't there. They were so sweet in many ways, but really, I think not.
I had no idea where the beach access was until my last evening there, but my last morning I snuck out of the house before they awakened and walked to the beach (a couple of blocks away) . . . ahhhhhhhh. As expected, not much in the way of shells, but did pick up a motley assortment: a giant cockle, lots of oysters, slipper shells, jingles, scallops, and a few common shells that aren't on my Sanibel Shell chart (surf clams, maybe?) I know the photo doesn't give enough color and depth to let the experts make any identification.

It wasn't Sanibel, but the weather was great and it really was beautiful there, especially in the early morning when I had a whole beach and ocean all to myself. Besides, even the worst day on the beach is better than a good day at work.


Snowbird said...

Oh, I'm sorry that the trip was such a downer. Not the way you want to use those precious vacation days. But I do love your last sentence. I'll have to remember that one. Anyway, glad you made it home safely even if you did have to shovel all that white stuff that you wanted to get away from.

gpc said...

Really, I feel bad that I sound so unappreciative. I think the fault was mine in expecting that, since they are on the coast, I would spend time by the water. And that, since they have fabulous restaurants, I would be able to eat in them (I do promise, though, that I offered to pay for dinner anywhere, and did pay whenever I was able to beat them to it). And that, since they have a ton of cute little shops, I would be able to shop in them. And that I would have a pillow . . . okay, some of it was just weird, but most of it was more a problem of my expectations than their behavior.

Neptunesmuse said...

I 2nd Snowbird's response cosidering that you didn't have the trip you expected, but remember you mentioned you were a little apprehensive about going. Sounds like your friend's life took a different turn than yours. They seem a little boring and not very good hosts. At least you got out of the cold for a little while. The east coast will give you a better appreciation for the west coast (Sanibel). If you enjoyed the coconut shrimp at the pier you might be able to get something very close at The Outback Restaurant. They are tasty and have a very tropical taste. Glad your travel was fairly uneventful.
Take care.

gpc said...

You're right, neptunemuse, it was good to get out of the cold! Thanks for the tip about Outback. I'll try it the next time I splurge and go out!