Things today couldn’t have got off to a better start. Nor was it only the vindication of having arisen before eight o’clock this morning that assured the magnificent perfectly brilliant day wasn’t already half-spent. The purification rather was a massage of my aching feet and rigid lower limbs. I almost hesitate to mention the euphoria that arose because its sounds so common and uncommon in the same breath. Little do we estimate the abuse our stilts and pads take every living day. They are without a doubt the long suffering units of our anatomy. If any other part of our corpus were subject to such perpetual abuse I am quite certain there’d be at least some recognition or evidence of the endurance. But until those quarters in the nether reaches are treated to the theurgy of a massage we otherwise live in not-so-blissful ignorance.
What followed was a restorative breakfast of milled oats, prunes and cranberries with sliced green apple à côté. And strong, black coffee. We also concluded – admittedly with a degree of technical frustration – the online signature of next year’s vacation rental contract and its return to the office of our estate agent. Meanwhile just inches from my left elbow spreads the view of the sound and the ocean fortified by those abundant early morning colours captured in the expansive water, towering sea pines and verdant palmetto ferns. We often comment that having a seaside vacation residence is really superfluous because one contemplates it only occasionally but its richness when sighted is so demonstrable and engaging that it is a superfluity not to be summarily diminished.
Typically this unprecedented transcendent state was equally and unwittingly followed not long afterwards by a minor tragedy on the bike path. Fortunately for me I had the presence of mind to quell what had been my burning desire to visit the beach on my bike. Instead I had resolved for one more day (only my third or fourth attempt at regaining my balance and control of a bicycle as opposed to a tricycle) to stay within the neighbourhood (that is, Lands End). When I fashioned to chance an approach of nearby Salty Dog along a conjoining sidewalk from Bluff Villas, my bicycle pedals suddenly jammed. It was only with enormous effort and unaccustomed agility that I was able to push myself to nearby South Beach Bike Rentals where we had rented the bike. Fortuitously as I limpingly approached I encountered a gentleman whom I recalled worked at the place. He instantly took control of the situation, confirming the thing was defunct. He replaced it with a new bike and I was quickly on my way again (though feeling to have only luckily escaped what could have been a much greater or at least more inconvenient peril necessitating having to call to be collected).
The cycle – and I employ the word both metaphorically and literally – continued. After returning briefly to the apartment to get my driver’s licence I nonchalantly pushed off in my little Cadillac, windows down, landau roof open, to the car wash. Today is Thursday the 1st of February. It is impossible on Hilton Head Island to distinguish one day from another based purely on whether it is a business day or a weekend because there is constantly visitor traffic. I imaginedt that today, being the beginning of the month in the middle of winter, would have trumpeted a noticeable crowd of visitors. Maybe they did in fact arrive but have devoted themselves to getting settled and buying groceries. Whatever the case, the important feature from my particular point of view was that there was no line-up at the car wash; nor were there crowds in or awaiting the vacuums, etc. All of which is to say I just streamed with complete unobstrution. So enthused was I by this favourability that, upon seeing the same gentleman whom I have seen for years waving me into the wash cycle, I grabbed my wallet and extracted a twenty dollar bill which I then handed to him. He grinned upon accepting it, immediately recognizing it was an unfamiliar bill – namely, Canadian! It’s the only cash I had in the wallet. I hadn’t remembered to transfer the few US dollar bills I have from my carrying case to the wallet. No matter. I suspect I am not the first alien to do so.
My paltry beneficence paid off. When I got to the vacuums I spied the cart of small towels and window spray both of which had for some reason previously escaped my record but which ended being tremendously useful. I cleaned the windows inside and out. Plus I wiped the computer screen and the mirrors, things normally overlooked. It constituted a complete spiritual cleanse and elevation!
The penultimate achievement of this hitherto ideal day was the rescue of my Apple AirPods from my carrying case and their employment to listen to Polka Dots and Moonbeams (with Frank Sinatra) by Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra. I had left my Bose headphones at home because of their larger size (though I hadn’t anticipated the AirPods would be as clever). This musical buoyancy was heralded by my earlier verbal command (while driving) to Siri to play classical music which the technology delivered with precision. I could have easily asked for Ludovico Einaudi (using the proper and affected Italian prononciation). The collateral of the latter automotive success was its repeated reminder that I adore this little car. Parenthetically in keeping with my usual absorption I have already begun negotiations with my dealer regarding an updated version of the identical model (specifically with the almond colour of leather seats preferred plus what they call the technology package with Head Up Display). In the meantime however I have to say how utterly satisfying the drive is even without the reputed perfections to surmount the model I bought last September off the lot in a moment of fancy.
Finally to conclude this unapologetic smugness, I have now in the late afternoon been treated to a plate of hors d’oeuvres including freshly grounded avocado with a spicy homemade additive, superb crackers beneath shavings of parmesan cheese tantalized with astonishingly aromatic rosemary needles retrieved from a bush in a nearby marshland, sliced pickled beets, ripe olives, stuffed grape leaves and tiny tomatoes. The superb scent is wafted about by the ocean breeze from the open patio door overlooking the sea. We face directly west into the setting sun.