Steve and I had talked about what time to start the day, so I awoke around 1030, with him letting me know breakfast was downstairs.
I got the crazy hair under control, and threw on some clothes to head downstairs.
Since he is a pilot, he travels. A perk of this is having absolutely mind blowingly delicious French pastries brought fresh from Paris. He poured me a glass of juice in a coffee mug of the worlds greatest football club(another souvenir from Europe), and I had a couple of yummy treats for breaky. After, he gave me a full tour of the beautiful house.
As he opened the trailer in the front driveway, he proudly unveiled his baby, and his passion. A Nascar. It was the legit stuff, complete with sponsor stickers, and although I know diddly-squat about cars, when he lifted the hood, I could tell it was not your average car. He explained how the cars differ from regular ones, and believe me, they differ. It takes like an hour to start them formally, and the process to run them is extremely intricate. He had me suit up and have a seat. I had sat in something kind of similar before, but couldn't believe the restriction in the thing.
You have no mobility, no vision, no control, and no chance should something go wrong. He even mock timed me in getting out should there be a fire. Detaching the steering wheel, popping off the helmet, removing the massive harness, window cage and getting out Dukes of Hazzard style had me out in over 10 seconds, and basically a fried chicken. I never liked Nascar, I never liked cars(I dont even have my G1) and although I still dont, I now have a massive appreciation for them. I always thought of Nascar as hick, lame and so American you could wash your Levis with it. People say watching soccer is like watching grass grow, well in my opinion, watching Nascar is like watching grass grow. At night. With sunglasses on. It would be more painful than a rectal exam from a robot with grappling hooks for hands. Although you'll never catch me in an Earnhardt jacket, I can appreciate what it takes for a driver to do what they do. In 120F heat, unparalleled skill, and Cajones the size of beach balls are must haves to drive those things. I never realized just what it takes to get those cars around the track.
His trailer was outfitted with all the things necessary to have a day at the races, and all the tools to make the beast move. Top speed 230m/h. Um last time I checked, that was fast. It makes the Autobahn look like the a retirement community.
Nathan Proulx. Esquire.
He took me inside and showed a video on his computer of him clocking 180, and the noise from the engine was like a jet.
I will still never get the obsession Americans have with Nascar. It is truly American, and American only.
I made some phone calls, did some Googling and got some rough stuff together to find my boat, but nothing cemented.
Steve offered to take me down to one of the marinas, so off we went, into Ft Lauderdale. I didn't realize it initially, but FtL is actually a better spot than Miami to search for a yacht, as its actually a much busier port, and more accessible. We went to Bayside Marina, and right when we got there, I asked the first chap on the docks. He told me its doable, but tough. Nothing is tough for me(insert Ahhhnold voiceclip) He told me to go into the marina office and grab a few magazines and boating newspapers, as they often have ads in the back looking for crew members. I went in, and asked Connie behind the desk for some further advice. She put in a few calls, but again nothing from her resources were going to Africa, or the Caribbean. I grabbed all of the literature in the place, and thanked her and Steve and I left. I actually had a handful of stuff, including local directories, yacht magazines and papers, and a very, VERY useful guidebook. It had listings for everything yacht essential, and it will actually be my guidebook for this search.
I told him we didn't need to go across town to another Marina, as I had enough for one day, and we headed back to DelRay.
We got back to his place, and Ellen wasn't preparing dinner for a bit.
Steve and I got talking, and somehow the topic turned to the 2nd Amendment. He said he'll be right back, and returned with a small black bag. He asked if I had held a firearm before. I told him nay, and allowed me to.
I had shot guns before, but never a Glock. Never a handgun. Shotguns and rifles, in the bush. I had even hunted, and shot a bunch of birds this summer, but never a handgun. It is totally different.
Hollow point vs regular lead.
Holding a gun is something I do feel everyone should do. We have become so desensitized by guns through Hollywood films, video games, and CNN. We don't realize the impact they have, and the power that comes with them. Guns are no joke kids. FOR FUCKING CEREAL, they are no joke. Steve allowed me to handle an, obviously unloaded, 9mm. Even knowing it was disarmed and incapable of firing, the weight, and feeling of holding it was still nerve racking. I'm no stranger to stupid, crazy and wild antics, and have done lots of shit I know YOU wouldn't do in several lifetimes, but holding a gun had my bollocks shrink.
He taught me how to properly load and unload, and aim with ease. he gave me tips and pointers. He then asked if I had ever fired one. Nay.
"Grab your coat".
He told me what we were doing, and I instantly grew nervous/excited/AMPED/scared/ghiahitjgafgg[h.
My heart started to beat in anticipation. Steve was taking me to the firing range.
When I confided to Ellen I was slightly nervous, she smiled, and told me not to worry.
He got his things together, and I mine, and we got in the car and headed out.
On the way, I was so excited/nervous I was zoning in and out to what he was saying.
We pulled into the parking lot, and it really hit me what we were doing. I was down like a clown, Charlie Brown.
We walked in, and the gun cases were full of revolvers, firearms, laser sight attachments, cases and holsters. There were Pink guns for women, and massive semi-automatic rifles and machine guns hanging on the wall for the trigger hungry marksmen.
Small handguns went for as low was $150, Smith and Wesson's over $800. The big boys on the wall were over a grand, and capable of some serious damage. Florida's gun laws are the most lenient in the country, and if you can provide ID, pay the cost, and pass a background check which only determines if you have been convicted of a felony, you are the proud owner of a people-killing weapon. If you can pass the easy as pie test to get your concealed weapons license, you are allowed to have the bad-boy on you whenever wherever.
We went in, and all I had to do was sign my name on a piece of paper, no ID required, and voila, I was allowed to walk through the doors, and fire away. One of their few rules is that you purchase the ammunition at the range, and Steve bought 3 boxes. Ear plugs and safety goggles on, we were good to go.
We walked through the double doors to the 5 or so men already in there, enjoying themselves. Some were serious business, some were cracking smiles after every few rounds. We got in, and I took of my jacket. Heart was beating, but the nervousness actually left and I was now just pretty excited.
Steve handed me a pack of bullets, 2 clips and a 9mm. I loaded the clips, 16 rounds in each. We pinned our targets up, and sent them down the line.
Now I was pretty excited. I couldn't believe I had a loaded gun in my hand.
To me, the open concept of the range boggles my mind. At any time, I could have turned around and ended everyone's life, and I don't know how we don't hear of some looney bins doing it more often. It was an indescribable feeling of control.
I remembered everything Steve had said about aiming properly, took a deep breath, pulled back the hammer, and charged the gun. It was now loaded, and only needed a tap of the trigger to send a bullet flying out, capable of anything.
I aimed at the target, and pulled the trigger.
It didn't pack as much of a recoil as I had imagined, and was actually surprisingly easy.
I must say, I enjoyed it. Come on, I have to be honest. It was pretty cool.
I fired 3 more.
I looked down at the gun, realizing what I was doing.
I fired 4 more.
I smiled, and re-aimed.
I emptied the clip.
I looked back at Steve who was supervising my shooting, and smiled. He smiled back.
I could feel *doing* a few *doing* chest hairs poke through. It was like a Bar mitzvah or something. I felt like a new man.
I changed clips, and did the same.
Having a blast.
I returned the target, and had a look at my first ever handgun target shooting.
Steve was more than impressed, and happy with his new student. I was beaming. At 20ft, (the average handgun distance) did very well. Only one was out of the inner circle.
I was very happy with my shooting, ans Steve commended my steady hand.
My first target. Not to shabby.
I loaded up 2 more clips, and he drew a mock person on my target.
We fired away many. Many, many.
It was 7 o'glock.
We even put one bullet in, and tried to see who had the better shot. Steve was quite the dead eye, and had me beat easily. I did well, but Steve was a great shot.
We were there about an hour, and with each one could feel my John Henry grow. Its quite the experience shooting a firearm. Its not like the movies. Its REAL. Action stars 'poppin' caps' isnt as easy as it seems. You get an immense feeling of power and control, and it made very clear as to the appeal of shooting for sport. Hunting is one thing, a 9mm in a range is totally different. No wonder gangsters in the ghetto have guns, and find it so appealing to shoot off a few rounds. Ive written a lengthy article on my take on the gun laws, especially in Florida, and will post it in time.
After we emptied the bullet boxes, we packed up, and I shook Steves hand. It was a feeling I will never forget. I cant say I will be running back and returning to chase it again, but who knows. We joked about how much I enjoyed it and I'm now an American, and will be buying a gun next week. Not quite. But the feeling is definitely going to be rekindled.
I thanked the man behind the desk, and asked him a few questions on his perception of owning a gun, and his views on gun laws in Canada. Like most Americans, they feel they need the right to bear arms for safety, and that its necessary.
I walked out of that place with mixed feelings. I truly enjoyed myself, I must say, but I also have a strong resentment towards the American mentality towards carrying a gun. It is completely unnecessary.
We drove home, and told Ellen all about the experience, and we looked over the targets we had riddled holes into.
The proud marksman.
Ellen had cooked up a big dish of pasta and salad, and I was hungry from all the manliness activities. The delicious Penne filled me up along with some dark beer.
I was on the Internet for most of the night, doing my boat hunting thing. It was quite the rush.
Their sons were returning home for a few days, as Spring Break had just begun for College kids nationwide. The eldest is 7 years deep into his law degree, and the younger, 21, is just beginning his. They were due in later that evening.
I got to meet AJ and his girlfriend Jessica. AJ was an incredibly intelligent and well-mannered young man, and his girlfriend was equally as smart and polite. We talked about all kinds of stuff, alot regarding law issues, as I am so intrigued at the difference from the Canadian to American systems.
Seth and his girlfriend Cindy didnt arrive until much later, and I got to meet him just as I was about to call it a night. We talked briefly, and decided to continue in the morning, as we were all yawning.
It was getting late, and we went our separate ways, I went upstairs to continue writing and Googling. I was still buzzing from all the excitement, and the smell of gun powder was still lingering as I fell asleep.
Quite the day. I did some new things; my favourite, and really enjoyed myself. It wasn't hard to fall asleep, and I was out when the lights went out.