I’ve been at Jack Kerouac’s House at the JK Project in Orlando for just over a week now, and I wonder – could it feel like home already?
A friend reminded me the other night on the phone how when you have few errands to run (if any), no office to go to (just Jack’s room in the back of the house), and don’t have to get in your car to live your daily life (only once so far to buy a printer cartridge), then finding a great place to spend your days, maybe ANY place, can feel pretty good. That may be true, but I do like the College Park neighborhood in Orlando. It reminds me of some of the wonderful neighborhoods in Chicago where walking is the usual mode of transportation and there are great coffee shops, an old-school diner, a hardware store, places of worship, and a solid grocery store all within a short bike ride or walk.
And the people have been friendly, like most, really. It’s not just a Orlando trait, is it? But I did meet a sweet lady today. Helen is my neighbor just across from Jack’s house. I’ll give her first name only for her privacy. She lives there with her sweet dog, Sarah. She, the dog, appears to have some Basset Hound in her, but I’m not sure. Sarah has those stubby legs, those big ears, and that bulky body. Scratch her tummy and she moans.
College Park and Jack’s neighborhood does not have a lock on hospitality or friendliness, but what it does have is a willingness to embrace a stranger, a writer-type that lives alone in a tiny house where no one knows what’s really going on in there. They respect my space, my need for some solitude, but still – like all the rest of us – want to connect.