One thing about southeast Florida, it’s never boring! Predictable only in its unpredictability, I’d say “I’ve seen it all” but when one’s encounters include a lingerie wearing male regularly jogging in place on the same corner, a pick-up truck carrying a male & female skeleton on a Harley in the back (not at Halloween, mind you – this is Florida!), a jogger running daily holding a cocktail tray (including drinks) with attached colorful streamers flapping in his wake, and a sunrise beach stroll that provided a good morning “Santeria Surprise” in the form of three dead chickens carefully lined up in front of the tide, well, it’s why it’s the first place I’ve ever lived that I didn’t want to leave. You see, the reason I always moved from other places was because I got bored. ‘Nuf said. 23 years now as a Floridian tucked into the waistband of my shorts and counting.
There’s a reason why there’s a show on the I.D. (Investigative Discovery) Channel called “Truth is Weirder Than Florida”. Were someone to ask me to draw a picture of S.E. Florida I’d use a busted up, brightly colored, paper peeled, crayon. If Florida were a writing utensil….THAT. Palm trees, playful geckos, wild parrots, and ocean breeze thrown in for free.
The most memorable and cooperatively timed example of the beloved & borderline alternate universe that I call home was shared with a long term, dear friend and her husband visiting from out of town. Though neither are “bar people” they are creatively dedicated photographers and videographers always on the lookout for new & interesting subject matter. With this in mind, I told them to trust the process as we piled into my car for the short drive to the longest operating and most notorious bar on the Fort Lauderdale beachfront, the Elbo Room. Always rowdy, loud, and abuzz with mischievous, positive energy, that day was no exception. As we headed into the fray on a sunshine laden day I assured them that:
1. We wouldn’t have to stay long.
2. They wouldn’t be sorry they came.
3. They would have photo/video worthy material.
I, and the Elbo Room, did not disappoint.
Keeping in mind that the Elbo Room is never a bore, that day proved to be extra cooperative regarding my assurances. Minutes into our lucky claim on an outdoor table by the stairs, a group of what is best described and understood as “Bros” initiated their own, self-appointed, judging panel directed towards randomly selected pedestrians as they walked, strutted, stumbled, or drove by, much to the delight of the tipsy and ample patrons sharing the establishment. How “The Bros” got their large “scorecards” will forever remain a mystery though there is a drugstore a few blocks down where poster board, scissors, and markers can be easily acquired by one who is so inclined. Fortunately for all involved, it was playful fun as they were not cruel or unkind, average scorecards held up in unison running 6’s, 7’s, & 8’s. An occasional 9 and a singular, unanimous, 10 were met by the bar with vocal enthusiasm.
As our unsuspecting out of towners looked at us with wide eyed amusement, surprised laughter, and confirmation of my promised delivery we were all to find this was just the appetizer. The main course, the “Piece de resistance”, was to be revealed shortly. Having brought them to this spot for their cameras to capture the “Picture worth a thousand words”, even their cameras were struck speechless as we all watched “real life” that spoke not a thousand but a million words, all silently yelled in delightfully demented triumph. Keep in mind that this is now maybe 20 minutes, tops, into our arrival.
Yup. It’s the middle of the afternoon.
Yup. It’s the most major intersection on the beach.
Yup. That’s a stunning, statuesque girl on the corner in front of the Elbo Room and, really, who *doesn’t* wear high heels with their bikini at the beach?
The sliver of sarong wrapped around the waist of the long haired, doe like, sexpot was somewhat mystifying considering her additional (and minor) wardrobe selections. Whether it served as a carefully selected accessory or a whisper of modesty one thing was certain:
It’s not everywhere that you randomly encounter a tall, high heeled, bikini & sarong wearin’, genetically blessed female on the beach. Well, okay, in S.E. Florida you do but not one walking a baby goat on a leash.
Did I say “Yup”? That happened.