Anyway, now unburdened, I finally felt free to enjoy myself. And it was perhaps only now that it occurred to me that really, at my age, I’m not really into dancing so much. And also, that I would be having to do it alone! It kind of hit me in a way then, being on my own. I’m actually usually pretty good at managing on my own, but still, some company would have been nice. I spotted someone in a Stoke City shirt, but he and I were never going to get on. I chatted to one or two ladies, but there were always other men around. I spotted someone who, for some reason I decided would look good in the Miami Dolphins hat I found on the beach, so I put it on him. He did indeed look good in it. But now I no longer had a free Miami Dolphins hat! About the only free thing I could’ve had throughout my whole stay. They were extorting $10 off people for a small can of beer. Although, in fact, I managed to sneakily pay just $1 for the first one I had. Around the pool, there were ladies selling these beers from small stands. With each of them was a tough looking security man, presumably to ensure you coughed up the right amount, and also to encourage you to tip. However, I managed to just pay $1 into the tip jar, anticipating giving the excuse that I thought it was a case of voluntary donations! The second, and indeed the last beer I bought, I reluctantly paid full whack.
By about 8pm, I decided I would have a dip in the pool. It struck me as the obvious thing to do at a pool party. I even tried dancing, up to my waist in water. I made some fairly lame hand gestures to invite others to join me, but this innovation of mine did not really catch on. One or two others did leap into the pool, but they didn’t even acknowledge me. Clearly, I was not cool enough. It did strike me that being cool is almost like a way of life in America. Or maybe it’s just Miami. But everyone is constantly trying to be cool. To the extent that not being cool is simply not an option, it seems. Everyone has something to boast about. I suppose the only ironic thing is that you could quite easily trick an American by being so uncool that they think you must be cool after all. Perhaps this is how geeks apparently succeed there.
Cinderalla-like, I was conscious of the time, knowing that I really wanted to get back to the motel in good time to be still able to get over to the airport, who I still had not heard from with regard to my bags, and find out what was going on. I really didn’t want to have to spend another day of my “holiday” worrying about them. So I picked up the replacement shorts and t-shirts I’d bought, and left the party quite early. I rang Bob, who let me know he’d be picking me up soon, and got myself a pizza. I then had to wait about another hour or so before Bob finally showed up. I’d rung him once or twice more, conscious of the cost obviously, and was not entirely convinced I wasn’t being swindled in some way. I thought about trying to catch a bus instead, thought about the outside chance of having to get a taxi. I saw lots of other people being cool and enjoying themselves, while I just sat there on a bench drinking a Budweiser I’d bought from a nearby shop, and with a burnt mouth from the pizza.
Finally, Bob showed up. I was incredibly relieved to see him, and did not even mind too much that he asked for more money in addition to the agreed amount – you see, always on the make, these Yanks! Bob was with his wife, who it turned out had plans to write a book, and was quite interested in my poetry. Well, all I was really interested in now was retrieving my luggage. We made it to the airport, I gave the assistant my details, and she took me to my bag. And there it was! It had a slightly sarcastic look on its face – “did you miss me?” it mocked – but I didn’t worry too much about that, I hauled it onto my back, and off I marched. Soon I was back at base, and soon asleep once more.