Islamorada


I was having tech problems with the plugin I use to send email notifications for my blog, so I took that as an excuse to stop journaling.  What a silly excuse that was.  Journaling is one of the best things for me.  I can organize my thoughts through journaling.

The day I left Fanci’s apartment, I drove south in the direction of Miami and made time for a layover at the beach.  There was a chance it would be windy and a joy-filled break was overdue.  I paid $7 for parking and noticed a cell phone on top of the machine.  The background of the phone was a bare chested man.  I searched recent texts for someone who would know the owner of the phone and found a number listed as “My Queen”.  The most recent texts from “My Queen” were distraught and suggested they have sex as a way of mending the conflict.  The owner of the phone didn’t respond much to her texts.

I called “My Queen” and explained the situation.  She said she would meet me for the phone.  I told her cross streets and that I was next to Lifeguard Tower 20.  She went to the wrong place and after about 45 minutes of waiting I decided to leave the phone with the lifeguards and try to get a quick kite session in before I had to head down to Miami to meet my friend Russell.

I changed into my wetsuit on the beach.  I mention this because it is a sign of my progress in self acceptance.  In the past I would be concerned about people watching me strip to my underwear and struggle getting into a wetsuit.  I would be particularly concerned about a slight public taboo of being in public in underwear rather than a bathing suit.  I’ve finally reached the point in my life that public underwear wearing is no big deal.  What an unforgettable landmark in time that is!

In the vein of that thought, I take on the challenges that face me.  When I am afraid, I become curious and more and more fearless.  Now was my time to make amends with Russell.  I could skate through the area and continue on my way to the beautiful Florida Keys.  Yet, the Florida Keys did not have the significance that Russell Rosario does.  This moment was one I had to take on, and so I did.  I met him and his girlfriend at Art Basil, apparently the largest visual art show in the world.  Russell had free tickets.  As if life were written as a series of tests, it seemed his girlfriend was flirting with me, like ancient memory.  I treated her nicely, but at the same time made it obvious I was there for Russell.  I found the right moment to apologize in person.  It didn’t go as well as I hoped, but I did my part and I am proud of myself for that.

Next I went to the Florida Keys!  I drove at night and couldn’t wait to get out of Miami traffic.  I would have serious road rage problems if I drove in Miami daily.  I didn’t stop on the way back through simply because of how bad the experience was during Art Basil.  It wasn’t that traffic moved slow, it was that it was pure madness sharing the road with hurried giant assholes.  I drove through Islamorada at night looking for a place to park and sleep.  I finally found a spot that would work.  In the morning, I could see kites!  I had parked right next to the main kite spot in Islamorada.

I walked over to the small launch area and sat down to watch the kiters.  A young man with long hair was fiddling with some stuff in the front passenger side of his van, parked beachfront.  When he turned around to face the water he greeted me with a giant smile and enthusiastically offered me some packaged pop tarts he found in the sand that morning.  We struck up a conversation and before too long a couple of others wandered in with kites on their backs and said hello to the guy I was talking with.  With a second look I recognized them!  Brian and Susan!  These two were phenomenal kiters who I met in Hatteras.  My sister used to work with them and my mom took a lesson with them.  They are my “kite idols”.  They are badass kiters, professionals in the industry, and have kept it fun!

They got out on the water and I decided to grab my gear and join them.  I rigged my seven year old equipment and waded into the water to do what’s called a drift launch.  The launching area was in a wind shadow and the drift launch was my best option, but that I had never done a drift launch with this gear.  Nevertheless, this was my opportunity to show my kite idols how far I had come.  When I reached a safe distance, I let the kite start drifting and I started unraveling the wrapped up lines as quickly as I could.  The bar has slits on the ends that kept snagging the lines and soon I was falling behind and the kite was turning into the wind.  The kite launched with tangled lines and started the death spiral.  I released my safety and the kite fell to the water and I managed to untangle the lines, reset my safety, launch the kite, and proceeded to have a nice session.  Unfortunately, there was one small knot that I missed, and it is tighter than a condom on a cucumber now.

So I didn’t exactly impress my kite idols, but there will be another opportunity for that.  The pop tart guy was a solid kiter and also a guitarist.  He suggested I go book a gig with a local brewery for that night.  The brewery redirected me to a restaurant & bar down the road and they booked me.  I then went back to the beach and watched the kiters finish their sessions while I picked on the guitar.  A couple asked me to play something great.  I played a romantic song and they danced on the shore and gave the rest of a glass of jaeger.  When the pop tart guy finished kiting I pulled a second guitar from my van and we jammed!  He could play!

I then set up at Oo-tray’s, my venue for the night.  I had a great time performing.  They staff was so pleased with the music they gave me beer and a giant double stack burger.  I met a couple who happened to be from Tennessee!  We connected and were enjoying an engaging conversation when Brian and Susan walked in.  While performing at this stage in my career is not always a great financial opportunity, I have to say, these experiences are irreplaceable and could only happen in this way, at this stage in my career.  It’s a special time, and I don’t make the mistake of overlooking that in the face of financial pressures.

I packed up, thanked the staff, found a place to sleep, and made my way back to Cocoa Beach.