What I Miss Most About Florida

The weather.

Not really.

Well… maybe a little

While driving around downtown tonight, playing Pokémon Go (in case you haven’t heard: they released some of the Gen 3 Pokémon, and there’s a new weather system as well. It’s all very exciting.)

Where was I?

Oh ya: while sitting at the riverfront just catching Pokémon and listening to music I realized I needed gas. Since I was right there on the river, with the bridge to my immediate left, I figured I’d go get some gas.

Now, for those of you who don’t understand, I’m in Illinois and Missouri is right across the river. Because of “that’s life” gas is cheaper in Missouri. So my dad always goes over there to fill up his car. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s not one, not two, but three gas stations not even a mile from the bridge.

So I figured since I’m right there, and I can actually see the closest gas station from where I’m parked, let’s do it.

But as I drove out of the park, and sat at the stop light I decided not to go across the river. Instead I drove to a gas station down the street. It might have been closer, but the gas across the river would have been cheaper.

It really wasn’t until I got home that it struck me. I was just thinking like I usually do – thoughts passing through my consciousness, one after another, playing out their little skit, and then dancing off stage – and one thought was this:

If I had a little bit more gas, I would have gone over to the gas station across the river. Just in case. But if I got lost, or missed my turn and had to go further down the highway, then I’d quite possibly be in trouble.

And then Florida passed through my mind. Why? Well, I’m going to tell you.

Eventually.

I thought that I was being smart. Go down the street instead of across state lines. Get gas more quickly to make sure I get home. It’s also quite cold out tonight. If I run out of gas I will get very cold very fast. Even if I find someone to come get me, it’s pretty cold. So this is the smart thing to do. Florida has nothing to do with it. Besides, in Florida I would go driving around all the time not sure of where I was going. I got lost a few times, but eventually got to where I intended to go. Or I just went exploring, so there was no where to go. I just needed to get back to where I came from. No big deal. I didn’t have people pestering me about road names, highway numbers, or parts of town. I just moved there. I wasn’t expected to know where I was going or how to get there and back. It was simpler times.

And, of course, this brings me to Florida. Because not only could I get lost without people thinking, “you’ve lived here all your life. How do you not know where THAT place is?!” But I also didn’t have to explain myself for really anything. Most of the people I knew down there really didn’t have much of their life figured out either. And even though they had jobs they were doing, some were looking into other jobs, or going back to school, or starting their life over similar to what I was doing. (They were just doing it better than me.)

In Florida I didn’t have any hangup about anything. I literally could have reinvented myself. I could have changed everything about me. I could have been better, smarter, stronger. I could have… but I didn’t. Not really.

But that’s ok. Since I’ve been back in Illinois I have changed a few things. There’s WAAAAAAY more work to be done, too. But the most important part?

To paraphrase Martha Kent, “I’ll be better, or I won’t. I don’t owe the world a thing.”

I came back to Illinois. But I think I forgot to bring “Florida Me” back as well. I miss that guy.

-Diggs out

P.S. – have you seen “Justice League?” It’s pretty good.

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