The Waffle House around the corner from my hotel is full of rock slingers and rednecks, and their grits were lumpy. The wildfires have created a "smoke layer" that the pilot has to warn you about as you approach Jacksonville, so that you don't panic if you smell smoke in the cabin as the plane descends. I discovered that, when you see a sign at the beach that warns you not to swim because of "dangerous rip tides" and the wind is 30 mph, it's a good idea not to swim.
None of this matters; Florida will not destroy me.
I've been on the ground since 7:30 EST Sunday night. The wildfires have apparently driven the alligators deeper into their swamp dens--I didn't have to drive over a single one in the hotel parking lot, or on my way to meet the client. I almost feel cheated. Normally the gators are scampering around down here like squirrels in Grant Park.
I just finished the second night of surveillance and I'm sneaking in a quick post while I finish my beer. Then it's nap time, and then back to interview some people for the rest of the work day. I think I've successfully killed off whatever circadian rhythm I had left.
On a positive note, I had a great shack dining experience at Singletons: a great meal of raw oysters and fried sheephead, washed down with a cheap longneck beer. Singleton's is right next to the 1A ferry landing, next to the Navy base. The pelicans kept me company. Pelicans are regal birds; regal and ridiculous at the same time, which is cool. I got to see the absolute frenzy that hundreds of gulls and pelicans flew into when some shrimping boats came in. Amazing.
Another positive: I found out that, after 1am, I got really good reception for WSM Nashville. I gotta tell you, it's pretty cool to be up all night in a creepy industrial area, sitting alone in your car waiting for something to happen, with old-time hillbilly music as your soundtrack. When the train whistle sounded down the road it created a perfect moment. Made me wish I smoked cigarettes and wore a fedora so I could've felt more like Robert Mitchum.
I better get some sleep.