Orlando, Florida in July feels like Satan drank a bottle of Scotch and exhaled on the Earth. Moisture hangs in the air like weights on barbell racks. It takes every bit of strength I possess to move down the street in search of breakfast. An early evening storm is guilty of the evaporation as I seek refuge in some chain restaurant. As I sit down, I feel lighter amid an air conditioner on full blast. Outside it feels as if gravity’s pull is stronger. Burying myself in eggs and bacon, I knew what awaits me. An hour has passed, and I will need to go outside again. It has only gotten hotter. Florida may not agree with me after all.
Of course, I would never choose Florida on my own accord. I was called here for a conference on AmeriCorps Vista and national community service. In the halls of a hotel conference center, I am so proud to meet people from across this nation of ours dedicated to the same ideas as me. As I spend time listening to their stories and sharing my own, I am motivated and reinvigorated. At times, I can lose sight of why I do this work. For that, there is no equal to being surrounded by my peers.
Mexican Food & Voodoo Donuts
No one can come to Orlando without coming face to face with a theme park. While rides weren’t on my agenda, Universal Studio’s City Walk was. In search of Margaritas, we found ourselves in a Mexican restaurant with the noise turned up to eleven and entertainment in the form of singers took center stage. After a few too many rounds, we stumbled out into the darkness. Voodoo Donuts, the Portland original, and their pink boxes caught our attention. In the end, they didn’t do much to sober us up, but they didn’t hurt either.
Land of the Mouse
I have some deep-seated issues with Disney. Most of these issues stem from the way in which it gobbles up the competition. Their theme parks are fine, but I don’t lose my mind over them. Coming to Orlando, I knew I would have to do battle with the mouse. I just didn’t expect its presence to be everywhere and wrapped around every facet of life. I was blown away by its sheer size and scope. For years, I have sympathized with those who get pushed around by Disney in Anaheim, California. Now, my heart breaks for those who are engulfed by all that is Disney World.
I am not a fan of Florida and probably will never be one. I’ve been twice and never really need to come back, but I know the allure of a place like Miami is too much to bear. So, yes, a third trip is probably on the horizon and yes, I will do my best to keep an open mind about Alabama’s Alabama. Still, from everything I read in the news, see on television, and have experienced, Florida is not a place for me. This is all more than fine. I am sure there is someone out there right now saying the same thing about the west coast. Which is great, because we are full.
Be good to each other,
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