Two Perfect Days

Roberteaux

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Although it's been hotter than blazes during the daylight hours, the nights here in lovely east central Florida have been splendid. And as it happened, one of my friends invited me to come and see his blues band do a live show on Main Street in Daytona-- the site of many of my most ridiculous foibles. In fact I have been feeling somewhat cooped up of late, and so I decided that it was time to fire up my old FLH and head on down the road.

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Thus, I returned back to my old haunts on Main Street, to listen to a lot of live, old-school blues music as performed by the James Crouch Band. Jim is a very close friend of mine, and basically, he is the one who cajoled me to leave Chateau Roberteaux and do a little bit of clubbing for a change. We met back in the old days, during one Bike Week in which he and his band were playing at another Main Street venue called Main Street Station that sits next to the Boot Hill Saloon... and after work, we would all meet at Froggy's for that last drink of the night...

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And so I rode over there... and am very glad: I ran into oodles of my old associates, and there was quite a bit of back-thumping all the way around. I was "sirred" nearly half to death, and even endured a few poignant moments as one or another person reminded me of this, that, or the other bit of inadvisable fun we had indulged in back in our hellbound era. For me the mistiest moment of all took place when a lady of my acquaintance told me that when I split from the Main Street scene (about six or seven years ago), it marked the end of an era in her mind. I was surprised, and touched, actually: I didn't think that anybody would have noticed. But she did.

Meanwhile, I watched with amusement as the kids-- young adults, really-- did their squabbling, their bragging, their chest pounding, their shot-hammering, and all the other things they stupidly think are what woos women, while the ladies themselves sat by and rolled their eyes at the Neanderthal shenanigans that pass for recreation for young Floridian bikers... the New Breed, as I tend to think of them as being.

I grinned out at the world from my booth. All I could think of was an old Rolling Stones song called, "As Tears Go By", especially the part where Mick sang:

It is the evening of the day
I sit and watch the children play
Doing things I used to do
They think are new...


I beamed at the whole sight, diggin' on its absurd vibrance and familiarity... yes, they were all there-- the bouncers who watched every little thing, suspiciously viewing the world through eyelids lowered to scimitar-like slits, with a little spark of white-hot fire that sometimes stabs out as they see something they think will lead to trouble. The women, preening themselves and joking around with the boys, who are trying way too hard to impress those giggling, tipsy girls. And then there were several of my old compatriots, all come out of our geezerly worlds to see James Crouch play they way he used to play, back when we were a New Breed all our own...

After the show, I invited several of my pals to come to my house-- an offer that a few took me up on. We sat in my living room, drank, and yukked it up unto the wee hours. When I came out of my bedroom this morning, there were still a couple of people snoozing on my living room furniture and in the guest bedroom. I fed 'em breakfast and then shooed them back out, and into the cruel world. My cat, relieved to find things back to normal, then came out from under the bed and knocked stuff off the countertop to notify me of his displeasure. This is the first time poor Spooky has ever seen so many people in our house as this, and he didn't like it one little bit.

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As I bade the last of them a fond farewell, and watched them heading down the road-- thence through the enormous patchwork of wetlands that lie between Daytona Beach and Deland-- I figured that this was the end of it. But then, early this afternoon, one of them called me to invite me to ride up to St. Augustine for a little more of the same sort of fun. I almost declined, but the weather has been so perfect for night riding that it just seemed as though it would have been a shame not to go... and so I hooked up with the same group of louts as last night. And so off we went-- ridiing north on US A1A, the coastal highway... to venerable old St. Auggie, oldest city in the USA...

Once again, we had an amazingly good time. We ended up in an oceanside bar packed with tourists, on a live mike evening. The bands were GREAT! But at the end of the evening, I decided to linger as my friends departed en masse. As I have always been something of a lone wolf, they weren't surprised or offended that I wanted to sit around and suck down a couple more beers, and to tarry by the ocean for a while before riding back down the coast alone... and so it was hugs all around, and then they were gone.

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And so I nursed a beer, lost in thought, and barely noticed when somebody sat next to me. I wasn't in their bar space, and saw no invasion of my own, and so I didn't even glance over to see who it was. But whoever the lump of a person in my peripheral vision was, she didn't wish to be ignored. Suddenly, I felt somebody tugging the sleeve of my shirt insistently, and looked over to see... FLO?

For those who don't have access to US television (or are too wise to watch it, even if they do have access), there is a female spokesperson for the Progressive Insurance Company who is, for the purposes of their advertisements, called by the name of Flo. And for those of you who are not familiar with the perky, impish, upbeat annoyance that is Flo, here's a picture of what she looks like:

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And as it happened, this chick was a dead ringer for Flo and I did a double-take upon seeing her in that first moment. However, unlike the real Flo, this one didn't have an upbeat personality at all. In fact, she was pissed off at me, a thing I quickly realized as she snapped, "Well, HELLO!"

"Um. Hi. How are you?" came my confused, slightly enfeebled reply. I couldn't figure out why, but this woman was clearly upset with me. But I hadn't been ignoring her so much as woolgathering. Guess she figured she rated more attention, though.

Her hand stabbed out towards my abdomen, in what looked at first like a martial arts spear-hand type of blow. I looked down at the hand, which had stopped just short of my liver, and saw that she meant to shake hands. She seized my hand when I offered it, and shook it rather roughly-- then dropped my hand abruptly, as if with disdain. I shrugged: I hadn't been looking for female company anyway.

She snapped out some comment, and I was able to turn it into a sort of neutral double entendre. I wasn't interested in being a wise ass, or hurting her feelings... but also didn't feel like talking with her to begin with, and even less once that she meant to act all bitchy towards me. But though my little joke was not directed at her or anybody else, and despite the gentle smile I regarded her with as I spoke, she decided to take offense. Angrily demanding that I explain my last remark to her, and fuming for no particular reason at all, she shrilly demanded to know what my last remark meant...

I shrugged again and said, "Lookit here, Flo: not to be rude or anything, but you're making a terrible mistake by even talking to me."

She didn't expect to hear something like that, because she seemed taken aback. Then, rallying, she wanted to know what this latest, apparently mysterious comment of mine meant. And so I told her flat out:

"Listen, girl: you have known me for less than sixty seconds, and you're already really mad at me. Somehow, I don't see any future for you in this, if you know what I mean..."

Flo seemed shocked: she reared back and for an instant I thought she was going to spring forward and try to sink her bicuspids into my neck. However, at the very last second yet another female came out of nowhere to wedge herself between me and the angry Flo. Startled by this latest development, I looked to see who the interloper was and found that it was... KOOTIE?

Yes, it was Kootie-- whose real name is Katie, but who hasn't heard one of us call her that since the dawn of time. And as it happened, Kootie had been across the U-shaped bar and was watching as Flo settled next to me to begin a bit of hellraising. Why she selected me is anybody's guess, but Kootie saw it all and figured she'd save me from the hissing, venom-spitting Flo.

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Next thing I knew, Kootie had her arms around me and was more or less smothering me with in bear-like embrace. Meanwhile, Flo flew the coop and ended up on the other side of the bar, still looking daggers at me. Some girls, I will never understand...

And so it was that my peaceful reverie had been interrupted, and I suddenly decided to get the hell out of there and away from both Flo and Kootie. I headed out into the parking lot, jumped on the scooter, and fired her up. Moments later, I was heading south on A1A, very happy to be going home...

What a wonderful ride it was! 83 degrees, with the humidity low for this time of the year (in the 70% range), and a crescent moon glowing a dull orange in a sky as dark as India ink. I could see the waves lapping at the beach, and pulled over a few times to enjoy a smoke as I watched the blinking lights of shrimpers out there, a couple miles from the coast. I finally made Daytona again, then headed southwest to Deland and rode through the Crane Swamp on US92... which was almost abandoned save for myself and a couple of other vehicles heading west.

It was all so very good. These last two days somehow rejuvenated me. I guess I needed to go back for another look at my old haunts, and to realize that really, we had all moved on and left the place for this newer group of varmints to learn their lessons in. Life goes on, and in spirit, I finally abandoned my old playground for the next group of varmints... high time, too.

Tomorrow, it's back to work for yours truly, and so my weekend workathon begins once again. But that's no big deal: I've been at it for well over a decade anyway, and if all goes well there should be no genuinely evil surprises for me to deal with...

But oh, that Flo! :laugh2:

--R :thumb:
 

PapaSquash

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You can't go home again, but sometimes you need to pull up out front and look at the lights in the windows and remind yourself that somebody else lives there now.

It's good that you wish them well.
 

No. 44

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Cool to hear that you had a great couple of days. :thumb:

I just hope you gave Spooky enough food and water before you went out tom-cating!
 

BigAl

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And there I was, being a fan of Flo's on Facebook...


Great story Robert!
 

Rich

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That was great, Robert! You certainly have a real knack for telling a story and painting a vibrant picture of it. If that's what you write just to tell us message board denizens about an adventure you had, I'll bet you could really spin up something amazing in a longer format. :)
 

Roberteaux

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Jesus. That was better'n Travels With Charlie!

Thanks buddy! But for the record: looking at this thing on the Morning After, I now see all kinds of grammatical errors, annoying repetitions, and a few things that I might have said, but forgot to mention. Think I might have had a bit more of a buzz going than I was actually aware of!

Hemmingway once said that his personal formula was to "write drunk, but edit sober". I now see how it was that this could work out for him-- but Lord! There's no way I could handle that sort of pace!

You can't go home again, but sometimes you need to pull up out front and look at the lights in the windows and remind yourself that somebody else lives there now.

It's good that you wish them well.

Ain't that the truth? You know, I have been a Main Street refugee for more than half a decade now, and yet in my mind, never actually left the place at all. So it was good to go back, to see that it's still there, pulsating, and gnarly as ever. But now, at long last, I can really let it go.

My Wild West era is over, yeah. But to leave it behind no longer rankles. Time to start on a fresh page, I think... and yes: I really do wish the New Breed nothing but the highest of times, a crazy set of experiences all their own to marvel (and shudder) at in retrospect, and I hope they'll be more careful than we were (but truly doubt they will).

Do you have a regular blog?

Hey buddy! No, no blog here... but thank you for asking! Instead, I leave my droppings on MLP almost exclusively, although once in a while I might show up with some remark on nola.com. Not too often, though. That place is Troll Central.

Nice to see you posting lately, too. I've been wondering what became of you!

--R :)
 

Tim Fezziwig

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Wow You are the HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION. Pack up and defend thre belt in Detroit on Wed!
 

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