Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Spring is breaking out all over

That noise you hear is springtime breaking out all over as March arrives like a lion.

On Monday, I joined a reporter and photographer at Rock’It Lanes to interview Spring Break early risers who had walked from their condos and hotel rooms to get a free breakfast. Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers cooked pancakes while Christian college students with “Beach Reach” staffed the buffet line and worked the tables.

A “Macarena” video played on the projection screen in the background as we interviewed visitors and volunteers. A few gave us wary looks; after all, just who were these older guys walking through the venue with cameras? Creep much?
For the record, we did not eat pancakes — but only because the line was so long.

The dull roar of Monday morning built to a scream on Tuesday afternoon, when Panama City Beach hosted a Guinness Book of World Records official, gathered thousands of onlookers on the sand and registered 450 young women to walk a mile in their two-piece beachwear. They passed the time before the walk by dancing the “Dougie.”

I asked News Herald writer Pat Kelly, who covered the event, if being in that crowd had made him feel old or young. He said, basically, that either one is a state of mind and he never feels old unless he lets himself. I figured that’s an enlightened state of being, right there.
I wasn’t on the beach that day. Instead, as the parade moved from Harpoon Harry’s to the pier and back again, I was a few miles away at the Panama City Beach Library. A couple dozen men and women with a few more decades (and considerably more clothing) on them than the paraders were gathered to hear about changes to the newspaper industry since the beginning of the Internet Age.

Here, the sound of spring was shushed for library patrons. Even so, the session was not so much about swapping “back in my day” stories as you might think. “Right Here, Right Now” played on a video we watched, and the group questioned me about everything from delivery systems to filtering the massive amount of information we have to absorb today.

Having reviewed my entire career (mentally, if not aloud) during the course of that talk, I stopped by Zen Garden for a moment of peace. The chief sound effect was of a water fountain in the backyard pond and breeze through the trees.

Once again centered, I talked briefly to Tony Johnson at Mr. Surf’s about the upcoming Skim Jam, then spoke with a public relations woman about a former adult film star who is coming to the beach this week to use Spring Break crowds to spread the word about his new rum label.

These are strange days, indeed, and the question occurs to me — I wonder what ides sound like? Check back here on the 15th; maybe, a little older and wiser, we’ll have the answer.

(This is my column for March 8.)

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