What had happened was… my husband was browsing through the “auto parts” section on Craigslist one Friday night.
Husband: Babe, I found a bed cover for my truck on Craigslist, smokin’ deal!
Husband: Seriously, same color as my truck y todo!
Husband: It’s only $100 but… it’s in Fort Myers.
For those unfamiliar with the geography of Florida, the state has its own East Coast-West Coast thing going on. Fort Myers is on the West Coast, we live on the East Coast — it’s about a two and half hour drive.
My husband suggests we make a day of it, see the other side. I enthusiastically reply with, “Road trip!” and immediately smile at the thought of spending some quality time together – alone – and away from the youngest teen daughter who had just told warned me that she would be in full PMS mode by the weekend and “Why aren’t there any chips in this house!” *stomp, stomp, door slam*
So we tell the kids we’re disappearing for the day, put the oldest one in charge and hope for the best.
The two and a half hour drive was looonnngggggg. Don’t get me wrong, the company was great. It’s just that I’ve never seen so many damn cows in my life… and farms… which makes sense because that’s where cows live – duuuhhh!
Obviously, there’s no shortage of cows in Florida, which got me thinking… if there is no shortage of cows in Florida… why does a gallon of milk cost five dollars!!! WTF, Florida!
While we’re on the subject of overpriced grocery items… why does a HALF gallon of orange juice cost five dollars!!! Doesn’t orange juice come FROM Florida!
Whatever, note to self (we’re out of milk and orange juice), moving on…
I don’t know why, but I was looking forward to seeing the different cities villages in between the two coasts and possibly stopping along the way for lunch.
Husband: Well, this is Okeechobee. Wanna stop?
Me: No fuckin’ way!
Have you ever been to Okeechobee? Google it, I dare you.
As we finally entered Fort Myers city limits, my husband started up the GPS on his phone with the seller’s address… and the address led us straight to a U-Haul storage facility.
Odd… But, hey, maybe he works there. Maybe he stores it there. Maybe he doesn’t want some stranger from Craigslist knowing where he lives.
Wrong, wrong, very wrong.
My husband calls the seller who says we should get back on the main road, head north, and that he’ll meet us in his golf cart because “there’s no street sign ‘round here.”
We follow his instructions and after about a mile, we see him… waiting for us in his golf cart, drinking a beer… with his severely obese elementary school-aged son who I swear is also chugging a beer… It’s 10 a.m.
The seller was right. There is no street sign. BECAUSE THERE IS NO STREET!
It’s a dirt road along a canal… a canal lined with thick brush and trees on both sides.
Husband: You’re the guy selling the bed cover, right?
Craigslist guy: That’d be me.
(He sounds like Billy Bob Thornton’s character, “Karl” on “Sling Blade” and I really want to hear him say, “I like them French fried potaters.”)
Husband: So this is Fort Myers, huh?
Craigslist guy: North Fort Myers. We do things diffurnt up herr.
As soon as we start to follow him down the dirt road with no street name, my husband and I both realize that it doesn’t take long to be completely out of view from the main street and that the only information our kids have about our whereabouts is that we’re somewhere in Fort Myers.
NO ONE KNOWS WHERE WE ARE!
I quickly sent a text to our kids with a photo of the dirt road with the message, “THIS is where your father brought me!” I send the same photo to my mom with some sort of incoherent, rambling text that ends with “I love you, mom!”
My husband then tells me that I may want to take pics of our surroundings, just in case. Waaaayyyy ahead of you, honey!
The golf cart suddenly makes a sharp left into the trees and we were all like, “WTF! He just turned into those trees!”
What we couldn’t see – until we made the same sharp left – is that there was actually a small opening in the trees that led to a small colony of (dilapidated) mobile homes sprawled across a vacant patch of land. It’s as if they walked into the woods together, picked a spot and said, “This is where we’ll park the houses.”
Aside from the trailers, this acre or so of land proudly displayed the worldly belongings of what I’m sure were fine, upstanding citizens – used tires, a mountain of empty beer cartons stacked five feet high, various animal hides, homemade buggy jeep thingies, random satellite dishes (on the ground), tons and tons and tons of scrap metal… and the confederate flag.
Cue the banjo music…
I don’t know how to aptly describe the residents of this canal-front community, but you know the type. The “my sister is also my mother, you sure got a pretty mouth, I like them French fried potaters” type. These people were clearly living off the mutha fuckin’ grid.
My husband starts to get out of our truck to talk to the Craigslist guy and I start getting really nervous because one of two things is about to happen: I either get out of the truck with him and (gulp) interact with these people or I stay in the truck – alone. I don’t like either of these options, but I go with the latter.
I inform my husband of my decision to stay in the truck and he replies with, “Good call. I don’t think they like your kind” (read = non-white and unrelated).
As my husband and the Craigslist guy start chatting, they start to walk behind one of the trailers and out of site. My heart starts to race a little bit, but then I think to myself, “Hey, if anything happens, I’ll just call my husband on his cell.” Then I look down and see that my husband has left his cell phone on the seat of the truck. WTF, babe!
This, I think to myself, this is where I’m going to die.
My husband suddenly re-appears (Thank you, baby Jesus!) and I immediately rip his ass over leaving his cell phone in the truck. He tells me the bed cover is perfect (well, whipty-freakin-do!) but that we have to drive around to the back to get to it.
We drive from the front of the trailer to the back, passing the most random things along the way – a new Cadillac (but where was the real owner?), several mattresses, a refrigerator, more used tires and scrap metal, and chairs of all shapes and sizes.
Finally, my husband gets back into the truck, turns me to me and says, “Babe… I. Am. So. Sorry. I’m really, really sorry. Now let’s get the fuck out of here!”
Of course I can’t really keep my husband off of Craigslist… but every time he mentions a “smokin’ deal” on a flux capacitor or whatever chingadera he finds on that pinche garage sale website, I just say: Remember Fort Myers? North Fort Myers.