The day after I graduated college my mother helped me load up the U-haul and make the long drive down to Orlando for my first post-College job. 3 months later I decided it would be a great idea to buy a house. My enthusiasm for both the town and the job quickly waned and shortly thereafter I moved to NYC. But 14 years later my friendships that I formed here have still survived the passage of time. It’s pretty cool when you think about it…and when you don’t. So when everyone kept questioning ‘Why?!’ I would make such a southern detour on a cross country trip the response was simple, I have a ton of good friends here and part of a road trip is re-connecting with old friends.
The drive from Gainesville to Orlando was a pleasant and easy 2 hours but within and hour of getting here those good ol’ FL afternoon thunder showers had welcomed me back, complete with big frizzy hair and all. I only had 2 days to spend here so I had to pack in as much quality time with as many people as possible. I still can’t get over how much downtown has changed since I lived here. The old nasty bus depot that often doubled as a homeless shelter (full of homeless bussed down one way from New York) and a Meth clinic. Well now it is a state of the art Fire House with a shiny engine. There is a new O-rena center with a rooftop bar that so looks like it wants to be in NYC it’s not even funny. The old Church Street station has been completely revamped and I do have to say I’m a fan of the new tapas restaurant, Ceviche’s, inside that has a large stage up front for Flamenco performers that took me back to my days in Spain.
There are however 2 things in Orlando that haven’t changed. Firstly, the traffic!!! It still sucks royally!!!!! An hour and a half to go 10 miles?!?! Really?!?! And why is it that people who live in FL don’t know how to drive in the rain??? Still???? The other thing that hasn’t changed are my friendships. I caught up with a girlfriend I haven’t seen in atleast 8 years!!! We met while we were dating twin brothers….is that grammatically correct??? I mean, she was dating one twin and i was dating the other, we weren’t actually dating twins at the same time, not that I don’t think we are capable of it. 😉 Anyhow, it was like time hadn’t passed, except we had a ton to catch up on. I saw an old Engineering co-worker and after hearing how the economic crash has affected the field I actually think I am probably better off as an LMT! And of course I had the big Friday night out with the ladies. It was surreal going back downtown on a Friday night for Happy Hour. It was like a return to Mecca since that’s where our friendships all began way back when our waistlines were smaller but so was our life experience. We were so young and stupid! The things we did, the boys we got hung up on & the stupid things we said. So it only seemed a completely appropriate ending to the evening as my girlfriend Steph and I were dancing that some very young bucks came over to hit on us. Yeah, we still got it! 🙂