I thought I had lucked out. A state park with plenty of available spaces right on a lake. Oh what a fool I was. One bar on the cell phones means no WIFI. The TV finds no channels. The radio finds no stations. As the sun set a heavy mist formed upon the lake. The clouds are blocking the moon. We are in total darkness. Total isolation.
The morning came as a thick fog. It might have well still been night as far as I could see. I counted seven steps before losing sight of the camper. Found it again by walking backwards. The dog was afraid to poop. Didn’t blame her. Told her she had to go anyway.
There were noises in the water. A couple of small skidding splashes like ducks landing. Then there was a big splash and a gator’s bellow. I decided it would be okay if the dog pooped inside under the circumstances.
A couple hours later the fog lifted like it was being vacuumed up into the sky. There was no wind. The water was as smooth as glass. A gator’s head popped out of the water over by the bat house, then sank away. That was the last we saw of it.
At first I thought it was a bird house, but it turns out it was a bat house. This did not comfort my wife, so no wandering around at dusk for her. Thanks to the dog, I did. Didn’t see or hear any bats, but we heard some bull frogs arguing about religion. I don’t speak frog, but religion is the only thing that would elicit that much passion in an argument.
About midnight, on the dog’s last walk, the night had become humid and lit by a big moon. The bats came. You could hear the wings flap. There was no screeching, but that was almost worse. Then they were gone. I guess all the bugs had been eaten.
The next morning was misty, but not so bad. That splashing and gator groans were back, but I figured that as long as they’re splashing they’re not on the land. Then the dog started yelping. She was covered with fire ants. It took ten minutes to pull them all off her. Another five to get them off me. Youch.
When we got back to the camper I noticed the muddy paw prints on the door. The dog was freaking at the smell. I guess on the way out she was too busy to notice. I took a picture with my phone thinking, “That was one big raccoon.” I looked it up in the Boy Scout manual I got at a yard sale for a quarter. Yes, they were bear prints. Well pulled out as soon as visibility allowed.
Maybe motels are more our speed.
People think that being alone is all silence and isolation. For me, being alone is standing still watching the world go around me in fast forward. They don’t perceive me and I don’t dare interrupt whatever they are in such a hurry to accomplish. It must be important. I’m not important.
Not that I don’t think I’m important within the scope of my own existence. I am as important as anyone else. I just don’t think that I’m more important than anyone else. I’m not one of those self-entitled people who think the world should bow down and step aside.
Those people should have their kneecaps broken. My court-appointed new best friend calls that an inappropriate thought. Apparently everyone has them, but the norms don’t act on them. My court-appointed life goal is to become a norm. Doesn’t that sound like a monkey barrel full of fun?
At the time it seemed like letting the court take control of my life was better than going to jail. Now I’m not so sure. This isn’t freedom. I’m not sure what to call it. Whatever it is, I only have to do it for six more months. My brothers are planning a coming out party.
My brothers are not my friends. I was a several years later surprise. Never able to keep up with them physically or scholastically I became the black sheep. My parents were too old and tired to care that I strayed from the norm. There’s that word again.
My brothers are normal. They’re falling down drunk every Friday and Saturday night. I like to drink but not that hard. That’s why it’s been easier for me than the other guys in the circle of chairs. They are normal. They have normal problems. Drunks are OK. I am not.
I wish I had some poetic trigger to my violence. Like, “I see a purple light coming from my head.” But it just happens. Like a car skidding off the road. No, it’s not even like that. Some guy says something insulting, not meaning it, and I’m pounding his face.
That hasn’t happened in a while though. They gave me these pills called mood stabilizers. They make everyone else seem like they are far away so it doesn’t bother me, no matter what they say. I don’t like them, but the name reminds me of the Star Blazers cartoon.
So here I sit in lonely and confused silence with the cult of the circle of chairs. Mood stabilized, unable to express myself. The others take their turns complaining about their lives and repeating the lies they told their parole officers. The facilitator writes it all down on their permanent records.
In northern Florida during Daytona Speedweek. (AKA the big race) A whole bunch of extra people are here. We are having to go all the way to the Georgia border this weekend. All the other campgrounds are full.
We are five miles from Georgia in a weird commercial campground that probably used to be a county park. Across the street is an abandoned motel. Across the highway from that is another abandoned motel. There are four large fireworks stores in sight. It feels like we are in some post-apocalyptic oasis.
And there are ducks.
Feeling better today. More energy and clarity. We are in an amazing place. A state park on the banks of the Suwannee River, dedicated to the guy who wrote the song.
I helped rescue a dog today. It was wandering in traffic and was very scared and probably already been hit. I parked the RV and grabbed a leash. A woman and I managed to get a loop over the dog’s head and get it off the road. A passerby called animal control.
When the animal control woman arrived she said that she already had two nearly identical dogs in her truck. It didn’t go quietly but now it’s safe.
Got in a short bike ride today. A mix of paved and dirt roads. Nice scenery, but no alligators spotted. Pat took her scooter for a ride as well.
We’ve got not TV reception here so I’m getting a bunch of work done on my next videos. I had to download a new video editor. The once I was using just can’t do what I need it to do. Trial and error.
We are sixty miles from the last park but still on the Suwannee river. All kinds of critters in the water here. We have a great view but no cable TV and 1 bar cell service. It’s going to be a quiet couple days.
The fish here don’t jump, they fly.