Sunday, June 26, 2011

Boynton Beach Memoirs: June

Today I woke up to the sound of torrential rain fall - a morning cleansing of South Florida leaving in its wake clean cars, wet, cinematic pavement, and the fresh smell of mother nature. Also, this being Florida in the summer, it will surely leave behind humidity, a tremendous amount of oppressive, suffocating humidity. Therefore, I will not go outside, and cannot actually verify the clean cars or fresh smell thing. No, no outdoors for me this morning. I am content to grab a cup of coffee, put some brown sugar in it just to be different, and sit down here at my desk, indoors, to write a little something. And here we go with the Song of June:

The school-year ended and I think it ended well. All my 8th graders passed their final exam and will be continuing on to summer, high school, the rest of their lives. The principal was very careful to remind them that they had not "graduated" anything, yet; they were simply continuing on. For my part, I did my best to send them off with good grades and maybe even a little bit of knowledge. Knowledge I'm sure they'll forget completely over the summer, but still, knowledge. I hope it serves them well in high school. I hope I have a job next school year. I hope teaching will be a fulfilling career. I hope. (Have I made that Shawshank Redemption reference before? I think I have. Oh, well. Get busy quoting or get busy coming up with my own lines... ) In the meantime, I can take solace in this message, left for me on the white board in my room on the last day of school:
Teenager internet slang, for the win! I don't think it was sarcastic, either!
I was also informed that I have "swag."
Concurrent with the end of the school-year is the beginning of mango season in South Florida. In our neighborhood, in the heart of Hypoluxo, the mangoes fall from the trees in mass quantities, waiting to be harvested by humans or eaten by rats. I don't think the mangoes care which, as long as they don't go to waste. So, so far, we've made: mango cake, mango bread, mango salsa, mango cocktails, and, the pièce de résistance, Mangoluxo Jelly ©. Mmmm... mango-y! We even made labels! Coming soon to a store near you??
Mangoluxo from Hypoluxo.
Very nice on a piece of toast.
TRI-Rail: Two levels and two tracks,
 you figure it out
One day, not long after the mango harvest, I awoke with a desire to ride the rails. I used to commute on trains all the time when I lived in New York and New Jersey, and I have missed it. There is just something romantic and old-school about taking a train. Plus, you know, CHOO-CHOOOO!! So, I took the local commuter train, the Tri-Rail, down as far south as it goes, to Miami International Airport. MIA. Wait, seriously? Missing in action? That's the name of the airport? Eesh. Anyway, I had a nice train ride and a nice café con leche at the airport. Then I bought the traditional overpriced airport Toblerone and got back on the train and rode back home. Weeeee! Along the way I found out that train conductors in South Florida carry sidearms. As in guns. They are like train conductors/rent-a-cops, apparently. I wasn't sure if this made me feel more or less safe. I was just confused as to why they were not using their guns to shoot the people blasting their Cuban electronica music on the train. Come on guys, with great power comes great responsibility... to shoot people playing annoying music.

On another day, I took Foxy in to get new shoes. See, shoes are what I call tires and Foxy is what I call my car... I got new tires for my car is what I'm saying. I mention this only as an excuse to mention how much I love the smell of new tires. Mother nature can keep her fresh morning rain smells, I'll take the smell of the tire aisle at Costco any day. I don't know, I just love the smell of fresh tire rubber, always have. Now you know. Also, new shoe smell. That's rubber and leather together! Intoxicating. You know, I really don't think I would be all that unhappy to work in a shoe store. Wait, what am I talking about? Of course I would; it would be horrible. But at least I could get high on sneaker smell every day... when I wasn't busy getting high on the actual drugs it would take for me to get through a day working at a shoe store.

To round out my June means-of-transportation-trifecta, I will be taking a plane ride to San Francisco at the end of the month... that's in like 3 days! I found a pretty cheap flight on JetBlue and am looking forward to blue potato chips, animal crackers, and seeing my friends, Danie and the Jensens. Plus, in San Francisco I think I can get away with wearing corduroy. It's just too hot and weird to wear corduroy in the summer in Florida. But I still do sometimes... I can't help it, I think I only feel truly comfortable when my legs are draped in soft, brown, velveteen ridges. Now you know.

Love and Death:
Then there is the case of love, death, and the creation of the universe. Ya know, the small things. These topics are on my mind because a) I am jobless for the summer and have too much time on my hands, and b) I recently saw two movies that took on these topics: The Tree of Life and The Seventh Seal - one new, one old; one ponderous, one entertaining; both daring to tackle the core, fundamental, extremely serious questions of human existence. I didn't come to any ground breaking conclusions after watching these movies, but they did make me think and that ain't nothing.

Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life was extremely beautiful to look at, and there were dinosaurs in it (!), but it took itself just a little too seriously for my taste. I mean, it was just sooooo sincere. I can appreciate the ambition, craft, and originality, but, Jesus, it was just not a movie you'd want to watch again, really. The Seventh Seal, probably the most famous of Ingmar Bergman's classic films, on the other hand, is one of those old movies, like Casablanca, that really holds up. The premise is obscure and weighty, but the dialogue and characters are consistently entertaining and the pace is snappy. Who knew playing chess with Death could be so funny? And because it is funny, I think it ultimately addresses the human condition better than The Tree of Life... really good humor can be, and, in my opinion, usually is, more insightful than drama. I guess that is really the lesson I learned from these two movies. Give me some good, deep comedy (and some semblance of plot) any day.
Your move, Death. One of the most iconic images in film history.
Well, it's raining cats and dogs in buckets again, and that must mean it's time to wrap this up. I am going to go wrap myself in corduroy and take a nap. Tomorrow is a baking day; one last round before Morty and I pack our bags for the pilgrimage to his motherland. Of course Morty is going to San Francisco with me, don't be silly.

The rain in Hypoluxo falls mainly
on the pelican statue.
PS. I actually wrote most of this post two days ago. Since then I actually did go outside... see the following pictures from the Palm Beach Zoo. I think my dad wanted to go as preparation for seeing Zookeeper with Kevin James. I think he thinks he can get a role in the sequel.
This peacock had a thing for my mom.
My mom was interested, but ultimately noncommittal.
Living lawn ornaments!
My friend, the mud turtle.
If that tiger was pissed off,
do you really think that fence would be sufficient?
Let the eagles soar, like they've never soared before! Happy early July 4th!

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