Living in Florida, one is never too far away from the water. Ocean, gulf, lakes, anything you could want. For saltwater aficionado’s, it is a fabulous place to live.
Please note that I say this during a breezy, cool, fall day, and that this would be after the skin-blistering, drought-threatened, and then hurricane-ravaged summer.
Today, while babysitting my three-year-old grandson Malcolm, he asked if I would take him to the beach. Here in Orlando, it’s an hour and a half drive east (2 hours west), and you’ll be standing on beachfront.
I packed all of the essentials for a day at the beach. Swimsuits, towels, sunblock, cooler. Everything one might need, including beach chairs, and an umbrella to sit under.
Yes, I’d forgotten it was fall. Florida fall weather can be fickle.
Malcolm happily chatted away in the back seat as I drove toward sunrise. We were about twenty minutes from the coastline, when I spotted a rainbow in a cloud, shimmering high above. As we came to a stop light, I reached for my phone to take a picture.
Turns out, I would have a long way to reach. It was still laying on an end table back in Orlando.
Moment of truth; I seriously considered turning back. I mean, after the Trip of A Lifetime, I did not want to be away from my phone.
Dismissing the immediate thought, I drove on toward the beach.
It is (almost) embarrassing to tell you that I have 3500 various pictures and videos stored on my phone. I simply haven’t had time to transfer them from the phone to an external hard drive. For the last three years.
Don’t judge me.
So today, no camera. I mean, no phone. Honestly, the phone thing didn’t bother me as much as the lack of a camera. I grew up without a phone in my pocket, thank you very much. I can cope. But the camera. Damn. I’m not even gonna miss Google as much as the camera.
It’s all right. I can do this.
We reach the beach, and Malcolm runs ahead to check out the scene. I come trailing up behind, to find him speaking to a young man and woman. She is cradling something that is resting on a bed of seaweed in her hand. I come closer to see she is holding a baby sea turtle.
Of course, the first thing I think is, damn tourist! You can be arrested for touching such a vulnerable creature. But before my righteous indignation is unleashed, she explains to Malcolm that the sea is so rough, the little guy kept getting washed back up on shore. They said they were taking it to the Brevard County Sea Turtle Rescue, where it would be cared for.
Never heard of such an organization, and I didn’t want to challenge them.
However, Malcolm was mesmerized. He leaned in a little closer, until it was no more than 10 inches from his face. I put my hand on his shoulder to stop any more forward lean-in. He glanced up at me, the wonder still on his face, with the little turtle on its bed of seaweed in the background.
That would have made a great pic.
But, I might have gotten the lady in a whole lotta trouble.
Down at the beach, the wind had turned the waves chaotic. The sand became stinging nettles, as the sea foam washed on the shore. I was concerned the weather might put a damper on his spirits. To my surprise, we had so much fun scooping up sea foam, throwing our arms high in the air so the wind could blow the froth like bubbles from our fingertips.
It would have made a great video.
But, I would’ve been too busy with the phone to enjoy the foam.
The beach did not lend itself to a long-term stay, so we did what any other All-American Nana and Grandson would do in such a situation.
We went shopping.
A lot of people bad-mouth my favorite low-cost department store, and sometimes for very good reasons. However, it is still ‘low-cost’ enough for me to pop in when the time is right. And now was just right. We got out of the wind, enjoyed the air-conditioning, and I let him pick out a toy. It killed an hour or so, and then it was lunch-time.
We head for the diner/ice-cream shop across the parking lot. It used to be a popular chain, but now is only found in a handful of places. Friendly’s is a restaurant that I used to take my own boys to when they were young and had earned a special treat.
I was more than a little bummed that I didn’t have my phone to do a check in, because sharing this moment with my now-adult sons would’ve given me such a delight.
But then I might have been too distracted trying to share the moment rather than play connect the dots with Malcolm, or to color in the milk shake as he colored the sundae on the gigantic paper place mat. Seriously, the thing nearly covered the entire table.
The true reality of not having a phone hit me on the drive home. Well, not literally thank God.
Once upon a time there were roadside call boxes for emergencies. I knew they were there, but I took them for granted. Now, if anything should happen, I would have to depend on the kindness of strangers for some help on the side of the road.
Oh. Right. That’s how it used to be.
Maybe being disconnected isn’t all that bad.