This picture was taken aboard a dinner cruise – yes, a dinner cruise – in Tampa on Tuesday night. We set sail from a berth on the downtown waterfront and then swept back and forth for several hours, not ever getting very far from the spot where the cruise started – for instance, I don’t think we ever got as far as actual Tampa Bay – as the sun sank in the west. And you know? The food was industrial, the views were puzzling, but it was all just great. I was with good friends and respected colleagues on a beautiful night in a new to me place, and how often does that happen?
Tampa, now. The other day I mentioned how so much of old Tampa has been erased, except for the rare outcroppings of red brick, cobbles, 1920s details. One thing that struck me on this business trip was that so many of the service people – the folks who met us at the airport, the bartender on this vessel, the chauffeurs who drove the limousines and hefted our considerable luggage – are old. Not middle aged, but old, and still on the job. And not in a rewarding relaxing way. Once, they had hoped to be wise old owls cruising into the glowing sunset.