The elder statesmen are dropping their loose change on the table, gloves are tightening, faces smiling, pens dotting the "i's" and crossing the "t's". The rules are given a once over by the emcee just prior to the bell ringing to signify the start of the tournament. The happy, retired golfers joke around as they gather their belongings and race off to hole one in their state of the art golf carts. Mike and I are sitting in close proximity near the clubhouse enjoying the amenities which include free wifi, a really great hot tub, a heated pool, a fantastic patio with shuffle board and horse shoes.... and SUN! Oh, did I mention there is a sweet 9 hole course in the community as well? These old folks know how to live! We are clacking away on our computers, lining up places to stay in the Caribbean through couchsurfing.org. We have had the conversation about how ironic it is that both of us, near 30 years of age, have a semi-retired lifestyle. I make my bread and butter with my online business and Mike works seasonal jobs managing night clubs and selling Christmas trees. Mike is super "consolidated", as he likes to call it, carrying what he would need to live for years on his back. I have a home in Buffalo that my brother is watching and living in as I bounce back and forth around the planet, but have purged most of my unnecessary possessions and expenses, making almost everyday a great adventure.
Yesterday we got the tour of Leesburg with cousin Tom. Mike also convinced him to clean up his hair cut, which lead to a near riot in the salon at the local mall. We had the hair dressers laughing practically to tears as we joked about turning the old hippie into an oil tycoon. My haircut made me look like Uncle Kracker....which was later confirmed by the cover band we saw at a local bar when the lead singer came up and asked... "Dude... are you Uncle Kracker?" I smiled and politely let him down.
The afternoon hours were spent learning how to golf with Tom walking us through the basics so we could get a swing down. I whacked a few balls into the gator pond before finally keeping my head down and putting it on the green. Michael explained his lack of golf skills in a way the hit home with me, "Golf is a game of mental patience... and I don't have any." After playing the same two holes 3 or four times we called it quits and got ready to head out into town for the Annual Chili Cookoff!
It turns out Mike has friends that live in Leesburg and are practically one of the oldest and most politically connected families in town. Enter "T"... T is a big ole Florida boy with a rampant penchant for "bromance". This son of a real estate magnate was strutting his drunken stuff with a 10 gallon cowboy hat and rosy red cheeks that screamed of light beer consumption. The minute he saw Mike he was screaming "Bicycle! Mr. Bicycle!! I love you man!!" and hugging him like he was a war hero. I'm very fond of Mike, so I figured maybe this guy really is too, but as the night progressed I watched him over-hug nearly everyone he ran into. This is how T rolls when he's drunk. This dude was the life of the party and definitely the right hook up for the night. We got free food and beer, a tour of his parents Opera House that the family bought and renovated in the center of town. While in this amazing 120 year old mammoth of a building we were escorted to a lavish back apartment where his parents and their friends were partying. Ernest Hemingway? Nope. T's dad. T's dad has won so many Hemingway look alike contests that the government of Spain set him up on a totally expense free trip to tour their country to honor him during one of their festivals. The whole family centered around this calm, cool patriarch who was clearly a man of intelligence and means. The party moved to the local bar, which was packed with 400 or so happy locals all swinging, laughing and drinking to the funniest cover band ever. At first, I kept thinking I was in a bad filming sequel of Spinal Tap, but they.... like Tap (in character at least) were serious about the music. They shredded through the worst Nickelback Top 40 crap and were on the verge of making me pull my hair out. But then a shift... a total phase shift happened. Perhaps I was just getting buzzed enough from the alcohol. Perhaps the cover band owned their tunes so much that they roped me in. Maybe the bleach blonde, fake boob, 40yr old plus crowd of Florida Cougars dancing on the floor in front of me enticed enough of my young male spirit.... that... a smile cracked my face and I began finding myself sliding ever closer to the middle of the floor. Eventually Tom and Mike joined me...noticing the lack of males in the slithering crowd of over eager female dancers. We owned that floor, and eventually the band. I typed in the numbers 867 5309 into my phone and kept flashing the members while they sang "Jenny I got your number...." They were laughing so hard they could barely finish the tune. It was so much fun. Cousin Tom remarked, "Isn't it amazing that no matter where we go, we always have a good time and end up owning the room?!" I couldn't agree more. The adventurous spirit of this trio is infectious!
We are going to hit some laps in the pool now and enjoy the rest of the day. Hope you are enjoying your day!