You know that kind of traffic where you can tell everyone around you is seconds away from changing into the rage lane without their blinker on? I was driving home on one of the busiest roads in the Tampa Bay area at 5:05pm and by 5:06, I was merging into raaaggeee. The concrete jungle was so concretey. I’d wait at a red light, only to see it turn green, yellow, red again before I could get up to it. The heat made my Idaho AC have to work so hard that I could barely feel the coolness and I thought, oh my gosh this place sucks.
By 5:25, I was driving over the causeway surrounded by water. Dolphins were frolicking like they were so happy to live here. Pelicans soared by and reminded me of how my grandma would sit and soak in the beauty of this place for hours on end. This city doesn’t suck; the sand on the countless beaches feels like sugar and Derek Jeter calls this place home sweet home. We really mustn’t judge a city based on their rush hour in the heat of summer. It’s just not fair. If a city deserves such grace, I reckon people do, too. First impressions are hard to overcome but they could be having a rush hour moment, Lord knows we all have those sometimes more than once a day.
Now I’m at Barnes and Noble sitting at the same table in the corner that Mindy and I loved in high school. There’s only one electrical socket in the café which is surprising for 2020 but today I’m the lucky one to get it. I can’t help but think about 16-year-old Beth when I’m here. She’s wearing overalls and some ridiculous Veggietales visor. Someone should’ve told her that this wasn’t cute. You know what, I’m glad they didn’t because she absolutely loved overalls and Veggietales. She wouldn’t believe the way her life turned out but I don’t think she’d be disappointed. I do think she’d be like, wha?? 35 and single? Back in Florida? Aren’t you hot? Weren’t you supposed to have three kids? You’re waiting tables and not writing or teaching?
Yeah, youngin’, hush. I’m doing just fine. Don’t you judge me on this one moment, I’ve made a lot of rash decisions to get here. My rush hour in the heat of summer is part of a really beautiful story.