Hello again, Dear Reader. Well, it is now 2:21 PM Eastern as I start writing this, and as I remarked earlier, it’s quite a summer-like day even though it’s Sunday, October 11, 2020. That’s one of the weather realities that we Floridians have to accept when we choose to live here, no matter if we hang our shingles in Miami, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Key West, Orlando, the Tampa Bay area, or even Sebring (my least favorite place to be in!).
Currently, the temperature is 88˚F (31˚C) under light rain conditions. In my section of New Hometown, the rain isn’t quite close to the reporting station, but there are rain clouds overhead (more on that in a bit), so if it is raining here now, it soon will be. The heat index – rain or no rain – is 100˚F (38˚C), thanks to a gentle breeze of 11 MPH (18 KM/H) blowing from the west-southwest and 69% humidity.
I know that it feels quite summery because, after much inner debate, I told my caregiver and her new beau (ugh) that I was going to go for a walk and to please not lock the front door. (I have the key; it’s on a Star Wars: The Concert Series keyring that The Caregiver gave me two years ago when we went to see Star Wars: A New Hope with the Florida Philharmonic playing 99% of John Williams’ score live as the film played on a movie screen at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. But I have a hard time with the front door lock, and since I hardly ever venture out, I am out of practice as far as using the key.)
I left the house a little after 1 PM and walked for, oh, 30 or so minutes in the hot early afternoon. I had a cap on – another souvenir from the Star Wars in Concert experience – and was dressed appropriately for the climate, plus it was cloudy, so the sun wasn’t much of a factor while I was off on my constitutional. That having been said, I came home winded despite having made a rest stop at a park bench nearby because I am unfamiliar with my neighborhood, despite the fact that I have been living here for over four years.
My new neighborhood is not that old; a developer bought up a huge tract of wilderness in the county where I reside and named it after Pandion haliaetus, a bird of prey that hunts mostly fish. Most of the houses here, therefore, are less than 10 years old. The development is massively huge; it’s so big that my former haunts in East Wind Lake Village could be placed right in the middle and it would still be surrounded by the section of the development where our house sits.
I have, of course, gone out of the neighborhood to run errands, but always in a car and always with the Caregiver or, on occasion, one of her three young adult kids. Because everything is so far away from the house – the nearest Winn-Dixie is 2.1 miles away, for instance – I have not gone on any errands by myself since I left Miami. And since I have not been diligent about going out for walks on my own, I am still “getting to know the neighborhood,” even though I have been here long enough to know at least where the Clubhouse, the pool, and other residents-only facilities are.
The upshot of this is that I got lost on the way home. Instead of retracing my steps from the park bench – the place where I snapped a few photos with my phone as “proof of walk” – I decided to boldly go where I haven’t gone before and took what I thought would be an alternate route back to the house.
As I said, I was lucky that It was cloudy, and the sun was not out in its full, blazing glory. Otherwise, the 100˚F (38˚C) heat index might have been higher. But it was still hot, and between the heat, humidity, and my unfamiliarity with the development, I got a bit disoriented – and ended up walking farther away from “my” block than I needed to.
Now, I didn’t panic. I just kept walking until I saw familiar landmarks, then made my way to the house. The Caregiver and her new beau were out on the front porch, decorating the house for Halloween. They invited me to go to the pool with them, but (a) I don’t go swimming on a rainy day, and (b) I was too tired and hot to go change into a bathing suit.
Anyway, as you can see, I made it back alive and in one piece. Tired, yes, but at least I got some fresh air and sunshine.