One Night in the Life

 

Allow me to share with you a little slice of life from the tourist Mecca that is Orlando.

It starts when we go downtown on a Wednesday night to meet up with some friends. The Doobie Brothers were playing at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Located in the heart of downtown. While not as big as the arena, it gives a more intimate venue for a new star rising, or old stars still rocking.

It seems forever since I’ve been down here. The atmosphere hasn’t changed much. We drive past the bar that’s ‘the place to be’ although I couldn’t tell you the name. The evidence is clear it’s the latest hotspot by the line that wraps around the building. On a Wednesday night. Also, there’s no one over 30 in the line. Dead giveaway of the place to be.

Since the four of us are all over thirty (ahem), we opt for a little less crowd and pull up stools at the more established watering hole for a pre-concert adult beverage.

After ordering the first round, my friend Chris asked why I brought my purse. Security will need to go through it, which means a longer line. Good point. I decide to take it back to the car, and tell my husband and friends that it’s just a block away, and I’d be right back. Out into the cool night air, the city is bustling for a Wednesday night.

Orlando is my home town. The people are as diverse a population as you could imagine. An older Asian couple passes me, arm in arm and chatting quietly in a language I don’t understand. The woman, wearing a tailored fur lined jacket looks up at me and smiles, which I return. The man nods a greeting as they pass.

A few paces behind them walks a rather large black man. He stands at least 6’3 and wears neon orange sneakers, black pants and a black tee shirt emblazoned in neon orange lettering urging those who read it to “Boycott Beyoncé.” Part of me wanted to ask why we should boycott her, but he didn’t make eye contact, and the ear buds he wore spoke of not wanting to be bothered. So, I walked on.

The purse task complete, I head back to my group. On the way, I notice what looks like an empty bar. The glass walls offer a peek into a western-themed saloon, and the name of the place is “Stagger Inn”. There’s a cowboy hat icon above the cattle-brand-font of the name. Cute.

I decide that it must shut down mid-week due to a lack of patrons. When I reach the front door, I find I am wrong for why it was closed.

Taped on the heavy oak-framed glass door are sheets of paper with handwritten notification of being closed for the evening due to “(name removed for privacy)’s Gender Reassignment Surgery.” The writer goes on to thank all of the patrons for their support during this person’s time of transition. They should reopen in the next day or two.

Two white millennial’s walk by, their gender near-unidentifiable. Wearing scarves, Levi skinny jeans, and Nikes, their young faces lit by the soft glow of their smartphones. They furiously work their thumbs across the screens as they walk.

The door to my destination is now blocked by three young men of various ethnicity. They’re vaping while one shares a story about what happened at work that day. They step aside as I approach, with appropriate mumbles of apology for being in the way, and one holds the door open for me.

I love my home town.

After the oldies concert, the four of us head outside. The full moon is gorgeous, and as we pass a wide expanse of grass I decide to take a picture.

Except I left my phone back on the seat.

The staff directed me to the information desk, where some wonderful soul (God bless you!) turned in an iPhone. The man behind the counter, wanting to be certain it was mine, asked me what the screen shot on the phone was.

I couldn’t recall. “Sunrise, I think?” Then remembering what I’d done the last time I lost my phone (yes, I’ve lost my phone before in Downtown Orlando), I said, “More importantly, I know the code to unlock it.”

He quirked a smile and handed it to me. My heart soared at the sight of my phone.

I entered the four digit code and flashed the now open screen to him. His smile was so warm.

I left the building floating on an emotional high. My husband and I tried to take a selfie with the full moon in the background. It wasn’t going well.

“Hey!” shouted one of the four Hispanic women walking past. “Selfies suck! Let me take it for you.”

She took the phone and stepped back a few paces. Aiming it at us, she seems seriously intent on the screen. Then she looks at us and shouts, “Love the camera!” Then she crouches, twirls and twists, dancing around while aiming the camera at us.

Her friend, laughing, said, “All right, Cecil B. DeMille, just take the picture!”

Of course, we obliged the photographer’s call to love the camera and so began posing like sexy fashionistas on the runway. I’m sure you could hear the laughter of the gathered crowd six blocks away.

What a fabulous life this is. I am so grateful to live in a place that is so diverse, so vibrant.

So Orlando.

How to Cope with the Loss of your Candidate in 3 Easy Steps

How to Cope with the Loss of (Hillary/Donald/Gary/Jill/Evan) in 3 Easy Steps

 

Your heart raced when you first became interested in your candidate. We know it did. Maybe you did a little research to find out more before throwing your full support into that campaign. Everything the candidate said made perfect sense. Well, almost everything. Still. The best candidate for the President of the USA is your candidate. How could anyone NOT vote for (Hillary/Donald/Gary/Jill/Evan)?

On Wednesday the 9th you are hurt, confounded, distraught, and maybe even a little enraged.

We understand. But, what now?

You’ve come to the right blog. Here at “Life. One Short Story at a Time.” we’ve seen a few elections. As registered Independents, we’ve chosen our candidates carefully, and then poured donations of money, time, sweat, and tears into one campaign or another.

Oh well. Sometimes, it just wasn’t meant to be. Anyway, we are familiar with the sorrow of the loss, and want to help.

The first thing you’ll need to do is grab your wine, beer, liquor, or whatever you’d prefer. And don’t forget your shot glass. Also, you might need a pillow.

Without further ado, “How to cope with the loss of (Hillary/Donald/Gary/Jill/Evan) in 3 steps”

1)   It’s okay to be angry.

Life isn’t fair. From the moment we came into this world, this one lesson has been beaten over our heads. But when we’ve put this much of our heart into something so much bigger than ourselves, it just has to work. Sanity must win! But… it didn’t this time. At least, not for you and (Hillary/Donald/Gary/Jill/Evan).

When the urge to scream (or cry) comes on, go with it. Grab your pillow, bury your face in it, and scream your lungs out. Shout, curse, rant, rave. I only recommend the pillow should there be anyone else within ear shot. Trust me. It’s embarrassing. Then, when your throat is raw from the power you’ve unleashed, take a shot. This should soothe your sore throat, and your troubled soul. For a little while, anyway.

2)   Accept that the world is still turning.

No matter what you might have heard, the world did not, in fact, come to an end on November 8. Perhaps when the new President is sworn in on Friday, January 20, 2017, it might. But not now. So, every time you hear your candidates name from Election Day to Inauguration Day, take a shot. You might want to turn off the news for a while.

3)   Commiserate Together

Once you’ve accepted that the world is still turning, and your throat no longer hurts (too bad), go find those friends and family that were like-minded in their dedication to (Hillary/Donald/Gary/Jill/Evan). They must be as devastated as you in this time of merciless mourning. Call each other. Get together. Make it a party.

Each time someone says, “I can’t believe we didn’t win,” you all take a shot.

 

I hope this helped. If not, I’ll take the shot.

 

 

JL Mo is a mother of two, and Nana to four. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Author Page.

Thanks for reading.

Trust the Lies

 

On November 4, 2016, Google ran a Doodle for Walter Cronkite’s 100th birthday. If you’re unfamiliar with this newsman’s career, allow me to sum it up.

“He was the most trusted man in America.”

My mother loved him. My father respected him. Dubbed “Uncle Walt” by his fans, he was a solid public figure that all eyes turned to when the truth was needed. From 1950 to 1981, he reported on politics, war, and peace through CBS. On the assassination of America’s thirty-fifth president, JFK, all of the network cameras were on him, live, when he removed his glasses to wipe the tears from his face. He mourned with us.

The truth hurts. But he reported it. And he never gave us any reason to doubt his word.

That was then.

Today, I read an article on BBC news titled, The Rise and Rise of Fake News. I got a little nauseated thinking of how the late Walter Cronkite would react to “The National News.”

As everyone knows, corporate news affiliates broadcast twenty-four hours a day. It’s not easy competition, and all of them scramble desperately for your views. None are above trolling social media sites for a high level of shared news articles. Not all of those articles chosen for broadcast are accurate, and painfully few do any research to discern the truth.

Do you read all of the articles you share? In their entirety? Or do you read a catchy headline and just share that? If so, you may have been caught by click-bait.

There is no subject immune to the click-bait scam. I believe the most popular today must be political. I’ve read some of the most ridiculous, outlandish, nearly comical articles (yes, I read them to the end) on Hillary and The Donald. If any of these hold truth, then Hillary is one of the most murderous, vindictive Machiavellian’s in history. And Donald plans to put all women in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant (by him, naturally). Well, the pretty ones, at least.

Facebook, of all sites, is doing their censorship thing, trying to circumvent these sites before they reach you. But then the makers of these sites call foul, and entice you into believing Facebook is trying to hide some huge truth from you.

When you read, “Share this before Facebook takes it down!” warning bells should be going off in your head.

My point is, we have no *one* person we can trust, except ourselves. You and I must be diligent in finding the truth behind the curtain. Or in this case, the digital format. The truth is available. We must use our intellect, discernment, and computer acumen to discover it. When we find that Hillary never actually killed anyone, and Donald doesn’t even know where the kitchen is, we will be the wiser, and not feed any more stupidity out into the ‘verse. We can be the torchbearers for the late, great Uncle Walt, and not trust the lies.

Uncle Walt is dead. Long live Uncle Walt.

 

 

 

 

When you’re done here, please read The Rise and Rise of Fake News (in it’s entirety). It is fascinating.