Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
After yesterday's entry and my subsequent recovery ride I looked into this foreclosure rescue stuff and to get started I Googled up “Hawk's Park Code Enforcement” and saw that they were having a monthly staff meeting at 2 p.m. and it was open to the Public. I looked at the time and it was 1:30 so I dashed out of the Library and pedaled over to City Hall to attend said meeting. I thought that this was one of those magical moments of sweet serendipity I sometimes experience and I was going to breeze right into my rewarding new career as a Super Maintenance Man for these forlorn and abandoned real estate refugees. But it had been a long time since I had fought City Hall and I had quite honestly forgotten the whole “you can't get there from here” mentality that goes on in any government office. I marched into the seriously and ironically ramshackle office of Hawk's Park Building Department and there behind the counter was a twenty-something girl playing Solitaire on the computer. She did a pretty good job of hiding her annoyance at me interrupting her work.
“Hi,” I said. “Isn't there a Code Enforcement meeting going on today?”
“No. There's a meeting, but it's not about Code Enforcement.”
“Oh...well I saw on the computer that there was a meeting today at two o'clock and I thought it was open to the public. Does that sound right?”
“I don't know. “ She pointed vaguely around the corner and said, “You can go back there if you want to.”
“Uh, I don't want to interrupt them. I mean, are there any citizens back there?”
“I don't think so.”
I was starting to think I had stumbled into a weird version of “Bring Your Twenty-Something Daughter to Work” day. I was on the verge of asking if there was a grown up I could talk to when The Voice said “try harder.” So I gave it another stab.,
“Maybe I should explain myself. I was reading an article in yesterday's paper about these abandoned properties that need clean-out, grass cutting and minor repair and so on and no one seems to know who is responsible for that and the article went on to say that Hawk's Park was going to consider the “Cape Coral Model” for a solution. I thought maybe that subject would come up in today's meeting and that's why I'm here. I'm basically just looking for a job.”
ADHD: Is It You Or Is It Me
I was speaking as rapidly as I could while at the same time holding back just enough to make what I was saying understandable. I have learned that you only have a highly limited amount of time to attempt expressing ideas or even whole sentences these days without resorting to flashing images or twitter speak. Plus sometimes I can be a bit hyperactive. But it didn't work. As I was talking I watched her expression shift from vague attention to something that looked like a stab of acute pain and finally to that glazed absence that meant that Elvis Has Left the Building.
“Does any of this mean anything to you?” I asked. It was a rhetorical question. I already knew the answer.
“No, I don't know anything about all that,” she said. “Last year they took bids and and hired somebody but they never did any work for us. But if you go around the corner to where you pay the gas bill...”
“Thanks!” I said. “You've been very helpful! I'll just go around the corner here...”
I never knew when I would have to come back here and deal with her again. This is a really small town. I might very likely run into her later at the grocery store or the Crooked Angel Saloon. Enter Laughing and Leave 'Em Smiling, if you know what I mean. I stepped out into the the crisp fresh air of what I like to call the “Chilled Sunshine” of Florida in the Wintertime. Hawk's Park City Hall, a rambling-shambling kind of place, sits right down on the Indian River, which is a part of the Intracoastal Waterway. A big cruiser passed by, headed south. All the big boats are headed South this time of year, headed for Miami and the Keys and on to the Bahamas and the Caribbean and anywhere else they want to go, I suppose.
My Net Worth Equals One Hour
One of those big power cruisers burns about ten or twelve gallons of diesel fuel per hour. And diesel dock prices are usually about $6 per gallon, sometimes more. So one of those big power boats heading south for the rest of the winter costs more to operate per hour than my current net worth. Just a passing thought as I walked around the corner to where you pay the gas bill so I could beg for a job cutting grass. But then The Voice cut in. “Screw it, man. Go for a bike ride and fight this fight another day. Take these frustrations in small doses.”
Never argue with The Voice, I always say. I took one of my slow rides around the neighborhood,just soaking in that chilled sunshine, the perfect 68 degree afternoon, watching those rich bastards cruise south on their fat-ass gas-hog boats while I did lazy figure eights in the big parking lot of the waterfront park across from City Hall, watching the sailboats cruise by and watching the seagulls fight over things that are important to seagulls.
Catch A Breeze
My reasoning is this: Life its ownself sure as hell has it's ups and downs, but sometimes I get to ride my bicycle like a kid; I remember being a kid and just cruising mindlessly around the neighborhood, just enjoying the swoop of the bike, the breeze on my face and the sounds and smells and warmth of a place that makes me happy just by my being there. I have spent a lot of time and energy being unhappy in places where I didn't want to be. And those were days when I had plenty of money.
The truth is clear: I would rather be poor here than rich there.
Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Bicycle Emporium