Surrounded by books has been a main circumstance of my long life. So it is now, near the end of my 94th year, when I am in my large library of perhaps 18,000 books in the western wing of my house in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
I don’t know which part I liked best: large library, 18,000, or western wing of my house. If I had a library in a wing of my house, I doubt it would take me 40 more years to get there.
Note that this gentleman is, in fact, a professor, which is the highest level of book accumulator, and I’m on my way to being an honorary professor.
I’ve seen a link to this Intellectual Takeout recap of a couple of surveys that indicate that 27% of Americans have not read a book in the last year and another survey that indicated that 20% of British adults could not name an author.
I’d be a little more upset if I didn’t realize how easy it is to stump people with questions like this. Twenty-five years ago, I stumped fellow English majors by asking them if they could name two morals, and most could not.
That should hold you until I can think of something witty to say or get around to writing another book report for a piece of throwaway fiction. Except at Nogglestead, we don’t throw away any books.
So this weekend, I spent some time in the Tampa area (well, not as far north as Tampa, but I landed and departed from St. Petersburg). As you know, I provided a handy guide to Florida fauna and flora for the Midwesterner. So I thought I’d provide a handy checklist of the things I’ve done (and you can, too).
Missouri Comics used to be up on Chestnut Expressway here in Springfield, and I used its Web site as a test location when testing for a company I was working for, so I eventually took my kids up to the physical shop, and I bought a number of Marvel Team-Ups in our infrequent visits.
Clearly, our three-times-a-year (probably three times, total) visits for dollar comics couldn’t support him, so he moved to Safety Harbor (I’m sure there’s a story there). He kept the name because he does brisk trade on the Internet and didn’t want to lose traffic by changing the domain name.
The first thing we did after landing and getting out of the airport was to visit his new location and buy Marvel Team-Up comics.
Attend a business meeting with native Floridians and be the only one wearing shoes.
They must put some Florida in the water, because I was not the only one visiting from Missouri, but I was the only one in shoes.
Do the AirBNB thing.
Apparently, you can rent a lot of condos in Florida whose owners live there part time (and live the rest of the time, they live at their other condos). When not in residence, they put their slightly used properties on AirBNB, and you can lease them for a night or two.
So we did, and we stayed in a rather nice little three bedroom house with one bedroom converted into a high quality home theater, which I didn’t get to use because I was a businessman, doing business. (Is that two Beverly Hill Cop II references in one checklist item? Yes, it is! You get the best allusion deals here at MfBJN!)
I haven’t even seen that movie in a while. I don’t know where its presence on my mind comes from.
At any rate, this was my first AirBNB experience, and it was weird for me. The house had lots of interesting things, a K-Cup maker, a full and elaborate bar, and I’m not sure what I was allowed to use if anything. I mean, in a hotel, I don’t tear the place up (or, at least I haven’t since the The Variation Machine 1993 tour), but I treated this house like I was a guest there.
Also, although the agreement said no pets, I am pretty sure the owners had a cat. Cat food under the sink (which I didn’t eat, because I didn’t know if I was allowed to), a scratching post in the garage–and a woman whom we surprised as she was going around back of the house. She explained there’s a cat in the shed that she feeds twice a day. So I don’t know if the owners lock their cat up in the shed on nights that they’re renting the place (or for the weeks when they’re away). I am pretty sure, though, we would have paid extra to have the cat in the house with us.
Ride a gator.
Well, it was a John Deere Gator, and given that I live in the country, I didn’t have to go to Florida for that. But I did see people driving around in golf carts, and not on a golf course.
See a Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Game.
Although they played on Saturday night, I had an early flight, and like the old man I am, I went to be early.
Fun fact: I was slated to go to a conference in Tampa around the turn of the century, and the Tampa Bay Lightning were playing at home over that week. As it stands, I left the job sending me to the conference, so I didn’t get to go to the conference nor the game. So the Tampa Bay Lightning are the team I could have seen most but never did.
Wander around Tampa, asking anyone if they’d seen Dave.
When we landed, I remembered that my old friend Dave, he of the famous Iron Maiden poster lived in Tampa. So I thought about going around Tampa, taking photos and asking if anyone had seen Dave.
Which they hadn’t–I knew from Facebook that he was on vacation himself.
Which is what would have made the photos, when shared with Dave, better.
Perhaps I’ll catch him, and maybe the Lightning, the next time I’m in town.
My goodness, I’ve been to Florida three times in the last, four years? I’ve been there more than Wisconsin.
Partly because of the business, partly because of family vacation destinations, and yes, partly because there are direct flights. I don’t like to fly. Which is down from “I hate to fly,” which is where I was four years ago.