The Ol' Homesick but Morally Conflicted with Missing Sarasota Blues


The softest sand on Earth is found

near Osceola's stomping grounds

where once did celery flourish all year round.

But with the sand came the Yankee dollar.

They took offense to the sunset's pallor

And payed the city council to take it down.


I've got the OH-oh-oh-ohOld

HO-oh-omesick

But morally conflicted

that I'm missing Sarasota

Blues.


"That's a song I wrote," he said. And he squinted his eyes at her because he thought it made him look mysterious.


"It's a nice song." She said, averting her eyes because she thought it made her look coy.


"Nice?!" He said. And he arched his eyebrows just so, because he thought it made him look like Nicholson in A Few Good Men, "That song is a song of protest. There's nothing nice about it! Don't you see the endemic infection of homogeneity coursing through our culture's bloodstream? There's an entire class of people who make a goddam sport of seeking out the most idyllic places on earth, where life is still good and pure, and tearing them down and rebuilding them so they look just like some kind of knockoff version of South Beach. And it's not just the places. Look at the food--" (and he pointed furiously in a million different directions) "caesar salad wrap, caesar salad wrap, caesar salad wrap, caeser sald wrap--It's the same goddam caesar salad wrap everywhere you go! And you know what else? Do you know that 350,000 households in this country have the exact same dining room table? I shit you not."


And then he realized that he'd effectively expunged every hint of romance that they'd been thus far arousing with their self conscious facial expressions. Then he got real quiet to make up for it.


"I like the bit about the softest sand."


"Mmmm."


"They can't change that. The sand, I mean. Well, I guess they could. But it would be an expensive project and everybody likes soft sand."


"We'll always have the sand."


"So, there's that."


"Mmmmm."


"You have to look at the bright side."


"Mmmm."


And then she remembered that before he'd started singing a song, all impromptu-like, they'd actually been deliciously close to making out. She'd felt that little premonitory electric brrrr that tickles your epiglottis when you know it's about to happen; that you're about to neck furiously. But she wondered, now, if he really deserved it. She wanted him to deserve it.  But it seemed, at this point, that she'd be rewarding bad behavior. And she wasn't clear on which held more weight: her desires or his need to be deprived owing to his clumsy choice of conversation amidst courtship.


For his part, he was painfully aware of his misfire. It was a wholly intentional move. He'd demonstrated that he was a gentleman earlier in the evening. He'd followed that up with some repartee which displayed not only his charm and wit but also his overall social ease. He's demonstrated his sophistication when he ordered the pork belly appetizer with a spot-on rioja pairing. He'd displayed his gentleness and sensitivity when he asked the waiter questions about himself and feigned genuine interest. And then, after dinner, he immersed her in an ample bath of boyish charm.

He hadn't yet displayed passion, though. And women like a man to have passion. So that's when he'd decided to sing her a protest song and then segue into a verbose diatribe. He had the best possible intentions. And he wasn't being entirely disingenuous. He did have passion. And he did hate the homogenization of the culture. And he did hate Caesar salad wraps. None of this was fabricated. Just forced. He wasn’t wholly undeserving.

But he was pretty sure that ship had sailed. He was pretty sure he'd he'd made a countervailing strategical error.


But then he saw it. A clear path to redemption. Had he misfired with the passion card? Undoubtedly. But what trumps passion every time? Anyone?


Nuance.


" All the same, it is my hometown. When I was a kid, my dad and I used to go to a place called Denner Dogs, where the Subway is now. And we'd get Hot Dogs to go. And then we'd drive to the airport and eat hot dogs and watch the planes take off......"


It went on for awhile. The sweet stories of the glorious youth spent in the town he'd just expressed unfettered scorn for. Nuance. Look it up.


Well, it worked. They played sambas on each others' tonsils.


And for years thereafter, and this is true, they'd sit and watch the sunset, which City Council never got around to dismantling, and they'd bury their toes in the softest sand in world while he sang her songs about concrete and clay.


The End