I'm not above "making a fool of myself in public".
Some people actually enjoy my antics, at least my friends seem to.
I'm big and scary to others and this helps soften the edges, or that's what I tell myself.
I had a treat. I got to visit with a good friend from New York, Karyna. She comes down every year to visit with her friends that are splattered across the South Florida area, and she's a fascinating person.
A True Case of Opposites Attract. Her life is probably as different from mine as two lives can get.
It also meant I had to "Leave The Island" for the day. I got into the big black Jeep and drove the 30 miles from here to the very northern part of Miami. When we got there, she asked me where I'd like to go.
I think she wanted to go to South Beach, and my friends here will laugh when I say I didn't go there.
South Beach is a bit too wild and crazy for my tastes.
But she did like going to Aventura to hit the mall. It's got a food court there that is chock full of "one off" restaurants and no large chains. It does have a Five Guys but we didn't do that. I mean, you're in South Florida, why get something you can get elsewhere.
No offense to Five Guys, but I really wanted something a bit more local.
I settled for the Cuban place next door. We could have gone down to Calle Ocho and hit one of the restaurants there, but that would have probably had me going into my shell since I'm not used to driving at all. I told her that I put between 500 and 1000 miles a year on my Jeep. I really don't need a car but since I have it I keep it.
Plus it's a blast to drive.
We walked the mall chatting about our divergent lives, and basically having a good time in a crowded space.
When she got a call from her mom, it gave me the time to check the phone for any messages, and glance at weather.
Oops. Red inverted triangle with an exclamation point. Duck and Cover.
There was a tornado warning up for the entire of our area. By that I mean anything below Orlando.
Mind you I love watching weather but not when I'm in DJ crawling on the roads.
D.J. is "Darth Jeep". That's his name. If I call it, he'll know how to come home.
At least that was the story that was told to me years ago.
So we piled back into the big black Jeep and headed the 10 miles back to the house that Karyna was staying. She needed to make a short stop to get some eggs and supplies for the visit so we stopped at the first place that was on "Our Side Of The Road". This happened to be the Whole Foods in North Miami.
Cool, I like the places even if they're pricey. But when you're on holiday and just need a gallon of water, a dozen eggs, some turkey sausages, and some other oddball item you just get it and go.
Go being the operative word. The skies looked biblical with a Wall Cloud looming steel grey overhead.
I let her off at the door and parked my iron friend beast in a stall. After setting the cap on the steering wheel and the alarm, I was off to find her.
Yes, cap. It's a giant steel frisbee that fits over the steering wheel that I thread a lock through. Looks imposing and tells Ne'er-do-wells to get lost.
It's a Jeep Thing, you wouldn't understand. It's also a convertible thing so that explains it to the civilians.
Going inside the building, I wandered along in a Search and Destroy mission - find eggs and Karyna. After colliding with a goodie station, I spotted a little black boy dancing in the aisles.
Have you ever heard the phrase? "If a child gives you a toy phone and says it's for you, Answer it!"?
I have. It's given me great joy to act the fool to kids and get away with it in public. I don't see many children and that's mostly a good thing, but this was one of those moments that was too cute to pass up.
His mom was nearby and beamed a 50,000 watt smile when she heard me say "Wow you're a better dancer than I am!".
I heard from him "Now your turn! Your Turn!".
Naw, I can't... not here!
Your Turn! Your Turn, Come on! He insisted.
Ok, doing my best imitation of the "Where the Heck Is Matt" video, I danced. In front of the eggs. In the back of the Whole Foods in North Miami.
We drew a crowd. I think I made a kid and his mom very happy.
Karyna spotted me dancing in the aisle, and laughed without realizing it was me acting the fool.
I called her over for her eggs and we got on our way.
Mom thanked me for the dance in the checkout line on the way out.
If you're big and scary and a kid asks you for a dance, by all means do it! You may not pass this way again and you'll make someone's day.
We piled back into the Jeep and headed down to the house. I had to get out of there fast. I know how the people here drive, and it's not pretty. It took me an hour and 45 minutes just to go the 30 miles on a trip that should have taken about 1/3 that.
Stuck in traffic isn't something I do often, but when I do, it's usually in Miami heading home. Listening to the local dance channel, smiling about the day and the dancing when I should be grumbling about these people driving like an Atlantan in a dusting of snow.
The dance with the little kid, and the visit with Karyna was a warm spot of sunshine on a very grey day.
So why the picture of the butterfly? No reason, other than I like Monarchs. It was taken a little while back in the park near my house.