Written by Jonathan Aryeh Wayne, March 8, 2017

As I cruised along the boardwalk, I knew that the bicycle was not meant for me. Standing up on the wheels while pedaling was not ideal for my knees or sanity. Yet, here I was amongst a circus of tourists and beach bums. I was on my way to a cafe to meet a potential new friend from Quebec, but I had only talked to her once on the phone prior to this meetup. Two hours later I was by myself again on Hollywood Beach in Florida, after a disastrous dinner at a Peruvian restaurant where not only was I not hungry (since I had eaten a big lunch several hours earlier), but I had forced myself to eat deep fried yuca sticks in a tasteless cheesy sauce across the table from a woman who happened to be a big Trump supporter. Things went from bad to worse as the blonde French Canadian called me “negative” and “sad” whenever I uttered a single piece of criticism towards Mr. Trump, while all around me, tourists were having the time of their lives drinking margaritas and growing more intoxicated by the moment. To top it all off, the woman I had met had expected me to pay for the meal entirely, and when I proposed we split the check, she threw her credit card down in disgust. I watched the plastic card do some backflips before rolling to its resting place on the edge of the table, a few inches away from the restaurant’s check holder. I tried to explain to her that some women who happen to be Feminists might be insulted if their meal was presumptively paid for by a man. The blonde French Canadian woman could only smirk at my apparently cruel reasoning behind this. No, this dinner date had not gone well at all. As her memory faded away in the distance after I graciously helped her call an Uber, I took that bicycle I had borrowed at the inn I was staying at 2 miles north of here, and walked with it back to the boardwalk. I couldn’t recite poetry to the bicycle because it probably wouldn’t care about that, nor could I do a mind meld with this neglected piece of modern engineering, so I did the only thing I could do after such a traumatizing human experience: I sampled some ice cream!

“I sat down slowly as I groaned from the first degree sunburn and stared out into the dark Atlantic Ocean, hoping to spot some UFOs.”

I had discovered a little Häagen-Dazs ice cream parlor on the beach earlier, so I stopped there first and had a sample of their cookie dough ice cream via a tiny plastic spoon. I said thank you to the sales clerk and headed up the boardwalk looking for that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlor I had seen before. At this point, I was feeling a bit more indulgent, so I decided to have 2 naughty little samples this time around. First was a bit of “Americone Dream”, and then a tipsy taste of “Bourbon Brown Butter”, before I fled the ice cream parlor with 2 wooden sticks jutting out of my mouth. I was overdosing on ice cream samples at that moment, as my teeth crunched down hard on the splintered wood. The 2 or 3 grams of sugar I just ingested had already been too much! I jumped back on that illicit bicycle of mine and started doing circles and turns like some crazed lunatic, dodging fat American tourists drenched in toxic perfume. I had no idea where I was going or what I was supposed to do now, but then I discovered some live Cuban music being performed outside at the Hollywood Beach Theatre. Only 10 or 15 minutes were left of the bustling performance as the show was ending soon at 9 pm. I stood there and watched as fellow travelers and globetrotters danced to the Latin melodies. I also heard a disgruntled couple arguing as they walked by me. After the music ended, I mounted the bicycle and performed some wheelies, zigzagging around the crowded square, trying not to crash into anyone. My sunburned face and body needed the cool breeze along with some aloe vera, so I headed away from the monstrous throngs of superficial people. Ice cream be damned, for I was on a mission to find some wild aloe growing now as I desperately needed some of nature’s medicine after the poison I had just experienced tonight. I pedaled faster and faster as I made my way up along the boardwalk. Fewer and fewer people were along my route, until I hardly saw anyone at all. Finally, not a single soul was visible.

When I finally hit Hollywood’s North Beach Park, I was already a mile away from the bedlam that I had left behind. Here I passed sea turtles quietly nesting in the mangroves, as well as a lone raccoon I saw scurrying along the forlorn road. In the thick brush along the beach, crickets chirped peacefully as the onshore breeze swirled the subtle aroma of saltwater into the air. Palm trees softly swayed while sea birds rested in them. The crescent moon had set not too long ago to the west, but Jupiter and nearby Arcturus were just over the eastern horizon above the Atlantic ocean. I parked the bicycle and returned to the bench along the beach that I had discovered just a few nights earlier, as it sat overlooking the ocean, only 10 or 12 feet from the surf. In between were expensive oceanfront homes, yet here was a narrow empty beach lot with a thin stone path that led to this wonderful wooden bench with a back rest. I sat down slowly as I groaned from the first degree sunburn and stared out into the dark Atlantic Ocean, hoping to spot some UFOs. My sandals were caked in sand as my gaze meditated somewhere between the stars and the shoreline. The gentle breeze was coming out from the south south east tonight, unlike the fierce easterly winds I had experienced two nights earlier. I finally found some nearly wild aloe vera growing in front of a nearby beach motel and picked a little stem off. I smeared the gelatinous substance all over my red skin and the coolness overcame my senses. The warm breeze made me shiver in that moment and the poisonous human pollution I had experienced earlier was long over. I thanked the aloe vera plant and gave gratitude to its healing powers and said goodnight to the cheap bicycle that I wasn’t meant for, along with Western culture that I found rather incompatible with my aspirations in life. The folly of Hollywood Beach did not stimulate me in a positive way, because in the end I found so much more enrichment and bliss in Mother Earth.