Saturday, August 1, 2009

Related to that "train" picture

When I first arrived in Sarasota, the first thing that hit me most was the weather. You see, I had been moving for a good portion of my life. I've never stayed in one spot for more than eight years and was recently a resident of North Carolina, a state that has sweltering summers, frigid winters, lovely autumns and bright springs. Sarasota is much like the rest of Florida, a perpetual summer with a small break of cold air in the peak of winter-time. It's a lovely college-student paradise if you can ignore the lack of employment opportunity and keep focus on the fact that it's along the Gulf of Mexico. Sarasota is, beyond a doubt, a place where the bohemian lifestyle is present... for better or worse. With unemployment rampant, places where artists gather also tend to be where unusual characters congregate. Frankly though, that's reality. It's best observed at a coffee-shop that rests along Tamiami trail, just behind my house and across the road from Ringling. It's known as "Big-E's" and all of the students go there because the food is good and the prices are cheap; however, this also means that the shop draws in all sorts of people. As I said before though, this is reality... Not every coffee-shop is a Starbucks with a businessman customer base. The world isn't an idealized vision of prosperity and upheld social norms. Still though, you can find wisdom and character in this sort of mix. I'll likely touch on it now and again throughout this blog, but, for now, I'd rather just focus on the story I promised in my last post... I have to confess, I can only take so much of Sarasota in a year. The economy, the heat, the bugs, the people... the area in general does wear you down. It's one of the reasons I seek to get out of Florida once I'm done with school... though I'm still unsure of where I'll go when things are said and done. Anyway, each year, I take a trip to a friend's and, this year, I took a train the whole way. I left Sarasota early in the morning and arrived in Philadelphia the next day in the afternoon. I go to kind of work for my friend. I'm a volunteer of sorts and I help him do a lot of labor involving a cartooning convention. For the sake of keeping things simple when telling this story, I'll just call my dear friend "Professor Shadow." He is actually a doctor, but the convention he runs is something of a "second life," as he has to manage something that brings a city at least roughly 3.5 million dollars and has an attendance count of over 3000 individuals (I think they broke over 4000 this year if I recall correctly.) Professor Shadow (jeez, sounds like a name for a supervillain) also claims to be a man who "things happen to," and I'm quite inclined to believe him... You see, I was there when one of these "things" happened. We were driving back to his diabolical labratory (his tiny apartment,) after he captured me for experiments (took me out to get supplies for the convention) when the police caught wind of his ill-gotten deeds (he decided to take the senic route through the backroads and woods instead of dealing with the main highway. I'm sorry, I love the whole super-villain thing, I gotta jazz up the story!) It was then that while we were traveling down the road within the forest that we came across a smokey haze that drifted through the trees and across the trail. While Professor Shadow slowed to a crawl, I looked around and -with my sharpened artist eyes- spotted something in the trees that threw me into a frantic panic... There was a S.U.V. on its side... twisted-- no, wrapped around a tree! Professor Shadow heeded my pleas to pull over and immediately got into a "mode" of first-aid and rescue mentality. He got the first-aid kit and put on his gloves while I got my phone ready and called the police. There were two young individuals at the bottom of the ravine, next to the vehicle... one was unconcious while the other wasn't all too there. Professor Shadow managed to get her back to conciousness just as the fire-crews and ambulances arrived, but the S.U.V.'s gas tank was quickly catching fire and threatened to explode at any moment. (I'm not kidding about this by the way... this all was happening right before my eyes...) So the first-responders, Professor Shadow, and I quickly picked up the two yound individuals and carried them quickly up the hill of the ravine to safety as the vehicle went up in flames and charred the nearby brush.

If I hadn't noticed the car, those young kids may have not gotten help in time.

... We saved two lives that day.

Sadly, it's stuff like that you wish you could put on your resume when looking for a job... I bet you'd get a lot more offers then.

"One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself." - Leonardo da Vinci