As my dear old pal Johnnie (an addlepated alcoholic) was wont to detail, “Well, I got up“. If I recall correctly it was around 9:30 am this morning that I first stirred beneath the enveloping duvet. I had that satisfying sense of recovery from a pleasant dream. Removing my sleep mask it required tactical effort to descry the weather. Bright sunshine happily streamed into the bedroom through the drape on the door and the cracks in the window shades. The footling intelligence instantly buoyed my percolation.
First duty was the morning ablutions which predicated the casting aside in the laundry room of current vestments – a certain sign I was set upon starting afresh! As further proof of conviction I punctuated the shower and shave with a motorized harvest of my interior nose and ears. It is a revolting casualty of old age that hair grows variously throughout the body in places least accessible. These modern devices afford minor abeyance of the cosmetic dilemma.
In the open-concept kitchen I sliced a Granny Smith apple and a wedge of imported French brie cheese. While I murdered the stuff and amused myself on my computer I awaited the slow cooking of steel-cut oats. When both plate and bowl were reduced to their initial vacancy I rewarded myself with what has sadly become an assault upon dietary régime; namely, a bowl of whole walnuts swimming in 100% Pure Rich Taste Grade A amber colour maple syrup. This – with the addition of a glass mug of chilled French roast black coffee – is nonpareil! I am convinced it is a recipe for a nefarious Eastern stimulant; or if not then it is the Sacrament of Heaven!
Time was speeding along! My progress had been interrupted by the arrival of two Christmas cards from fond friends. It must have been well near noon when I concluded my preliminary duties. Immediately I set upon removing my bicycle to commence the constitutional performance. As I opened the apartment door and felt the soft morning breeze upon my face I knew I was in for delightful bit of leisurely activity. I mounted my bicycle in the parking station. My Apple Watch intoned that is was precisely noon. I set off upon the corridor of vaulted tropical bushes and trees adjoining Gulf of Mexico Drive.
There were young people on the sidewalk, strolling with parents, cycling, jogging or sailing upon electric scooters. The arrival of family Christmas vacationers had materialized. Many of the young men were shirtless, boldly intent upon capturing every particle of the sun’s rays during their narrow holiday. One incongruous walker was a middle-aged woman dressed in a long black and white striped gown. She looked very much as though she were returning from or headed to a ceremony. Her face was white and stone-like. She wanted nothing whatever to do with scantily clad interlopers. This is not to suggest that everyone else is manifestly gregarious and cordial. Though I acknowledge the worth of being comradely the reality is that there are those who have a red light upon their heads disowning any pretension to conviviality. Rather than suffer the discredit of a furtive glance from one of these inhospitable creations I prefer instead to “let it go”. By contrast there are shared and unanticipated greetings from others, brief interchanges which elevate humanity.
I arrived at Bayfront Park – Block 4000 – forty minutes later. The playground was alive with the frantic voices of young children. I paused there to void my bladder in the uncommonly decorous restroom; and afterwards I drank some cold water from the fountain. Then it was onto the bench overlooking Sarasota Bay.
It is a view which like so many others on the Island I never tire of. Characteristic of Floridian sea-level geography the canopy is perpetually changing often dramatically and urgently.
The uneventful – but pensive – ride homeward brought me back to the start of my dutiful adventure sooner than I had anticipated. The expedition was charmed by the loveliness of the nearby golf club which literally separates the apartment landscape from the Gulf of Mexico.
Back on terra firma I went around the building overlooking Sarasota Bay.
My meandering did not delay a subsequent trot to the pool for a dip. Even in this predominantly feckless atmosphere the necessity of performance lingered! The water was decidedly fresh after the past several days of cooler weather. I can however thank my neuropathy for disguising the abuse which was equivalent to swimming in a glass of iced water. Furthermore the therapy was paradoxically the identical advantage to that of ice packs on swollen muscles. Though the thought occurred to me, I hadn’t the image of acquitting myself to the ritual of northern ventures into the frozen sea as a purge so common at this time of year.
I can only conclude this altogether tedious and self-absorbed account by professing that it may invest the basest curiosity with sufficient evidence of what exactly people do here on Boxing Day.
No doubt there are others who devote themselves to special meals and critical outings. By chance we drove late this afternoon to Bradenton Beach on a small retail mission. There were droves of people obviously returning from a sunset tour to the sea. It was reminiscent of the tradition on Mallory Pier in Key West.