Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Poseidon Adventure: Cruising for boys in Naples

Poseidon and I were totally cruised while out on our walk Sunday. Well, it might be more accurate to say that the pile of garbage NEXT to us was cruised. I should not flatter myself; Poseidon was cute though.

We were cruised by a dumpster diver in a battered old Jeep Cherokee. Our boy was more interested in what was in the trash heap on the side of the road than either of us.

Such is the life when you live equidistant between Fifth Avenue South and Bayshore Drive. High-priced women hang out along the corners less than a mile in each direction, but I live in a tiny little slice of paradise.

The furor around the royal baby, HRH Prince George of Cambridge, stirred an interesting train of thought as I walked. Naples has nothing near true royalty, but the very word evokes dreams of golden palaces, servants, elegant rooms and a "lifestyle" of luxury.

Canny real estate developers have been capitalizing on that ever since.

The most desirable portion of Naples sits along a peninsula at the southern end of the city. Port Royal, a neighborhood of ten-figure mansions, enjoys beaches, stately trees and its own security force.

Like grasping courtiers desperate to touch the golden hem of the monarch's gown, "royal" creeps into the name of several neighborhoods across the glimmering expanse of Naples Bay. Into these expanses spill Royal Harbor, Royal Arms and Royal Arms Villas.

My small apartment complex backs onto the farthest-flung outpost of the "royal" empire, a quaint grouping of modest homes known as the Royal Bay Villas. To describe these low-slung blocks of stucco as "villas" is an insult to the word's origins as a country house for wealthy Romans; Caligula retired to larger vomitoriums.

Sundays feature a roving parade of vehicles circling streets, eyeing trash bins or sizing up the condition of a sofa, end chair or some other oddity that catches their eye.

The boldest cruise in the hour before sunset, as homes prep for the night. Some mark finds, hoping to return under the cover of darkness. Others wait until after Sol descends so as to hopefully conceal their activities (or shame!) under the cloak of ebony blackness.

Headlights gleamed in the distance, tiny pinpricks of light that should herald an oncoming vehicle. The lights move slowly, sometimes not at all; beyond, in the well of ink brought on by the night and uncut by non-existent streetlights, we wait.

As our paths march toward each other, Poseidon and I on six legs, the vehicle on four tires, I edge closer and closer to the grassy verge. The car continues to slow; in my naiveté I believe the driver might be exercising caution so as to avoid us.

The drama unspools slowly. Unwilling to walk closer to an unknown object, Poseidon and I wait. The vehicle seems to drive ever slower.

As the headlights grow larger, the driver edges into the oncoming lane; this is not an issue on quiet residential streets at 10 p.m. Except when a neurotic greyhound and I are sharing that lane.

As the lights fix on us, I urge Poseidon to park his hindquarters next to a plastic tub filled with palm leaves and other fallen greenery. I step gingerly between fallen limbs; this driver seems intent on illuminating every inch of us with his headlights.

We wait.

The vehicle passes by. I can clearly see the driver's face. He's staring intently at the cans, hoping for antiques, used furniture of even building supplies. His eyes flit right over both the dog and I. He's clearly not interested in anything we have to offer.

My dreams of roadside romance dashed, I nudge the pooch back onto the road to resume our walk. "He was cute," I thought.

And I proceed to trip over the tree limbs stacked where I was standing.

Cruising. I'm doing it wrong.

4 comments:

  1. The furor around the royal baby, HRH Prince George of Cambridge, stirred an interesting train of thought as I walked. Naples has nothing near true royalty, but the very word evokes dreams of golden palaces, servants, elegant rooms and a "lifestyle" of luxury. Best Cruise Secrets

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  3. We were cruised by a dumpster diver in a battered old Jeep Cherokee. Our boy was more interested in what was in the trash heap on the side of the road than either of us. How to Save Money on a Cruise Ship

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