Yiddish: Mentsch tracht, Gott lacht.
English: Man plans, God laughs.
On Christmas day, I left for Florida to hang out with my family for a week. It’s something I’ve done for the past 20 years. My dad and stepmom’s side of the family congregates at a place called Longboat Key on the mid-western gulf coast. Days are typically spent hanging by the pool, eating, going to the beach, eating, playing with my cousins’ kids and eating some more.
The hub of activity is a couple vacation condominiums my aunt and uncle own. My dad usually books me a condo in the same complex. This year was no different except that my girlfriend was joining me.
The condos in the complex are all bright and sunny duplexes, filled with tacky overstuffed floral print couches. There are vases filled with plastic flowers for ambience. It’s upper-middle-class vacation property chic—not decor you’d live with all year, but clean and comfortable for a week.
We picked up the keys for our unit, 580CW, the night we arrived. My aunt and uncle offered to drop us off at the unit. We wended through the parking lots, but 580CW was nowhere to be found. Finally, I got out a map that the management included with the keys. Written in a Sharpie pen was the outline of 580CW. It was not in the main complex, but on the road directly outside of it, Companion Way (CW). Strange, but not immediately alarming.
We drove out of the complex onto Companion Way and after a couple passes found the unit. It was a converted trailer. Strange, but no biggie. I’ve lived in trailer parks before. They can be nice. Really.
We entered the linoleum-floored trailer and were immediately assaulted by the smell of cleaning solvent and damp, cigarette-permeated upholstery. This was disconcerting at first, but our alarm was mitigated by fatigue. We had been traveling all day and the preceding days were spent making sure everything was cool before we left. We were too tired to complain and after all we were there because of my father’s generosity. I felt it a bit ungracious to refuse free accommodations.
We got into the bedroom and plopped down on the bed. To call the bed a pillow-top mattress is like calling Mt. Everest a speed-bump. It had a foot or so of cushion, presumably covering springs deep below the surface. Sleeping on our sides put our bodies into a V-shape where our hips sunk into the mattress and legs and torso projected upward. The same thing happened lying on our backs or stomachs—our pelvises sank while our heads and feet were sent vertical. The bed’s comfort made moving to the cold linoleum floor seemed like a viable option.
These physical contortions were exacerbated by sheets that smelled like an ashtray doused with a Glade air-freshener. Continue reading “Make 2011 The Most Processive Year Ever!”