Took a walk around the local geocaches, ended up trapped for half an hour in a nightmarish retirement community. Endless identical white single-story houses with garages and immaculate lawns, the streets deserted in the baking January afternoon. I was half-expecting octogenarian Stepford wives to come hobbling after me with trays of synthetic cookies. Many of the houses appeared to belong to retired military men, there were a lot of star-spangled banners (not many people know that it actually got its name from a Jimi Hendrix tune!), and a memorial garden at one end of the grizzled ghetto had many plaques speaking of wars fought before my parents were born.
Two signs of life cheered me. One was surreal: the area was full of Muscovy ducks, big fat motley ones with red knobbly wattle over their beaks. Fearless, they came waddling up to me briskly, expecting to be fed. The other made me sigh with relief: an old black woman was sitting in her garage with the door open, a radio playing jazz, the car-space furnished as if it were the porch of a traditional Southern house. Granny, you made this skinny white boy’s day.
In other news, I have been interviewed by a minion of my overlords and I will spend tomorrow volunteering for conference preparation work at the James Randi Educational Foundation.