Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Last Day

I’ll never forget my last day of work in Florida.

I awoke feeling left out and lonely. All of my friends had gone. They had finally packed up all of their shit—minus the garbage—and left me. The smells of sex, drugs and cigarettes had disappeared. The online poker games had been cleared off of my computer. I mean sure, the porn was still there. Thank God for that. But my Florida experience was coming to an end.

After stopping for a routine fruit cup and muffin from 7-Eleven, I arrived at the golf course ready for anything. I was ready for the 9th gate of hell to open up and spew forth any and all individuals who wanted a piece of me and this golf course. I was King of the castle.

I think maybe 15 people decided to play golf that day.

Where was everyone? Mainly, “it was too hot.” For such a warm climate, Floridians are quite temperamental when it comes to the weather. If it’s over 80 degrees, it’s “hot.” If it “cools down” to 58 degrees, they’ve all got sweaters on and look at me like a freak of nature because I decided to stick with a short-sleeve shirt.

“Aren’t you cold?”

“No, I’m from New York.” Well, THAT…AND I’m a normal human being who can adapt to various climates and weather conditions.

The only people who seemed to smile at that comment were the Canadians, who always wore shorts, regardless of the temperature. They also wouldn’t know a cash-tip of I punched them in the face. But that’s another story.

Anyway, it was incredibly slow. I had one caddie available, and I had one request for a caddie in the pro shop. Normally, that meant my day was pretty much over with. Now it was up to me to fill the hours via drinking coffee and eating as much as I possibly could from the kitchen, avoiding any and all suspicions by saying I was working a double shift and needed more food for later in the day.

But today was different. Today I needed to finish the reconciliations for the final bill I was supposed to send the Comptroller of the golf course for “caddie services rendered.” Paychecks depended on it. So I spent most of the day inside, saying my goodbyes and drinking as much coffee as humanly possible.

At 5:30, I waited in the head pro’s office. This was the nerve-racking part. He was scheduled to meet with me and talk about the following year, where I was to be the Caddie Master. Basically, the owners weren’t happy with the caddie program my company had offered to them for the past season, and there was some doubt as to whether or not it would return the following year. So I was meeting with the head pro to talk about it. I was prepared to argue for the continuation of its services. I was not going to come back next year without my company backing me. I was not leaving my company for these people. I was anxious to get the meeting going.

5:50 rolled around. Still no professional of the “Head” persuasion. If he was trying to pull a power move, he was wasting his time. My coffee was wearing off, and I had been at the golf course since 6:20 am. I wasn’t about to wait any longer. So I left him a note, “calmly” explaining that I wasn’t going to leave my company to come back next year and that I hoped he would burn in hell. Or something like that. I can’t really remember.

So I headed for the parking lot. No more goodbyes, no more smiles. It was time to leave.

But as I was leaving the golf course for the last time, I heard a faint voice in the distance. It was female. At first I thought the golf course was getting all “mythical” on me by finally deciding to open its mouth and pay its respects to the man who had given it more play than PRINCE. But as I turned around, I noticed who it was. One of the waitresses from the restaurant was calling to me. I held a hand up around my ear, signifying that I needed her to speak quite a bit louder than she was willing to. And just as the sun was setting, I finally understood what she was trying to say.

“I love you!”

I nodded with chivalrous appeal, thanking both her and the golf course for giving me undoubtedly one of the worst experiences of my life. And that was it. I stuck the key in the ignition and rode off into the sunset, destined to move the last pieces of furniture from my rental house as well as forget to empty the fridge. So I suppose at that moment I should’ve said goodbye to my security deposit as well.

Is it possible to feel both highly accomplished and a complete failure at the same time? Well, prior to my stay in Florida, I would’ve had to say, “NAY.” But as it turns out, I discovered, quite by accident, the undisputable answer to that question. I hope, over the course of my next few posts, that I can illuminate for you my own personal answer, as well as highlight some of my most memorable experiences at this particular golf course.