Outside my window, the lawn is green, the sky is blue with a few puffy clouds, and the new little condos look charming in their yellow and white color scheme. But the pleasant tableau is deceptive. This is Florida in the summer. I open the door, a bounce in my step, and I meet a wall of heat and humidity. Suddenly, I am drenched in sweat, the victim of a lassitude beyond my control.
The sidewalks are strangely empty. From the air-conditioned house to the air-conditioned car to the air-conditioned store, no one strolls the sidewalk or rides a bicycle in this heat. Except for us, because we are here with no car. We walked a couple of miles in the heat of the day, then shocked ourselves by sitting in a freezing cold movie theater for three hours. When we got home that evening, we drank about a quart of water each, then collapsed and slept 12 hours without dinner.
Still, it’s a wonderful place to rest and recuperate after seven months of trying to be something other than ourselves. Even with the air conditioning turned up above 80 degrees, it is still cool and comfortable, and there are books, CDs, and movies to enjoy. The kitchen is full to bursting with conveniences like a blender (for fruit smoothies), a toaster, and an ice-maker that delivers crushed or cubed ice. We have access to the phone and the Internet at all hours. The cat flops contentedly on the tile floor or the foot of our bed.
We spent over a year preparing for our time on Cayenne, mentally and physically. Once we traveled to the boat, we spent five months working in the boatyard and then two months sailing her from New Orleans to Baltimore. That’s nineteen months, and we thought we would be on board for a comparable amount of time. Now that we’re not, we find ourselves unprepared for a life with no boat, no car, no home, no furniture, no jobs.
We have a few weeks, here in this peaceful house-sitting situation, to come up with “Plan B.” Our natural sense of humor and whimsy is returning, and our world is becoming one of smiles and laughter again. I never thought I would live so long without them.