I have brought a bit of Arctic chill to Pompano with me. The benefit of enduring Midwest winters is that we are stoic and accommodating, even as the weather casters seek to inflame us with the prospect of flakes or chills. We put on another layer, curse a bit, and go on with whatever we have to do. Here in the tropical zone, days in the 60’s are cause for hibernation. The weather dude will furrow his brow and discuss temperatures in the 60’s like it was acid rain. Furs come out of moth balls, walkers cease to lubricate their joints, and the beach is left to the most determined treasure hunters. The Mardi Gras Happy Hour scheduled for poolside will be cancelled. Good. I am not sure that geriatric breasts and beads should ever be in the same latitude
Steve has been living stoically here, since he has ten weeks or so to go native. The refrigerator held frozen diet dinners, 5 Home Run pizzas, cottage cheese, and vats of Blue Bell ice cream. I must say, the ice cream is epic, but I need more treats. I am here for a week, and so a trip to the grocery store was in order. As Steve podcasted, I hit the local Publix. It used to be that there were wretched days to go-when social security checks were received. Now that most checks are direct-deposited, every day is a little wretched.
Last year I was on a mission to strengthen Dad. I hit up the Boost aisles, bought him Klondike bars, rotisserie chickens, individual servings of veggies, and whatever odds and ends he craved. The bottom has dropped out of my usefulness: I was there to purchase happiness. Happiness is not healthy, it is temporary, and you cannot cobble a meal from it. I did not care one bit. Pop, cookies, hummus, chips, more ice cream, candy, wine in little bottles ( I resisted the box- it is only a week, after all), and nuts leapt into my cart. The produce aisles received scant attention, despite a lovely fellow with a work related injury passing out peach slices. (delicious-but not happy enough for my current needs). I topped it off with an Oprah magazine that promised to help me organize my life. My trip produced nothing of nutritional value, yet took an hour. Steve texted me as I shopped, because he thought I had gone missing. When Steve saw my booty, his eyes rolled back into his head. All his discipline was being challenged. Plus-Oprah?
In truth, I had to exorcise my sense of “duty and love” shopping. What better way than to indulge the candy gene?
Only the produce is convenient for a scooter- I scouted this gentleman to help. None needed.
Even this indulgent trip was fraught with leaden imagery. As I walked in, I waited for a frail scooter Grandpa, with an American flag on his vehicle and a basket too small to hold much. I could tell this was work for him, because he needed to rest in the pharmacy area. (thoughtfully,or artfully, in the front of the store here to make it easier for the demographic)
During my hour in Publix, I roller coastered from being glad that Dad -so proud and vital to the end- was not limited in this way to wanting him back any old way. That jury is still out, not that it matters a lick. I have to tell you- grocery stores are not shelved for scooters. I decided to shadow him in case he needed help. In the deli, we finally spoke after I got in his way and he had to do a few back and forth moves. I smiled and said, “we’re dancing! Can I help you grab anything ? ” He scowled, bursting my bubble a bit, and tooled off. I have decided that he may have been hard of hearing, so my feelings are not hurt. I lingered in the deli so that he could escape me, and I was transfixed by the number of shoppers requesting samples of meat and cheese before purchasing 1/4 pound. Lunch, I guess you call it. Hope they got their peach slice for dessert.
lunch is served
In truth, it seems to a sunny midwesterner that the people here are a little crabby for all that they can enjoy: sun, temperate days, early bird specials, flea markets, Medicare, social security. I am sympathetic to the physical infirmity and worry that comes with age. I just never saw my Dad fall prey to it. As he weakened, shrunk and creaked, he would answer “How are you, Dad?” with “I’m tip-top.” Being here reminds me that “tip top” is the way to live life. I hope I remember that as the brain cells migrate and the joints seize up. Especially in Florida- the bright side is here for the taking. I’m working on mine. And the Blue Bell ice cream is awesome. You cannot get it in the Midwest. Now THAT is a tragedy!