1. Never, ever trust an elderly gentleman who says he's never been to a particular place in the world. Odds are very good he's pulling your leg. I had the supreme good fortune to have my check-in nerves soothed by a couple of Johns. Really, both of these gentlemen were named John. After signing my life away to WTC and promising I would never even think of the phrase lawsuit at the same time as I participate in IM FL, I sat down with these two gentlemen to receive my numbers, my chip, my cap and all the other good stuff. John asked where I was from, to which I replied: 'Pensacola, just up the way.'
"Never heard of it."
"You're kidding," I said. As I began to mention the relative distance from PCB, Destin, FWB & other locations on Planet Earth, I saw the slightest twinkle come to the eyes of both Johns. At that moment, I laughed and said, 'ah, so THAT'S why I feel that tugging sensation at my ankle...pull my leg, will ya?' We had a great conversation which lasted probably about ten minutes after that, got the necessary business completed, and went on my merry way.
2. Wal-Mart is the same no matter where you go, except for the layout. After a late luncheon at Pineapple Willy's we made the command decision to acquire some light snacks, social beverages and ibuprofen, and quickly. A four-buck Abita Amber will do that to you every time. Fortunately for us, there's a Wal-Mart approximately a stones' throw from the hotel.
Nothing changes from store location to store location. Trust me on this one. Go to the web site People of Wal-Mart.com and you'll understand what I mean. I swear I've seen each of those people in each location I've ever visited. Well, it was a little different for this trip, as you had pre-race triathletes going through the grocery and personal care sections, too.
The dichotomy was pretty funny. There was a lean, hawk-faced, serious-looking gentleman in front of Suzanne and me (was in the 10 items or less line) with six bottles of PowerAde, two packages of lettuce hearts, two packages of tomatoes, a package of frozen chicken filets, two sweet potatoes, and a few other salad makings here and there. There we were with a box of ibuprofen, a box of Clif Bars and a 12-pack of Corona. The Brasilians behind us, I think, were somewhere in between the two extremes, well, at least they were smiling. Suzanne asked if they were here for Ironman...of course, they spoke little English. I held up my wristband and smiled. They held up theirs. Suzanne wished them luck...which they didn't catch. I told them Bom Suerte, pidgin bastardized Spanish/Portuguese for good luck, to which they smiled.
"...every body every where smiles in the same language..." - Wooden Ships (Jefferson Airplane)