This morning I went to the beach where I have spent much of the past 17 years.

Unlike the situation in Tavira, you don’t have to get a 2 euro ticket to hop on a ferry filled with the Birkenstock people to get to the beach here.

It was empty; usually this time of day, and in season, there are lots of fishermen around.

florida algae warning

Only two today, and one of them had his nose and mouth wrapped with a towel, which made him look like an American Bedouin.

I walked around, but didn’t see Ozzie, my old Osprey friend, but did come across the usual sandpipers scampering about.

He and I go way back, Ozzie and I do, from the time I used to come here alone and sit for hours, thinking of my life in Manhattan that had now disappeared, thinking about how promising everything looked, before my life fell off a cliff.

After a while, I felt, or imagined I felt, a slight burning sensation in my lungs, and my nose started to run.

Then I noticed my shadow on the beach, as I have seen it many times before.

Not to get all lugubrious on this hallowed day, but one day I will only be a shadow that once walked on this earth.  What will they say I’ve accomplished?  Anything? Did I just take up space, and then that was it?

I have been having this (decade-long) debate about writing a novel that takes place in Egypt along the Red Sea, and it occurred to me that I might write the idea I had about ten years ago as a sort of Zombie Apocalypse comic-serious book.

That would relieve the literary pressure of trying to come up with “the novel” that would cement my reputation as a writer — which is now zilch, unfortunately — that would prove… what exactly was it, again?

I have also been trying to keep away from working on this software idea that has I haven’t been able to stop myself from noodling with since before leaving for Portugal a month or so ago.

It’s not that I wish I were this guy…

… but last night and the night before that I spent hours creating an interface for the application. It’s now done.

And I studied — quite seriously, not in some cursory fashion — what would be involved in terms of the necessary underlying tech stack that it would take to realize the idea.

Daunting.

Even with a team of programmers who can code like greased lightning, the effort to implement this would be non-trivial.  I used to be the CTO for a small Internet company in Manhattan, after years of being a data modeler and programmer in the fintech space, but now am 67 and haven’t developed software since 9-11 — not an ideal time in life to consider implementing a complex WP plug-in, solo.

But the more I researched what would be involved, the more my interest was piqued.

I do feel younger than my years, nowadays; that’s one thing. When I was 30, I felt like I was 70 on some days, but that is what burning the candles at both ends when you are young will do.

Maybe I’ll do both things, or maybe just think about doing them, alternating the heavy lifting of creating vapor ware with the equally exhausting task of vapor writing.

The beauty of this plan is that I can accomplish all this without the pressure of having to fly to Gouna to raise angel funding and promise them a unicorn, while slaving away during my spare time, like a dog in a junkyard filled with Smith Corona typewriters, just so that one day I can say to the doubters at Mizna, see, it was in me the whole time, the gift.. it was there all along: you just never saw it; or rather, I chose not to let it be seen.

I kept walking on the beach — whose contours I know intimately — and found a coral rock that would fit perfectly in my garden at home.

I picked it up, and upon returning with it to the parking lot, a woman my age who was driving a brand new silver Merc pulled up and parked next to my beat up old Escape.

She got out of the shiny Merc, looked at me, and said, without even a good morning, even though it still quite early in the day… you know, you look just like Charlie Brown on Halloween with that rock.

People remember the oddest things.

Sometimes it takes living a long time to make connections you never saw while growing up.

So that’s me, today:  a kid on Halloween who got a rock, just like it’s always been.

The lady in the Merc said so.

leaving america

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