Miserable in Orlando
I am miserable. I traveled to sunny Florida, from not-so-sunny Chicago, to perform for a non-profit in Orlando. They’re a great group and of course I’m looking forward to the event, so why am I so unhappy? Simple: I return tomorrow. But here's the thing: I was just getting prepared for yet another fierce Chicago winter, and now my mental preparation has evolved into perspiration as I sit at the tiki bar, sweating through my only dress shirt to my fall jacket, watching sunny happy poolside people sip and dip. I order Key lime pie, sip seltzer, and stare out at the sunny people as they float under fake waterfalls, living in denial of the climate chaos that is about to befall their fellow humans in the North. I want to shout: "I hate you, sunny happy floaty people!"
I'm feeling a bit like an Arctic walrus that's been blow-darted, crated, and unceremoniously dumped at Sea World to stare at the flamingos. "HUH? Who are these pinks? And why am I so tired?”
Oh, that's right. I'm in fat storage mode, stowing carbs, slowing my heart rate to a crawl... My pie is melting.
I’m beginning to feel a bit more like Powder now… Remember Powder? 1995 fantasy drama starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Jeff Goldblum, Lance Henriksen and Mary Steenburgen, about a perpetual outsider with paranormal powers, who hopes humanity will finally advance to a state of better understanding… I’m wishing I had Powder’s telepathic powers. I would snag one of those Sunny Happy Floaties, clutch his wrist, and transport him from his foo foo umbrella drink right to Chicago, where he’ll find himself grabbing jumper cables, scraping 2” thick ice off everything, including the front grill of the car so he can pop open the rusted hood latch-a-ma-bob to jump start the engine… Then, tearing gloves off hands so cold he could shatter them if he hit them just right—which he does, when his scraper breaks in two and his now bare knuckles smash into the rock-solid wiper blade that’s ice-welded to the windshield—so now it’s bloody ice and snow he’s scraping and clawing with his bare hands… And while time is precious, so are fingers, so he gives up and he and his bloody knuckles walk a half mile to the local Shell station to buy some de-icer, and then Zombie snow treks back to the car only to learn that his car battery has clearly chosen to sit this winter out, despite his gentle promptings of, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
A desperate call to the wife: "Do you have any idea how cold it is?" she says, and assures him that the other car won't start either.
Now, alone and uncertain of his future, it's time to shift tactics. He pulls his hood down to his nose and heads—along with three other funnel-coated losers—to wait for a bus. They too thought they could make it. He contemplates trying to get out of the wind in the nearby Walgreens, but Walgreens is closed because even their employees stayed home and looked for their Snuggies. After a few minutes the three idiots unconsciously begin to huddle together, sharing warmth, and after 6 more minutes the mind begins to drift… "Well," he muses, "if they amputate my big toe I won't have to have to pay for my bunionectomy…” After 40 minutes they all give up on the bus and begin to walk the frozen tundra. Floaty worries because clearly, as the pudgiest, he’s the most edible. And then—
Ka-WHAM! We’re back, pool side, Floaty seems relieved but clearly shaken up, and less capable of enjoying his mango daiquiri, knowing what a first-world arctic blast can do to a man's spirit, let alone knuckles.
I'm squinting from the reflection of the sun on my ultra-white forearms because in actuality I only look like Powder, and soon saunter toward the best sun block I know—my room—to prepare for my speech. I'm still miserable, but now you understand why.
Tomorrow in Chicago at the airport I'll wait for a bus to trundle me over to long term parking; I'm sure my jacket will feel more comfortable there, but again am left feeling more agitated having to begin my winter preparation all over again. The process of readying oneself for the return of Chicago's Mr. Snow Miser and his many surprises is, well, how can I put this… "Argh! Where's my damn Key lime pie?"
By the way, if the name Sean Patrick Flanery sounds familiar but Powder’s face doesn’t, here’s one of Sean today.