Sunday, March 27, 2011

Adventures in Walking (PLT Edition)

Pensacola Little Theater held a fundraiser last night; my friend's band The Swinging Dick Tracys played in a 1920's-themed room.

I headed downtown early, thinking that with all the Pensacola history I'd been looking at in the past week, I'd walk over to Plaza Ferdinand VII (just across the street from PLT) to have a look at the bust of Andrew Jackson at the south end of the park. Plaza Ferdinand VII is where the Spanish formally handed over the keys and the land to Jackson on July 17, 1821. The bust marks where Jackson was inaugurated as Florida's first governor.

Didn't work out. As I pulled up, I saw a guy trying to break into his own car to get his keys. We tried a few things--screwdrivers taped to the end of a stick, then a pair of bent-nosed pliers taped on it. The pliers worked. Good thing he had an open sunroof. After maybe 20 minutes of that I had to sit down ("sit down" is a nice way of saying "I collapsed into the driver's seat"). This kidney/aorta/leg shit really needs to be done with. I'm tired of being unable to walk or stand, tired of collapsing into a chair and having trouble standing back up. Doctor's appointment this Tuesday.

So I sat in my car until 7:30, then hobbled across the parking area, hobbled some more across Main Street (sorry, man, I can't run, thanks for stopping to let me cross), then leaned against the PLT building waiting for my legs to catch up. They complained some more when I went up the stairs. Once inside, I wandered around until I found the right room. Couldn't go in until 8, so I stood and shifted from leg to leg, leaned against the wall, and wondered what time it was.

Once the doors opened, I found a bench, collapsed onto it, and stayed put the rest of the evening, people-watching and listening to the Dicks.

The Swinging Dick Tracys have been around since 1998 in some form or other. They've got a hell of a song list ranging from 1920's through Motown and the '80s--Swing, Oldies, Rock, Funk, Disco, Latin...about 200 songs. They kicked ass, took names, and did it with style.

There weren't many people dancing; they were content to hang out in little groups or wander from room to room. I hadn't known this was a costume party, but there were quite a few people dressed for themes with varying success, from a very sassy-looking '20s flapper with a Cheshire Cat grin to a few girls who were maybe trying for the Jungle theme in the next room but looked like they were headed to a strip club. It occurred to me that if this were a scene in a movie, everyone there would have been in period-perfect costumes, dressed to the 9's, and probably color-coordinated with the room. This crowd was more interesting than that--a combination of costumes and Sunday Best and "What was SHE thinking?" The gents followed a similar pattern, from gangster Zoots to Sunday suits to one guy in a T-Shirt and cargo pants.

By 11 I'd decided I'd had enough of sitting on the bench, but before I left I made a pit stop in the restroom. I took a stall, conducted my business, and decided to wipe the toilet rim and floor so no one would think _I_ was the one who made the mess (I wasn't). I lean down to wipe the floor...


Oh, dammit. I fumbled around for a few moments and found it: my pants button, and me without a safety pin.

I tried zipping up all the way...oh, good, it held. Left my shirt un-tucked to cover the damage.

Hobble out the front...dammit, those stairs again. No way I was going to try the wheelchair ramp (wrong direction and 20 feet farther). Hobbled along the cars this time...into the lot...I could see my car, but it seemed farther away with each step...finally at the door, huffing and puffing like a marathon sprinter, shaking hand holding the door key...I collapsed into the seat...


Zipper. I don't care. Too tired to care. I sat there for a few minutes just happy I didn't have to walk any further. I was halfway home when I realized that the gas gauge was right on top of the "E" and I had a vision of myself trying to walk along Scenic Highway to get gas. Last time I ran out it was a short walk uphill--and I could walk. She didn't do me wrong--she got me to a station.

Funny things, zippers. This one came apart. Left side pulled right out of the glide. I hiked up my pants and leaned against the car while pumping gas. Whoever invented pay-at-the-pump probably had a bad zipper and was missing a button.

A better writer would have a wrap-up right about here.

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