The whole of Florida meant “Orlando” when I was eight years old. It meant Disney, a kid’s Disney hot dog meal on the plane, and it meant shorts under my pants when I prepared for our journey south. Now it means West Palm Beach, dieting, and boredom.
“Well you’ll have plenty of time to relax while you’re there.” Oh dear God, it’s relax again. My idea of relaxing is just active enough to never break a sweat. Massages work. As do movie theatres, coffee shops, and bookstores. I like to observe people and make memories. Sure, I can read a book by the pool and be perfectly content, as long as I know, come 5pm, I can reveal my tan lines after a fresh shower of grapefruit body wash. If I’ve got someplace fun to be, I can relax the shite out of a day.
However, I’m isolated in my mother’s home, with a sister who is perfectly content spending a day in her pajamas watching paint dry. I could scream just from the idea of “relaxing.” When people say “you can relax down there,” they must mean a book and the beach. Now we’ve got a problem: I love the ocean, but I hate the beach. There I said it. No one ever likes to admit not liking the beach; it makes her sound fussy and high maintenance. Well, honey, the flip-flop fits then.
As a toddler, I lifted my feet when my parents tried to put me down on the sand. You know you’ve been to the beach a week after you’ve actually been there. And don’t get me started with eating at the beach. Nothing ever tastes good. I don’t care if it all came freshly packed in a cooler. Sand and heat always get to my food and my cracks. It’s not a good time unless there’s swimming… that’s why I love the ocean.
I really thought the water parks were onto something with the wave pool idea. But that was back when Florida meant Disney and public pools didn’t disgust me. This is a Florida vacation though, and that has to mean photography, piña coladas, open-toed shoes and sarongs. Tan lines, fishing, tennis, and massage. It means steel drum reggae, Coppertone, and seashell jewelry. Stone crabs and mustard sauce.
Along with my morning Starbucks blogging, Worth Avenue and City Place will be my destinations. I’m determined to discover a Florida beyond Glades Road and Town Center in Boca. It’s just so hard to vacation in Florida when it’s cold. I can’t fish, windsurf, or sun in 50 degree weather. Instead, I’m left to the grips of vertical shopping and movie theatres, to Meisner Park, Pollo Tropical, and outlet stores.
My mother already mentioned some bit about a Motown Christmas party. Oy.
If any of you readers live down here, send me an email. I’m so ready for some adult beverages anywhere busy and far from relaxing, near West Palm Beach.