Cafe Hitch-hike


Some experiences are priceless

I knew there was a reason I didn't put on any music tonight. I only hear one air conditioner on tonight, but once it goes off, the only thing to hear is the occasional car doing by. It's dark, about 75 degrees and with a slight dampness in the air; visitors from other places always remark on the area's humidity, and we have it when it's cooler. I'm savoring the final evenings of the Floridian spring by sitting on my newly-adapted patio while looking on the-- glorified drainage ditch known as a (retaining) pond.

The sky is dark with some softly lit palm trees in the distance. Once in a while, I can hear my neighbor speaking, but I can't register what he says. I'm getting used to hearing the voices of others around my building, and I actually like it. The frogs often creak at night along with the occasional sound of birds. I often see a gray crane that is almost as tall as me with its long neck, body, and beak. The pond also attracts mallards and other birds I have yet to identify. I'm so glad I'm making myself more at home. It's nice to end the night this still.

In mid-July I will be flying into London. I got the tickets last night!! I will be visiting my friend CO in London and will be there for a couple of days. I then will head to Amsterdam and will be there for about 6 days. I'll be spending some time in the city and also the countryside. I'll then head back to London where I'll spend 4 days. I was thinking about visiting the sea for at least a day since I've never been there; maybe CO can accompany me? I haven't figured out those logistics.

The friend, CO, is someone I met in 1998 when I visited England. This will be third time we've seen each other since then but we've kept in steady touch. For the past 7 years, he's been wrestling with health matters related to cancer and the effects of his cancer treatment, so I don't know how well he really may be. I do, however, want to visit with him.

It won't be the same as before. We had many a pub crawl in London, and also checked out the cultural events. We ended the evening having an espresso in a Middle Eastern cafe on Edgware Road or a local Spanish taverna. We used to walk down a mews (row of carriage houses) and I used to pet a cat that usually sunned herself around 2 flower pots. I petted her even though she always made me sneeze. One day, her owner called her from a window as she watered some fluffy greenery in a flower bed that hung at the bottom edge of her window. "Her name is Tiffany!" introduced the lady. I then went back to the States, and CO told me Tiffany snarled at him when he tried to pet her.

I got to see him a second time when he and his mother invited me to spend Christmas with them in their town outside of Fulda, Germany. It was the best present I ever had! That, in itself, was another broad experience. I very much enjoyed Germany!

I don't think much about the beginning of the relationship or of London. I will admit that CO was not the best influence on me in that first year we met. He was a lazy German who liked to gamble, was a cancer survivor, and sponged by on a trust fund. His trade was in hospitality where he usually worked with food and beverage. My self discipline kind of slipped in a not-so-good sort of way; I paid quite dearly for it in my career. I got dealt a tough hand on my teaching internship, and that combined with my smug attitude did not make things better at all. So yeah, I quite nicely contributed to the demise of my internship. I felt rather embarrassed that I let one crazy-fun year throw off energy and my head the way it had. Well, it now seems a little more cool in retrospect, but England definitely made me (what they call in the boxer's world) weak in the knees, and I got to kiss the mat for that one.

With that, I may need to keep my discipline and attitude in place when I return from my trip. I know travel can really change one's perception along with being someplace new and really enjoying it. I've been to places I really enjoyed and just would had died to drop everything and start anew there. I guess that's always possible, and it's good to dream, but I need to keep my heels on the ground.

It makes me remember what my friend Mel once told me after a demise of another relationship: some experiences are priceless. Maybe it cost a lot in some form or another, but look at the experience I got to have because of it. The experience maybe was worth it because it added something that cool to life that could not get bought or would had never had. So, maybe I shouldn't be so embarrassed, and just enjoy whatever this trip may wash my way.

downwind | upstream