At the office

All-right, all-right, all-right! There are missing details to be addressed. I admit I deliberately swept them under the carpet – what I mistakenly thought (though quite unwittingly) were the insignificant subterfuges attending the workaday conventions on Longboat Key. On reflection I concede that in the interest of framing an unabridged picture of this otherwise overwhelmingly inspired resort the prosaic information (though patently lifeless by any standard) is nonetheless critical. The supplement is in no way intended to diminish the unassailed enchantment of the island. By contrast my hope is that these plausibly tiresome particles will embellish the whole.

A study of these trivia can best be commenced by segregating the day into its constituent features – broadly characterized as the universally temporal divisions of morning, afternoon and night – then echoed by the equally mundane assignments of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Within each of these broad though humdrum categories there are naturally further apposite components and ingredients. Lest the immediate reaction to these unimaginative categories is one of singular monotony I caution that the analysis will reveal quite unpredictable minutiae which paradoxically by virtue of their commonalty are guaranteed to afford a measure of intrigue or at the very least a degree of intellectual amusement.

Detail is for some of the more conceptual among us a wearing enterprise, a tedious surplusage. Yet it is a well-known adage that “the devil is in the detail” by which it is correctly understood not that nefarious elements surge within the particulars but that the discoverable credentials lie therein. It is not the broad strokes which afford the critical refinement. This naturally implies that the most seemingly inconsequential features contain incalculable spinoffs. And so it is.

Consider for example the matter of fresh fruit for breakfast. The predominantly popular choices are oranges and bananas. On the other hand I choose to start the day with slices of Granny apple (or Cosmic Crisp) and Sumo Citrus – with the revolutionary supplement of fresh squeezed lemon juice. This inscrutable conglomeration translates into a highly desirable eye-opener and gives new meaning to the term “morning bracer”. The addition of a toasted Dave’s Killer Epic Everything bagel lathered in Kerrygold Naturally Softer Pure Irish butter and Teddie Smooth Unsalted Old Fashioned All Natural peanut butter succeeds to lubricate my joints for the constitutional morning bicycle ride that routinely follows.

The creativity does not end there! The dissolving bicycle ride presents a further opportunity for calculated dynamism – no helmet! There will be none of that Upstate New York pusillanimity! I am not about to poison my outdoor authenticity with foppish cosmetics! I won’t go so far to suggest this is the act of a real man but it certainly approaches an integrity and reflects the active theatre underlying life at the office.

Next transpires the first of the demonstrable bureaucratic standards; namely, the office at Bayfront Park. The Municipality of Longboat Key has had the courtesy to establish a makeshift office. It consists of a strategically dark grey-coloured bench made of durable synthetic material skilfully resembling hardwood. This unquestionably overcomes the absence of a Persian rug which considering the proximity of Sarasota Bay is a proven foresight. As prime commercial real estate goes the view is unparalleled!

It is here that I daily commune with the outside world. There is highly functional WiFi connectivity. The activity invariably includes the exchange of emails and occasionally telephonic connection (though I discretely avoid that unless necessary in the interest of not contaminating the otherwise tranquil setting). If – depending upon the hour of the day and the orbit of the sun – the sunlight inhibits the iPhone screen, one can easily transition to a similarly constructed picnic-style table nearby under the shade of a beautifully constructed pergola.

Though matters sartorial are seldom of interest for those of us wintering on Longboat Key I feel compelled to describe the vernacular if only to broaden the discussion. The reason clothing and outward appearance generally matter not is that everything on the island conspires to promote comfort and to address the penetrating rays of the sun. There are under such circumstances only so many things one can wear – usually shortsleeved tops (which may include elegant linens but most often cotton only), short pants (of the same description) and shoes without socks. The shoes seldom vary from sandals (usually for women), variations of Crocs (ours are “N0thinZ” made in USA) and the standard topsiders or sneakers such as promoted by Sperry.

To this costume one may add jewellery or other accoutrements. It is understood in this predominantly residential venue (where frequency of encounter is normal) that display (other than of the automotive nature – by which social insulation is metaphorically preserved) is frowned upon. This does not however inhibit what I consider acceptable reflection of nature’s brilliance, in my case a pinky ring or an old signet ring engraved with the family crest. If by chance the temperature is uncommonly cool (and I am therefore bound to wear a long-sleeved sweater under which I can hide it) I am then inclined to sport my custom made Dixon Jewellers 9″ X 3/4″ 306.5 gm 18K yellow gold Cuban link bracelet. It is a vulgarity I shamelessly acknowledge, again excusable as a proliferation of nature’s beauty. The sunshine here is a most agreeable complement to glitter.

As in any modern office it is not the bricks-and-mortar that identify the operation; rather it is the commitment to performance which in my case means at times extending my ride to the northern end of the island as far as the bridge leading to Bradenton Beach on nearby Anna Maria Island (another of the successive barrier islands skirting the coast of the Gulf of Mexico). It is all part of what I consider my mandatory and fulfilling object of exercise and healthful intellectual application.

It is possible to imitate this journey by going instead to Lido Key beyond the southern end of the island where a drawbridge signals the jump to another barrier island. In either event – whether going north or south – the return to home base normally entails a visit to what I call my other office beside the pool. There too – supported by newly purchased chaises longues – is convenient WiFi connectivity and as a result I am permitted to practice my art of communication or literary diversion (which is to say writing my blog or posting an entry on my personal website – now my preferred option). Once again it is work not merely entertainment or so-called relaxation (frankly an occupation I have never credited as of any substance or materiality). If it is not already clear everything described in this trifling account of daily ventures is designed to promote the finer elements of healthful living and profitable – though admittedly casual – indulgence.

The rendezvous at the pool is always punctuated by a refreshing swim (the water is heated salt water). If I am not privileged to encounter other residents with whom I invariably exchange pleasantries I revive my undying interest in whatever activity transpires or arises on my iPhone. I confess I am hopelessly addicted to the device – whether for email, phone, camera, weather, calendar, financial information, files, music or literary endeavours.

By this time of the day – usually 3:30 pm or a shade later – the shadows are elongating across the spacious lawns adjoining the pool; and I am motivated by mounting hunger to consider preparation of the evening meal. Though lately I have added Barilla farfalle to the menu (along with fresh organic basil, oregano and red pepper flakes in the virgin olive oil plus naturally Parmigiano-Reggiano) the traditional concoction is limited to various raw veggies such as celery, green pepper, cucumber and grape tomatoes with maybe mushrooms. Ornamentation may include shrimp, fresh salmon or various cold cuts. The conclusion is usually Kellogg’s All-Bran Original with perhaps prunes, followed by honeycomb.

It is thus that I normally conclude my day. The only unintentional omission which speaks to me is that of music. Whether employing my Bose SoundLink or the Apple ear pods there is as much music as I can muster without disturbing the television viewing. Apple Music to which we subscribe provides articulated suggestions some of which are helpful but the clinical talent of computers (algorithms) is not entirely reliable for identification of musical preferences. One must still study the composers and make evaluative choices.

In the end this day is much like another. I prefer to follow this course of events – including the specificity of its constituents – almost religiously, which is to say both methodically and sheepishly without refinement other than the assurance of fulfilling the elemental needs the process is meant to address in the first place. Work, work, work! Though I confess the production is strictly by choice and adorned by the commensurate pleasure!