It’s a typical weekend afternoon in Florida…

Wiregrass

The sky is predictably blue. In fact, it’s a shade or two shy of pastel that’s slowly giving way to Gray before the Sherbet Tones of Sunset that will fade eventually to Indigo and surrender finally to an inky Black.

The humidity crowds you oppressively from every angle. The slow intermittent breeze is like hot labored breaths on your face and the edges of your ears. There’s the typical crackle and almost-tactile fuzz of conversation punctuated by the occasional sharp laugh, bark, or cheer. You scan the patio.

Nearby, a pair of curly-headed South Americans in neon striped tank tops watch a fútbol match with baited breath. A friendly middle-aged couple press their shoulders together and order another round of domestic light beers while a young couple shush their dog and peruse the menu with a disinterested slouch.

Down the bar, an old man wearing a golf hat and resignation looks sideways repeatedly at the overtanned “cougar” nursing a moscato and her smartphone. He stages a few meters away and waits for an opening that likely won’t come. You suspect he noticed the bare third-finger of her left hand.

A steady parade of (Cross)fit couples with designer sunglasses, token terriers, and a couple handfuls of shopping bags strolls by like carefree tourists, minus the fanny packs and DSLR cameras.The View

Sitting here is much like working at an airport, you reckon. Flights arrive and flights depart. Most everyone here is on their way somewhere else. It seems unusual being so stationary and solitary when everyone else seems to be in transit. It seems odd looking at things when others around you seem to be looking for things.

But in front of you sits your faithful companion and sidekick: another rocks glass half-full of peppery caramel Summer. You take a small slow sip and scan the patio again. You fancy yourself The Witness. The “Still Life” fixture amid the “Motion Picture” unfolding lazily around you. At a pedestrian glance, it might all be seemingly uninteresting. It would be easy to digest, divest, and leave.

But the truth is… it can’t always be mojitos, bikinis, and reef dives. Sometimes, it’s just a sweltering and uneventful day of people-watching. You aren’t always the “lead actor” and for that matter, you’re not even always “in the film”. But thankfully, “Blinding” isn’t the only version of “Beautiful”. After all, the original Mona Lisa wasn’t saturated and vivid Andy Warhol pop art.

Sure, we all want the electric flash and splash of brighter hues and wetter kisses. We’ve become conditioned to crave “bigger tits and a faster connection to the internet”, but there’s still ample beauty left hiding in the subdued wash of Reality if we’re simply willing to observe it and marinate accordingly. And to that end, the bourbon helps.

So lean back into the heat, order another round of your chosen poison/medicine, and take in the view of this less grandiose slice of Life. There will be plenty of other views to be had and savored, but you may as well enjoy yourself while you’re here. It’s the “Kraft Blue Box Mac n’ Cheese” of afternoons. Golden, unsophisticated, and delicious if you’re willing to check your pretentiousness at the door.

The point is: It’s perfectly fine to be bored or even miserable, but that doesn’t mean you have to be.

wire-grass-mall-new-tampa

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About The Author

Mark Allen

I write and drink whiskey.

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