Thursday, July 28, 2011
Going With the Flow Tested - Day Two in Florida
In my husband's defense, he did warn me before we even left Oregon that he might need to work a little while we were in Florida. I nodded and told him I understood. I did understand. The week before we left had brought some complications at work, so it wasn't a big surprise.
Plans for day two were something along the lines of the following. Awake early, eat breakfast, and take a nice lesisurely drive down the coast to Miami arriving in Miami some time in late afternoon. Late afternoon but still early enough to go to the beach - at least for a walk.
Actual day two in Florida bears little resemblance to this plan. First we slept much later than planned. Then my husband informed me he needed to work for a little while. I smiled and asked how long. When he said a couple of hours, I suggested we go to an outlet mall we'd passed the night before. He could find wi-fi in a coffee shop there, and I could shop for a couple of clothing items I needed. Yes, needed, I underpacked including packing a pair of shorts with no matching shirt. We decided to skip breakfast since neither of us felt hungry and just grab coffee at the outlet mall. We started our drive to the outlet mall and promptly took a wrong turn. The GPS took us a really long way to get back to the outlet mall, but I was still trying to go with the flow.
On the way to the outlet mall, we passed a Walmart. My husband suggested we stop and get some bottled water since I hadn't drank nearly enough the previous day (actually neither of us had). So we did. Then the "while we're here,we should pick up..." statements started. Now, in stores like Walmart, I'm focused and speedy otherwise they'll trap me for the whole day. My husband tends to move too slowly in those kind of stores for my taste, so I began to get testy.
Finally, we were out of Walmart and back on our way to the outlet mall. For some reason, my husband decided we should do my shopping together and then go find a coffee shop. That would have certainly defeated the purpose. The whole point was to give me something to do other than watch him type email. I tried to express this nicely but felt my intent wasn't getting through. Finally, I found the coffee shop for him and sent him to do his work.
Eventually, after I bought two shirts, he sent his work emails and I checked my email, we were on our way to Miami. By the time we left Orlando it was early afternoon. My "go with the flow" attitude got lost somewhere at the outlet mall. I was irritated because my plans for the day were shot. There was going to be no beach for the second day!
Okay, now to be honest, I still thought I was going with the flow. I thought I was being little miss understanding and supportive; however, my husband disagreed. The more I tried to figure out how to adjust our plans, the more annoyed he got with me for being so negative. Perhaps my tone belied my frustration or perhaps he was feeling sensitive... I don't know.
At first he was convinced we could still get to Miami in time to take a walk on the beach. I pointed out that food would have to come first. The scone and coffee I ate at Starbucks wasn't exactly a full meal and stopping for lunch would only delay our arrival to Miami. Finally, I just shut my mouth and stared out the window. It felt like every word I said made things worse. There was probably a bit of pouting, too. So much for going with the flow.
By the time we arrived in Miami the sun was starting to set. At first I thought we might still make it to the beach for a short walk, but then my husband remembered he needed another memory disk for the camera. So, it was off to find another Walmart... Oh joy! And, there goes the beach for sure...
New plan: Let's enjoy Miami's nightlife. That's my plan anyway. My husband isn't big on bars, dance clubs, or other night life to be perfectly honest. And, I've kind of resigned myself to that. I rarely even suggest we try those kinds of things anymore as it usually leads to disappointment. Still, I wanted to salvage the day.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the scenery while we drove. It just wasn't... well, what I'd planned.
I went to change while my husband called the front desk to inquire about some place for dinner and some place to listen to music or dance or something. He was trying to accommodate my request. I have to give him credit for that.
I wanted a restaurant where I could look out at the water while I ate. My husband wanted to stay within walking distance of the hotel. Well, the hotel staff sent us to a place where that was supposed to be possible. Uh, not quite. Oh, well. After dinner, we took a quick walk along the bay. That worked - sort of. Then we headed to another place for a little "nightlife". If by nightlife, they meant open late, well, there you go. It wasn't my definition, but it turned out okay. We sat outdoors, ate dessert, drank coffee and chatted with the waiter... and chatted with the waiter... and chatted with the waiter. Oh, and my husband took some photos of the street - playing with his new camera, or as he put it learning to use his new camera.
I finally let myself relax while we were sitting at this outdoor restaurant/club. As soon as I started just enjoying the moment instead of focusing on what I didn't get to do, I found my smile and even laughter again.
We ended the night in the hotel room taking pictures for hours of scenes that might work for the cover of the book of poetry. And, while it wasn't what I'd envisioned yet again, the results held great promise...
Will I ever get the hang of going with the flow? I have no idea. I think I have a fear that if I go with the flow, I'll be a pushover and never get what I want.
T. L. Cooper grew up on a farm in Tollesboro, Kentucky. She earned a Bachelor of Science from Eastern Kentucky University. Her poems, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared online, in books, and in magazines. Her published work includes a novel, All She Ever Wanted and four books of poetry. When not writing, she enjoys yoga, golf, and traveling. Currently, she resides in Albany, Oregon.