By RAYMOND J. STEINER
AS WHOEVER READS these random musings knows, I’ve been silent for several months now — illness, inanition and inertia has taken its toll, leaving me with an empty reservoir of creative energy (if you can really call venting such as this ‘creative’). Anyway, here I’ve been, mired in the Sunshine State for a bit over a month — a state that I’ve pretty much avoided since I dwelt and toiled here back in my early 20’s — and pretty much driven to DO SOMETHING! ANYTHING! to fend off the curse of ennui. There’s no other way to say it — Florida simply bores me. If I thought my creative juices had dried up while fighting my slowly disintegrating body up North, they are simply non-existent in this flatland of idleness. I am nothing but a lump in a beach chair — although ‘chair’ is far from describing this metal and plastic contraption that has no position (and there are several) that my body can tolerate for more than a half hour. And as I sit and squirm (as far from the beach as I can get where a constant parade of sloggers and joggers pass this blogger’s line of vision), I constantly hear the ocean calling as each wave hits the sand murmuring, “Raaaymond, Raaaymond, Raaaymond…we want you baaack, we want you baaack, we want you baaack.” As if I need be reminded of my one-time, one-celled existence as I slowly deteriorate into that very primal state, my mind seeping from my ears. I should point out that I am here under protest, first cajoled and then enjoined by my wife and partner to accompany her on her annual “Florida Escape” to ‘enjoy’ some R&R (Reclining and Ruminating) for fear that my body may decompose at a faster rate if I remain in the frozen fastnesses of my High Woods home and haven facing Overlook Mountain. Ergo, this blog — set before you in sheer desperation. A fisherwoman of some experience, she “meets up” with her Floridian cohorts to fish, to revel, to dance — and whatever else they have in store for her — looking forward to her well-earned fun-in-the-sun each January. This time, she would not take my well-rehearsed speech about staying home seriously. So here I am — avoiding the usual fare of dancing, and jogging, and bar-hopping, and fishing, and the early-birding of the senior snowbirds, the constant land-trolling for the tons of faux culture that infest innumerable centers all over the state and dipping my feet in the shark-infested waters, and whatever else tourists do to forget that they someday have to go back to frigid zones — avoiding all and vegetating in my ill-designed beach chair, wishing I were home and gazing at my mountains. Florida is simply not for what Emerson once called the “Delian Diver” — sun, salt air, warm breezes and art-deco everything simply combine and block all efforts of going beneath instinctual needs. In the famous words of that ancient Floridian: “I sunbathe, therefore I am!” All else is epilogue.