Island of Lost Souls

On April 1st, 2015, I left San Francisco after 12 years and almost that many addresses and returned to Ft Lauderdale where I had lived in sinewy pacified discomfort a few years previous to that. Why? Many reasons and none of which I remember. But why does anyone buy a one-way ticket to anywhere in Florida? You-betcha! Escape! I wasn’t escaping anything other than my surroundings, which, let’s face it, in San Francisco is a just cavalcade of Millennial iPhone zombies walking the streets from coffee shop to app startup to gamer orgy and tiny Chinese women carrying five or six huge garbage bags filled with recycling cans. At last, I accepted that I was too old to play with these adolescents and paying too much rent for what I was getting. So when I bought the one-way to Ft Lauderdale I figured I would stay there for a while, on the DL, away from everything I’d known for the past 12 years, until another opportunity for escape made itself available.

So what? Heard this scenario before right? Me too.  This got me to thinking of my solitary existence, 48 years on my own; time to reflect with a long list of should have’s and would have’s and if-only’s. Around this time last year I was down in the Keys visiting some friends who live on a beautiful Gulf-facing estate in Islamorada. These friends are also friends of Bill (google it) and, like me, are both a little fucked up in the most natural sense; like a left-handed Republican or a feeling you get when you look to the west… not quite right. With the spectacular view of the Gulf throwing just enough light through our iced teas we discussed our progress (yeah no perfection ever, ever, ever) and how much easier it becomes to make choices as we grow up and old. They both asked me why I’d come back to Florida, like “really why I’d come back after so much time in California, why not back to my hometown of NYC where it all started?” I was quite candid in my comeback.  Florida is better for those who wanna stay lost.  Like the lady said: “you blend.”  I can do the same in NYC as I’ve been doing lately, but the pressure here is a bit more extreme, it forces me to make plans, dress better, and have some dreaded expectations. That can’t be helped. NYC is a turbocharged Ferrari whereas South Florida is a creaky yet comfortable sailboat riding the coastline at its own pace. Maybe that’s good, though, for as I profess to be so old at 48 I suppose I could be still asking myself the same questions at 58 or older.  In Islamorada we ate fresh seafood at a waterfront restaurant and relished in silent bliss at not feeling the need to be anywhere else. I remember this now because as I look out my window at Manhattan and its untouchable whirlwind of activity I realize that wherever I want to go is just a plane ride away. That’s one of the good things about being alone in the world, the road ahead or to south or west doesn’t need a consensus to be traveled. It’s 78 degrees in NYC today, October 17, 2016, and I’m no more or less impressed with seeing another Monday.  I’m here in the moment. I’m part of it. I’m managing my expectations.

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