Sunday, February 21, 2016

Daily Wonders

Lately I've experienced a number of very pleasant events, small events admittedly, but nonetheless exceedingly pleasant events.  Today for example we punctuated our customary weekend celebration by going for Sunday breakfast at a place we've never before visited. The restaurant has the preposterous  name "Watusi" made all the more enigmatic by the nameplate addition "It is what it is".  In spite of its obscure dance theme, Watusi is an exceptionally well-appointed venue, having a charming outdoor patio and a terrific soda-fountain-style bar (where we chose to sit this morning). Because I not writing a food chronicle I won't reiterate either the menu or what we ordered other than to say the breakfast was nonpareil and the espresso coffee was the best I've ever had!

We've frequented two other memorable dining spots - Hudson's Sea Food House on the Docks and Skull Creek Boathouse.  Coincidentally they're located next to each other on Squire Pope Road.  Each of them has Bluepoint oysters from Connecticut. Although we have been coming to Hilton Head Island for six years, it wasn't until this year that we began eating in local restaurants as regularly.  Certainly in the past we occasionally visited Red Fish and Alexander's, but this year we've made a point of trying a number of different places. A favourite breakfast place is Low Country Produce Market and Caf√©, a place we've enjoyed with other friends here.

Yesterday afternoon and this afternoon - after our constitutional bicycle ride on the beach - I dropped into Belk Department Store in Shelter Cover off William Hilton Parkway.  Last year I went there once to buy a pair of headphones for my new electronic keyboard.  This year I discovered Belk's huge variety of brands and sizes of men's clothing. Getting stuff that I like and that fits is not easy for me.  Belk has a "Big and Tall" section, which essentially means I can find a variety of XXL and 44-inch waist sizes.  Additionally the sales at Belk are right up there with Winners or any other popular outlet store such as Target.  For example I got a perfectly fine (not "second") Chaps cotton sweater for $9.73.  Granted not all deals are that remarkable but it is the only place I know where I can find brand name XXL white T-shirts and jeans that aren't made for punks.

If you're wondering why any of this matters, the explanation is simple. When I retired we made the choice to separate ourselves from all but the most cherished and essential things.  It is now easier for us to describe what we don't have rather than what we do have.  We don't have any real estate; we don't have paraphernalia which requires special insurance coverage; we don't have clothes which can't be put in a washing machine and dryer; we don't go anywhere that requires us to be "dressed up"; we don't have any club memberships; we don't collect expensive things.  All told life has become pleasurably simple.  Small wonder that our biggest thrill is a good meal in a neighbourhood restaurant or a pair on underwear that fits!

Having endured the dreariness of maintenance of personal possessions I am much relieved to have abandoned that weight. Although I know people who have built resort homes in Florida and Mexico, I can't imagine such an encumbrance. Even if it is true that I couldn't afford a multi-million dollar mansion, I can willingly bear the deprivation.  All my life I was anchored to property maintenance and I have tired of hearing my friends whining about having to clean the pool or fix the roof or the septic tank; it is nothing but a self-imposed sentence. I have come to the conclusion that renting is one of the best-kept secrets.

Of course a good deal of the motivation to own things is not just the pleasure of having them but also the perceived social distinction of having them.  Weaning oneself off things is just as trying for some people as trying to quit drinking - first because it may be excused as an innocent pleasure (and life is short after all); second because even if it isn't so innocent it isn't clear that one can live without it. Happily for us, we're beyond that threshold. For one thing we've owned all the houses, acreage, condos and office buildings we ever want to see again. The same goes for snow removal! Furthermore, if it has to be polished, maintained, insured or doesn't go in the dishwasher, forget it!

I realize I shouldn't be so bigoted about what I or others do to be happy.  Certainly I have my own failings, among them fine automobiles which many people rejoice to mock (and with considerable justification I admit). I guess I was just prompted to vainglory by the ineffable delight I have derived from recent events. How smug I am about these inadequate triumphs!  Comfortable undergarments! Imagine!

My unabashed vanity is further massaged by visits such as I had this morning with a terribly competent dental hygienist, a complete catharsis!  This enchantment is succeeded in turn by my anticipated congress with an affable hair architect and enthusiastic reflexologist on Wednesday morning. What I don't like quite so much is having to go to the local Cadillac dealership at 8:00 am tomorrow morning.  For the second time in as many weeks I have to get the service department to investigate on-going computer problems, very annoying considering the car is only five months old.

Hopefully we'll satisfactorily round out the week and these largely palatable events by savouring a celebratory trek to Jekyll Island, GA.  Jekyll Island is only a 2½ hours' drive from here. We're staying at the new Westin Hotel located on the Ocean.  Last time we were on Jekyll Island we landed in the historic Plantation Inn which was comfortable and very well maintained but decidedly old-world. I'm sorry but I still have an issue dining in a restaurant where the staff are better dressed than I.  The only drawback of the Westin is that the swimming pool is not heated.  However bicycling on the bike paths should be adequate compensation.

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