Daytona Gonzo Part 01 - "Humans"

By: Lorri Primverra

Before I moved to Florida, about two years ago now, I had heard tales of the strange and dangerous humans creeping around here.  I heard stories of cannibals and bath salts, drug lords, alligators, Xanadu...But living here these two years, I’ve seen only a few truly strange and unusual people.  Most people around Daytona are just like any I’ve encountered and disliked when I lived in Georgia, with few exceptions.  I once met this lady, sitting next to me at the bus station on Earl Street.  She told me with all seriousness and concern to look out for the railroad stake sticking out of one of the buildings by the Peabody, as it’s used for killing prostitutes.  “Ohhhkay,” I said.  “Thank you. Does this bus go to the mall?”  I don’t think she was calling me a prostitute, but I’m not sure. I feel like she just sits there every day and tells unsuspecting women that story to freak them out.

  Then there’s the sign charmer on the corner of Ridgewood and Dunlawton in Port Orange.  Have you ever seen her?  She has bright blonde hair, wears pink and black and looks like a very energetic enthusiastic tiny senior-citizen-selling-gently-used-furniture cheerleader.  I’ve passed her strange roadside show so many times I’ve grown a fandom of my own.  I saw her once in the Dollar Tree and almost spit out my gum in awkward surprise.  I had to relocate to a different part of the store...She’s that good.  

  Last but not least, I’d like to bring it home a little bit and mention some of the street locals I’ve come to (almost creepily) watch pass through the neighborhood.  I live on a rather infamous the cops. I’ve even been robbed for the first time in my life.

  So, locals:  My favorite, by far, is my friend Earl.  When I first moved into the neighborhood Earl was sitting on his building stoop waving at me.  I waved back.  When I leave for work in the early morning he’s there sitting on the stoop.  When I come home for lunch he’s there.  When I get home in the evening or look out the window at 3AM:  There!  So that’s Earl, AKA Stoop Kid.

  Slightly Mad Max is another barely mentionable character.  He’s middle-age, rides a bicycle with chopper style handlebars, way laid back seat and weird flags or something in the rear on a basket, plays loud soft rock music and rides around the neighborhood scavenging items from the trash.  I admire his recycling and apocalyptic survival efforts.

  Other passersby just have nicknames, just so I can keep track of the locals and be aware of my surroundings.  Let’s see…You’ve got Ben Folds (who spat at me one day when I walked past his house, not sure why), Blondie, Groovy, and White House to name a few.  I keep a close eye on White House.  He looks like he’s always up to no good, and he lives in a white house. 

  I ride my bike to work, so there are a couple of barely notable characters on my route, but I’ll save those for another time.

  In the few years I’ve lived here, I feel I have yet to really dig into the culture and find places to hang out, or people to hang out with, but I am exploring my surroundings and am gathering a list of places I like to go to avoid the Daytona doldrums.  My next article: “Get Out of Town!  But While You’re Here…”