They say you can never go Home...

Soldiers of Sparta were allowed to return home after lost battles, only if carried dead upon their shields. I'm convinced this is a more practical and time-saving way to go about it.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Liberté, égalité, jus d'orange.

I wrote an extensively lengthy blurb from my recent stay in Boca Raton. Unfortunately it requires serious editing to be even remotely cogent.

However, for my Saturday morning return trip to Tampa, I selected a toll road over the one I usually take. I risked it chiefly on the great hope that I could avoid Hell, in the corporeal manifestation of Interstate-4, which protrudes rudely from the otherwise sprawling backside of Orlando.

This toll road took me through some everglades-like landscapes (I’m still not sure what actually constitutes everglades), and some seriously unpopulated areas. And by unpopulated, I mean no gas stations (or cross streets for that matter) for like, 40 or 50 miles. I motored along quite contentedly, the Volvo emitting its singular, contented whooshing sound as it hums over paved roads at eighty miles an hour. The sky was a nearly cloudless deep blue, and the few lakes I encountered on the way reacted to the sky’s reflection with its own form of dreamy blue effulgence.

I ended up passing through orange groves, whose nearby signs indicated they were owned by Minute Maid. At times, the highway crept upwards in certain places; just long enough to give one a view of the expansive orange trees blanketing the area on both sides, as far as the eye could resolve. Seeing oranges actually growing here in the state reminded me of two things in particular: one, that Florida is still a vastly huge state that hasn't completely killed itself (yet) with tourism and soulless sprawl communities. And secondly, it reminded me of this summer's many hurricanes.

When the hurricanes unfurled their fury upon the Sunshine State, the Floridians who were not so badly affected often reached out for ways to help those rendered less fortunate by the weather. It was a fleeting, yet substantial sense of welfare for the FL community. The media also helped the spirit along, by exhorting the listening public to help resuscitate Florida’s economy: by drinking more Orange Juice.

I suppose it could have been a ploy, but it worked for me. Drinking OJ--after all, how hard is that? That orange juice is a cornerstone of Florida's economy certainly sounded like plausible presupposition at the time, too. And regardless, it’s not exactly a chore to regularly push the stuff past the tongue anyway. So the bit about re-animating Florida’s economy, plus doing my duty as a Floridian and citizen to make Florida right as rain again—well, one gets the idea. I started swilling away.

After seeing the orange trees, and remembering the whole Drinking of Orange Juice to Help Repair Florida’s Economy, I began to idly engage in making large-scale parallels to the current political climate. I am reminded somewhat of older political posters, often in magnet form on refrigerators, commonly situated next to equally strategically vintage-looking Guinness Beer adverts. The ones I’m thinking of are those where women have rolled up their sleeves under a banner of “We can DO IT!” while silhouettes of war planes fly above their red do-rags. Those ads represent a bygone era where America could still unite in solidarity in times of war or aggression. “Scrimp and pinch, sacrifice, trade in your toaster, find your scrap metal, for the Boys overseas!” That sort of thing.

It made me oddly nostalgic (which, due to my age, I don’t think I'm necessarily entitled to feel) for such a time when America collectively rustled up their own proverbial sleeves, and joined together in resourcefulness and courage, to help fight a war from the home front. (Am I wrong about this?)

"Drink OJ! Bring our men and women home from the Middle East!" Wouldn’t that be nice? We could all have a small task to make us believe that we have influence with something, without getting all freaking partisan and crap. I think we in the masses need something like this--one well within the range of our capabilities, such as consuming.

Either way, I'm still drinking my orange juice.