Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Florida will not destroy me

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.


Splotchy said...

Glad to hear you're alive and well.

Just be careful. I feel you may be in the midst of a David Lynch movie.

For God's sakes don't wear a yellow sports coat. Bad things happen to people in yellow sport coats.

Bubs said...

Your point is well-taken Splotchy. I'm wearing a conservative olive suit. It's about as summery as I can get. Ideally you'd like to wear rumpled seersucker for a job like this.

Coaster Punchman said...

Intrigued by this food "sheephead" with which I was unfamiliar, I googled "fried sheephead." And guess which website came up first???

Mob said...

Seems like quite a strange film you've been living in for the past few days, but the soundtrack sounds awesome.

Be careful out there, sir.

lulu said...

It's never too late to take up fedora wearing.

Johnny Yen said...

I'm picturing that whole scene in black and white, with Lawrence Tierney in the background. Very cool. I'm with Lu on the fedora.

Bubs said...

Johnny, Lawrence Tierney would be great right now. Have you seen "Tough Guys Don't Dance"? It has one of my favorite movie lines, spoken by Tierney:


Lulu, that's encouraging. Thanks.

Mob, it's just gotten stranger. My main suspect is named "Otis"

CP, holy shit! I just saw that! Try just typing "sheephead fish" and you'll find a nice wikipedia entry. It was really firm and sweet. Very good.

jin said...



That name always reminds me of Henry Lucas' sidekick.
There was a waitress murdered one block from my house when I was a kid. The house was burned to the ground. I think they attributed it to Henry as he was seen eating at a diner on Washington Street that night where she worked. But some say it was Otis.
To this day no one ever rebuilt anything on that lot. Theres a biz to the left & a house to the right.

Gotta LOVE Wisconsin!

Dino aka Katy said...

I thought your working - sounds like you are having to much fun there - try to stay out of trouble

Splotchy said...

Boy, am I glad you didn't literally eat a sheep's head.

I know, everything tastes better fried, but still...

justacoolcat said...

Beware the road rage.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

While reading this, I was praying that sheephead was a type of fish. And it worked! Next I'm going to pray for a yacht.

Grant Miller said...

I thought you were Robert Mitchum all this time.

Echo said...

I feel like I just stumbled into an Elmore Leonard work...

Bubs said...

echo, it was more like something between Carl Hiassen and The Office.

Grant, I'm no Bob Mitchum, sadly, but I may be a Son of Lee Marvin.

Barbara, I had never heard of it either, so I ate it.

Coolcat, no kidding. I just heard Miami leads the nation in road rage, but I saw plenty of asshole driving in Jacksonville. The limit was 65, I was doing 75-80 and routinely got passed like nothing.

Splotchy, I hit the fried food pretty hard on this trip. I need to eat some fruit and vegetables now.

Katy, my work IS fun. What can I say?

Jin, hurray for Otis Toole! Every creepy serial offender needs a hillbilly helper.