Aquae Sulis

We briefly ventured off the property this morning. I felt an urgency to determine the precise location of Cindy’s Hair Place. Yesterday afternoon I had made an on-line appointment for a “Short Haircut – Unisex” with “Cindy D (organizer)” or so the Message I subsequently received indicates. The venue we discovered is 0.3 miles (7 min walk) from here.  We drove.  Basically we crossed the road. At this southern end of Key Largo the frequency of commercial establishments is much diminished. Instead there are hotels, resorts and gated communities. Predominantly throughout Key Largo the businesses – except standard grocery stores and big box stores – appear to be sole proprietorships or mom-and-pop styles of trade. As a former rural business owner I am accustomed to that medium of commerce; and, in fact I prefer it in many ways especially for personal goods or services. Plus the parking on these obscure business sites has not the congested traffic one encounters in season at the malls.

Speaking of “in season” we are warming to the American Thanksgiving holiday which officially begins next week on Thursday, November 24th. Already families with children have begun to arrive on the property (no doubt staying with grandparents who are here either permanently or for all or part of the season). There were two teenage girls at the pool today. They gleefully proclaimed the heavenly water of the pool. This leads me to believe they have come from a northern clime. Meanwhile the public broadcasting stations are brimming with advertisements for Black Friday.

As 1941 ended, Roosevelt signed a bill officially making Thanksgiving Day the fourth Thursday of November, regardless if it is the last or the second-to-last Thursday of the month.

Black Friday is a colloquial term for the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States. It traditionally marks the start of the Christmas shopping season in the United States. Many stores offer highly promoted sales at discounted prices and often open early, sometimes as early as midnight or even on Thanksgiving. Some stores’ sales continue to Monday (“Cyber Monday”) or for a week (“Cyber Week”).

Occurring on the fourth Friday in November unless November 1 is a Friday, Black Friday has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States since 2005.

After Thanksgiving the number of people here will dissolve as the majority head north to be with younger family members for Christmas and New Year.  Thereafter the pace picks up astronomically.

Meanwhile I have altered my daily communication with the sun by restricting my time in its direct exposure to 30 minutes not counting whatever time I prefer to expend floating on my back or swimming in the sea or pool. The sun’s rays are keen; and punishing if disregarded. Everyone here has a burnished look about them. It is practically a sign of being an outsider to be otherwise. In that respect the native culture is different from that with which I was acquainted in the Caribbean years ago when preservation of the milky white porcelain visage was the choice. For my part I have always preferred a tan, frequently to the extreme. I recall for example after having spent a month on the Costa Brava, when I afterwards arranged to meet my school chum at l’Arc de Triomphe on Champs Élysées, he stood across the boulevard staring directly at me and didn’t immediately recognize me. In fact he later told me he mistook me for a black man. Now however that I have begun to show more precipitous signs of damage to my skin after prolonged sun bathing (though pointedly I resist the vulgarity of doing so with only a bathing suit except when swimming), I have instead adopted a more careful procedure. It may be too late or I may escape the ruination of my habits. Qui sait? C’est la vie!

For the first time in years I have begun sporting my Tilley raffia hat (made in Don Mills, Ontario by the way). It is a moderate concession to the sun’s rays.  I am as well aware that it captures the fullness of my antiquity particularly as I wheel about upon my tricycle with the large basket at the back. I am at least spared the farce of a wicker basket at the front à la Nantucket. It is however not exactly the look of a cowboy on a horse. It has been a running joke of ours for the past decade that each year when preparing to leave Canada I have insisted upon bringing with me my raffia hat but until now, quite literally, I have never worn it.  Instead I have historically just carted it back, unused, to Canada cast aside in some awkward place on the rear seat or back window of the car. At last I have arrived at the pinnacle of gentility! I can’t honestly say that I like wearing a hat. Nor that I have fully adjusted to doing so.  But it makes some sense and coincides with my other accessory – the stick.