So Much Has Happened

In six days, I'll mark three months of my new life. Beach life has been an adventure. Dancing through my head are countless stories I've been meaning to tell you.

I don't have the attention to write it all out right now - and I doubt you have the attention to read it. So I'll share with you a story of love, a story of pride, and mix in a little humor while I'm at it.

The first thing you need to know about Beach Life is that they actually call it Salt Life - in homage to living life by the salty sea. (Cue the Zac Brown Band's Knee Deep). Our sea is the Gulf of Mexico and it's the most beautiful beach I've seen. I work there, play there, read there and dream there. Its shores are sugar white. The water is crystal clear. The second thing you need to know is that nothing starts on time. When they say 3:30 p.m., they really mean 4ish. To me, 3:30 p.m. means 3:15 p.m. I've sweated out a lot of waiting time. Because the third thing you need to know about the Salt Life is that it's hot. I mean it's mother-f*cking HOT. If I believed in the devil, I am pretty sure he'd be a sighing fool if he were to visit. It's so hot that many days I've gone home after working on the beach for two hours and showered and re-primped before heading back to the office. It's so hot and HUMID that none of us give sweat soaked shirts a second glance.

The next thing you need to know is that people here are just different. I've been yelled at by a mayor with a mouthful of tobacco, glared at and purposely snubbed. I understand. I get it. Last week, I was early for a meeting (of course). Instead of lingering, I set up a faux office in a back conference room. In there was a mentally challenged man in his mid 30s. I thought nothing of it until he spoke.

Him: You have a boyfriend.

Me: Yes, I do.

Him: I can tell, I have a sixth sense about that kind of thing. You better tell him he's lucky.

I continue getting settled in, answering emails, etc. He continues.

Him: I don't have a girlfriend yet.

Me: You'll find one. (I hated myself for saying this because I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE SAY IT TO ME)

Him: I can't get one.

Me: You will. (Again, I hated saying that)

Him: I can't get one because you have to get a girlfriend on the Internet and I can't get an account because I don't have a credit card.

The bleeding heart in me wanted to loan him the money or tell him about the free sites. But I've been on the receiving end of those emails. Instead I nodded.

Him: I haven't done it yet. If you know what I mean.

I kept my eyes on my laptop. Did he really? Nah. No way. Just keep typing. just keep typing.

Him: Did you hear me? I said I haven't done it yet, if you know what I mean.

Me: (Without pause) I heard you, I just don't want to talk about that.

Him: I'm sorry.

At that moment, I stopped working and starting capturing every detail about the moments that just passed. The room, the smell, the sounds. My stoic reaction. I made it through my meeting and then spilled my guts to my friend. We've known each other for 12+ years and both relocated from Huntsville. I thought, there was nothing that could top this moment, this story. Until she showed me the picture of a stuffed coyote hanging on the back of a truck. The photo is on my Facebook page, in the 2011 album.

Life is just different down here.

But the one thing that remains the same is my love for my boys. Moving them into apartment life brought me much guilt, resulting in 4-6 walks a day. An abandoned neighborhood is adjacent to our complex. I drive there and release the hounds. They run and run and run until the nearly pass out, because, as you'll remember, it's hot here. Today, Jake Ryan was a good 100 feet ahead of me, running (leash free) in the middle of the road. Recently, cars have been tearing down the street. I yelled, "Jake, get on the sidewalk." He paused, turned and looked at me and sauntered over to the sidewalk. I about passed out. During five years of on-leash walks, I've said, "On the sidewalk" and dragged him on the sidewalk. Every walk. "Sidewalk." It worked. He ran the rest of the way on the sidewalk. I was so proud. Now if I could get him to look both ways before crossing the street, I'd be in heaven.

Wait. I already am ... that is, if in heaven everything runs slow and is breath-taking beautiful. I bet it is.


  1. Great story. I've spent a great deal of my life near the coast in California but never heard this term "Salt Life" before. Probably because the beaches on the West Coast are more peppery than salty.

    Glad you're still keeping us up in Huntsville/northern Alabama in mind! But wait...why is your column in Valley Planet still called Party of One? Shouldn't that be Two now?


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