Florida Escape Day 5

I woke easily and early this morning with a choked sob. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to go back home to the cold and snow and ice and sadness. I would have gone to live in a tenement in the ghetto if I had had enough time to look for one. I’m not meant for Iowa’s winter. I may sound like a whiny bitch, but that’s just me.

As I got out of the shower, I looked at my reflection in the mirror, and you’re not going to believe it guys, I had a subtle speedo tan. It was pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted out of life. You might not understand, but I was awfully excited.

With a single alligator tear running down my cheek, I finished packing my things and thought to myself what a marvelous job I do at it. I should be a professional bag packer. I can fit anything into anything. It’s a gift, I suppose.

Far too soon, it came time for check out, so I sadly made my way to the lobby, where I was greeted by so many smiling faces and a man in a top hat. I love a good top hat. They checked me out in about thirteen seconds, and then I was nothing more but a visiter. So tragic. I left my bags with the bellhops and sadly walked my way to Downtown Disney. As I looked at my watch, I did feel a bit of a mood boost, my bus to the airport wasn’t until three, so I had quite a bit of time to enjoy myself and the beautiful weather before it all came to an end.

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Downtown Disney is not my favorite place in the world, but it’s simple enough to find something to do for a while. So, I sat and watched those show choirs that came from around the country. I sang along as they performed “Edge of Glory” and “9 to 5” and everybody in the audience hated me because I sang along. Sorry. Not sorry. YOLO!

I did a bit of shopping because I had trouble finding something good for Jose. I’ve gotten him hooked on tea, so I found him a bunch of Disney themed tea bags. (TEA BAG! HA!) He’ll like that.

Also, why is it so hard to find gay pride Mickey stuff? This keychain (not my picture) is the only thing I could find in the entire place.


I was hungry and in the mood to splurge on food again, so I looked for a place that was new to me. I selected a restaurant called Portobello that had an interesting looking Italian inspired menu. I love me some Italian.

I waited around a bit because I thought the doors were locked, but then a couple walked right in and I looked a fool. Whatevs. I strolled in after and was asked if I wanted to dine outside on the boardwalk. I looked at the hostess, gave a *duh* face and she took me to a nice table overlooking the lake and Saratoga Springs. Heaven. I could have sat there all day happily watching the crows and seagulls and little lizards scurry by. Iowa is a crime.

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“Karen will be your waiter,” the hostess told me, and then a waiter came bustling over with a giant smile plastered on his face (it must have hurt) and loudly told me, “Karen was going to be your waiter, but now I am!”

“Great,” I muttered, looking up from the drink menu. I hate it when people fall in love with me. I’m not trying to sound full of myself, but this does happen. There is a waiter at Olive Garden who knows everything about me. He knows my name, my relationships. I think he stalks me–probably online somehow. It’s unsettling. I’m simultaneously flattered and disturbed my it. You know what, it’s actually pretty flattering, but it’s nicer when you get a discount. Remember that time I was at Caribou Coffee at the Mall of America and the nerdy barista with the nice hair gave me a discount and a smile? That was nice.

Anyway, after he finished gushing at me, I ordered a raspberry and basil cocktail. I don’t know what it was called, but I can’t turn down basil, it’s become my very favorite herb and I wish that I could smell it all day long and I wish that it was in every single thing that I ate. Eggs with basil? Yes, please. Basil sandwich? Gimme! Pasta with tomatoes and basil? YES! Can you have a basil salad? That would probably be too much, but maybe a quarter basil and a quarter arugula and then half spinach? I need to try that! The cocktail was excellent, by the way.

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My waiter hurried back with a bread platter, which impressed me. It had foccaccia and semolina bread (which I absolutely adore). Instead of butter or olive oil to dip the bread in, you were given an entire head of roasted garlic! I was in heaven. I love roasted garlic. It’s so simple and so elegant. Olive oil was poured on top and when it was smeared onto the semolina bread I could have simply floated off to heaven. I ate that all in two minutes.

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For my first course, I ordered the caprese salad, which I’ve heard of many times, but had never had and couldn’t really picture. I was intrigued by the menu description, something about sweet, local tomatoes and house made mozzarella. In my head, I pictured a bowl with cherry tomatoes and little mozzarella balls. It wasn’t. It was much more elegant. Big, meaty tomatoes were sliced and lined on a platter with rounds of buffalo mozzarella in between. Hold up a second, why is it called buffalo? Is it made with buffalo milk? Do buffaloes produce milk? I’m googling…bear with…bear with…holla at the Miranda reference…oh my sweet gherkins, guys, buffalo mozzarella is actually made with buffalo milks! Mind is blown. Sliced basil, salt, freshly ground pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar were put on top. It was awesome. I loved it so much. I want to eat them all the time!

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The waiter stopped me every five minutes or so to check on me and refill my water glass, even though I hadn’t had much to drink. Thoughtful fellow.

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For my second course I had something called eggs in purgatory mainly because I liked the name, but also because I adore poached eggs. They’re my favorite kind of egg preparation. In this dish, a chunky tomato sauce was broiled in the oven with a few eggs and various cheeses and served with wedges of toasted bread. It was quite good, but not exceptional by any means. It would be easy to recreate at home. I may have to. I have a poppyseed baguette waiting for me there that I made last night and I do have some leftover San Marzano tomatoes. I didn’t have lunch today, I’m very hungry, you’ll have to forgive all the time I’m dedicating to food.

I wanted to get to the pool to get my tan on, so I ordered a coffee for dessert instead of something to eat. I probably should have, I love dessert. It’s my favorite part of any meal. Usually. Actually, I don’t know. I just love food so damn much. I paid my bill, disentangled myself from the waiter’s conversation and picked up the phone to call Jessica.

I guess they charge you on Spirit Airlines to print a boarding pass! What madness! I appreciate businesses that try to make a buck, but they treat their customers in a sneaky underhanded way, constantly trying to catch you and charge you a fine. You have to pay for a carry on! Criminal! So, I had Jessica research these things while I went to give Babycakes another try.

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She called back while I was eating the dreadful chocolate cupcake I ordered to confirm what I had read. They were going to charge me a dollar for my boarding pass! Bastards! Also, that cupcake was complete shit. Are they flown in from New York? What is this about? I know they’re vegan and gluten free, but they are vile. I don’t understand why Martha Stewart and David Lebovitz compliment them. Am I really the pastry bitch? I think so. I’m very demanding when it comes to baked goods. I won’t apologize.

I saw the margarita stand on my way back to the trail to my resort and I had to stop. I love margaritas so much and I didn’t want to go. I ordered one and sat on the dock, watching the boats to by and the sun beat down and the birds swoop down on little children. Good fun. I decided then that I should open a margarita stand on the beach and live happily slightly drunk getting other people slightly drunk as they burn. Wouldn’t that be great? Just me? Oh well.

I finished my margarita in a couple slurps, I could drink them competitively, and then walked to the hotel, where I crashed by the pool.

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I took my same seat by the pool, but wasn’t smart enough to wear my speedo as underpants–which actually was a good idea, because those would not be comfortable to wear all day long, trust–so I just tanned in my jeans. Who am I–Matthew McConaughey? I was loving myself sick. I was so warm and the sun was so nice and I was tanning next to some rich bitches from New Jersey. It was like a knockoff of the Real Housewives and I was so engrossed.

They hop from beach to beach in the winter all over the peninsula. Their husbands pay for this. One has something to do with basketball management another was in cars somehow. The women were grotesquely tan, plump, drunk, probably vajazzled, and hilarious. Early thirties, I’d say, and they called me “Tushy” when they asked where I got my margarita. I was sipping the ice cubes, still. Such fun.

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Soon, though, it was time to put my clothes back on and join the real world. I sadly made me way up to the main building where I would be soon catching the Magical Express, a free shuttle that Disney provides their guests.

It was not long before the bus showed up and I walked on. I bumped my bag on something and my electric razor started buzzing. The entire bus, full of people, turned to look at me and I gasped when I realized why they were laughing. “IT’S NOT A VIBRATOR!” I exclaimed as I frantically threw my hand into my bag and fished out the razor, which I proudly displayed. Then I saw children looking at me quizzically. When people ask what your most embarrassing memory is, I never have a response, now I do. I held my head in shame for like two minutes, then said, “YOLO,” and watched the film they were showing. I was only vaguely aware that Disney offers tours to different locations around the world and I’m now terribly intrigued. Can you get those with vacation club points? I will have to inquire. I spend way too much money on trips. I’m not all that bothered, though, I’d rather spend my money on trips than on a car.

We were soon at the airport and I had to walk like seventeen miles to get to Spirit’s checkin counter. They really do things on the cheap. Lufthansa was the first one. I love Lufthansa. Swiss Air is still my favorite, though. They treat you like royalty and you get chocolate and all the wine you can drink. I drink a lot of red wine on intercontinental flights. If you can’t go in first class, it’s the only way to fly.

I didn’t have to pay for my boarding pass after all, which was nice. Then I had to walk and walk and walk and go through security, which was totes easy. It’s like they don’t even suspect me of being a terrorist anymore. Why don’t they pay more attention to me??? I used to be frisked all the time. Whatevs.

As I took the tram to the boarding zone, it began to rain and the palm fronds began to whip wildly in the sudden gusts of wind. Florida was crying. It didn’t want me to leave, either. If only I could have cancelled my life back home and stayed, I probably could have stopped the tornado that ran through the day after by my mere presence. Alas, no sense thinking back on what could have been.

I went to this horrible little coffee shop and ordered an espresso. I received a medium coffee. It was absolutely dreadful. Good espresso is so good, but bad espresso, or coffee in this case, is just sooooo bad.

I didn’t have to wait too long before getting on the plane. Since I paid for a carry on bag, I also got priority seating. That was a nice surprise. I walked by all those bitches. It was a fairly decent plane. Newer. Taller. The seats, though, I barely fit in them. I’m skinny. Actually I’m male model sample size. *brushes shoulders, keeps on typing* Most Americans are morbidly obese. I’m not quite understanding how this system works. You can pay $50 for what looks like a pleather recliner. Might have been nice. Next time. I’m part of Spirit’s $9 program or something. So, I can get tickets for $9, though I’ve yet to see one of these available myself. Matter of time. I wish I lived somewhere with a bigger airport.

For the longest time nobody was sitting next to me and then a punk rock duo called me “bro” and said they had the two seats next to me. I sighed a little and made room for them and their cheap headphones that were blasting out some kind of death metal. Why is it impossible for me to sit next to somebody interesting or attractive? Why is the universe punishing me?

The flight soon took off and the drink trolley came up. I desperately exclaimed, “A margarita!”

“Would you like two for twelve dollars?” the flight attendant inquired.

I slow blinked, could something so wonderful be true? “Uh, yeah!”

She smiled, took my credit card, and I was soon sipping some Jose Cuervo. It made the time go by much faster. It was a terribly boring flight, but it seemed to go by quickly enough.

We had soon landed and my phone was soon on and Jessica soon called, which meant the entire cabin heard my Honey Boo Boo ringtone. “You betta redneckognize!” the woman I thought I disliked exclaimed. I looked over at her and nearly said, “You too?” We were friends for the rest of our time on the plane.

Jess and Jose and Pa were on their way to get me from the Chicago airport and were about an hour away, so I had time to do a whole bunch of nothing. I had assumed there would be some kind of waiting area with food of some kind, but I was quite wrong. There was an interesting restaurant on the concourse, though, that I could have gone to if I had spent two seconds to think. Alas, all I could find was a Starbucks once I left security. Conveniently, I had a Starbucks gift card in my wallet that I had forgotten about.

So, I sat there in the freezing cold in my tank top and sunburn stuffing my face with brownies and espressos and kettle chips while I sat bemusedly listening the the woman next to me who was having some kind of crisis. When other people’s lives are in shambles, I feel much better about my own.

I waited and I waited and I waited and then finally it was time for me to dash across traffic and jump into a moving vehicle as if I had just robbed a bank. It was good fun. Everybody was delighted to see me, #obvs, and we ran through toll booths and played a game where we had to tell a story in turns by only adding one word per person. My favorite was about a gentleman who couldn’t stop peeing on Mount Rushmore. There was also one about strippers and murderers.

We drove and we drove and we drove and it took forever. I absolutely hate car rides.

Soon I was asleep and then we got home and all my fun was over. It was cold and I hated being there.

Good evening.

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