I've got a weather app. It sometimes works. It used to tell me how cold I would be. And when it might rain and when it might not. It is usually wrong about that. Now, for example, it acknowledges clouds. It makes no mention of rain. But it is raining. I am camped in a swamp. If it rains any more I am done for.
Such is life. Easy come, easy go. Better men have been swept out to sea. And eaten by gators and swallowed by fish. Found dead in their own bathtubs. What's important here is this weather report. Right or wrong it means nothing to me. But with GPS it is localised. It puts me in the City of Miami.
Or in the county at any rate, and on the far edge of that. Just off highway 997, just south of the Miccosukee Casino. A name that invites inappropriate wordplay. I will control myself. It's a proud name, no doubt, and Florida is lucky to have any Indians left.
It is thought the name comes from micos sucios, Spanish for "dirty monkeys." Because they lived in mud huts and because Juan Ponce de León was really kind of a dick. They were originally part of the Seminole. They sponsor a NASCAR team. They have a grand casino and a golf tournament. They're doing alright for themselves.
Remember Andrew Jackson? We've discussed him before. He and Juan Ponce could be twins. He kicked all the Indians out of Georgia and marched them west on the Trail of Tears. In violation of United States law, in defiance of the Supreme Court. Even back then we were a nice country on paper. Everyone had their rights.
The few Indians who stuck around got stuck with the shittiest land. Which brings us full circle and I hope explains why I am camped in a swamp. This whole area is below sea level. You couldn't raise crops here. Rice, maybe; but from what I hear, there's a lot more money in gambling.
I had a hard day. I've said it before, life ain't all sunshine and daisies. I sticky and stinky and underfed. It was another long thirsty day. A lot of it's due to poverty. A lot more was just bad planning. Throw in some punishment from our benevolent God and I think you've got the picture. Did Job get a rash? I forget. I wonder if his was where mine is.
I woke up early and went back to sleep. It's been a rough couple of days. But I was back on the road at nine or so. My radio got NPR. But it conked out before Car Talk came on. I remember a few weeks back. Reception was poor; all I could hear were the snorts and a great deal of laughter. I still listened to the entire show. And I enjoyed it immensely.
You never hear too much about Joy, as if it's one of the lesser emotions. But I think of them all it's my favourite. Without it Love would just suck.
Two miles took me to a Sunoco station. I was there for a couple of hours. I finished typing up yesterday's notes and juiced up my little computer. I would have liked to buy food but it was really expensive. I had a Coke and a small breakfast sandwich. I introduced myself to the man working there so he wouldn't throw me out.
"Write that the Latin people are good." I can honestly say that they are.
Spanish is the language down here. Japanese is worth nothing at all. English, carefully applied, will take you only so far. I like Spanish. I think I could learn it. I have some small knowledge of Latin. In that I know it exists; that's a good first step. I was looking at my map. I'm closer to Costa Rica than I've ever been. I think I might go there next.
I'll fly, thank you.
I also thought I might walk the length of Japan. It isn't so very far. South to north, in the springtime. They have public baths in each town. And the people are most hospitable, so long as your Japanese is not too good. In that case they treat you like they do each other, or according to their mood.
I expected to find cheaper food some ways down. As it was I did not. I was trying to avoid Miami. I avoided the crap out of it. Nothing against that noble town. I find pastels most soothing. But it would have been hard to find places to camp. That's what took me out here.
To the absolute middle of nowhere at all. I had a twenty-mile walk. Through these ubiquitous Everglades. There was nothing out there at all. But a narrow strip of road. People drive fast. I was hungry and did not have much water.
Mr. Martin saw me and stopped. He's a gentleman philosopher. I had met him at a motel in Okeechobee. It took me ten minutes to remember him. He gave me a can of RC cola. In fact, he gave me four. And so saved my life. We talked for an hour. It was nice to see an old friend.
That still left me nine miles to the next town, or at least my next source of water. It was late; I'd been dawdling. I had to walk very fast. Which took some strength. I had it to give, but I am a lazy man at heart. And was burning more calories than I'd taken in. That always makes me cross.
I found a gas station and found a sandwich. I'm still fairly underfed. And I had barely enough daylight to find a place for my tent. Which was a trick, I tell you. This is the Everglades. I waded through water up to my shins, upsetting God knows what fauna. And finally made a dry nest for myself, in the manner of a mountain gorilla.
Suck on that, creationists. We're not so very far removed. And it wasn't book-learning or divine inspiration, it was purely animal sense. Instinct. Monkey skills. I've got them and you've got them too. But mine are a good deal more advanced.
Or retarded, as the case may be.
THE PRETTY lady who made my sandwich did not speak English at all. And this wasn't some strip mall bodega. This was a national chain. There was no suggestion that she should speak English. She had beautiful eyes.
IN MY WHOLE life I have never been dirtier, stinkier or more bedraggled than I am right now. That's saying something.