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Random House Audio Presents A Game of Bluetooth Phones Book One of A Song of Humidity and More Heat by George R. R. Martin, read for you by Roy Datrice.

Prologue:

I listened to a lot of the A Song of Ice and Fire (“Game of Thrones”) series on audiobook this summer.  Actually, I listened to so much that I wrote the above by memory. Each audiobook runs for about forty hours, I got through four. I recommend the audiobooks quite a lot; George R. R. Martin knows how to write a solid fantasy series, though I do typically prefer a few more wizards in the mix. Also, Roy Datrice really gets beneath the skin of the characters he reads for. Well, until you hit the fourth novel, then he starts to adjust the voices to better match the television series, but nevertheless it is a good way to pass the time.

I spent a lot of my summer figuring out how to make time pass with ease. This summer I worked as a landscaper at a small Orlando hotel, which will remain unnamed because they paid well. Now, landscaping does not sound like such hard work when you think of how much of an urban jungle Orlando has become, but I just so happened to be working in a urban rainforest. The hotel sits happily on Lake Lucerene (a glorified pond), adjacent to the towering I-4 ramp that would give even the most avid George R. R. Martin fan a spook when an ambulance blared pass. Across from its parking lot rests construction-filled Orlando, but within the hotel’s property rests a beautiful mismatched set of repurposed mansions (and one retro hotel building), all surrounded by a gorgeous cascade of greenery. It was my job to maintain the gorgeousness of this greenery, despite the fact that people often hold of on their marriages until fall in Florida, so that the bride’s face of makeup doesn’t melt off before the vows are over. Mulching, weeding, Christmas-light-stringing, and every kind of grounds maintenance you can imagine became my job. To make the moist Florida heat hours pass faster, I had my A Song of Ice and Fire.

Despite the unpleasant nature of my job, I actually had it pretty good. My job was solitary. Anything, literally any job, is better than dealing with summer Disney tourists. When it wasn’t solitary, it was filled with a very colorful cast of characters. Of course, there were the maids who would talk about me in Spanish; until they figured out I could understand them. They later accepted me into their culture because I could vacuum under the mattresses. The part-owner and woman who hired me, Paula, mother to a long-time personal friend, loves me so much that oftentimes I would just talk with her about life for an hour-or-so (on the clock). It wasn’t hard to impress my superiors because Paula’s son, who I replaced as he headed up to college, was always too high to mulch. Oscar, my direct superior and full-time custodian of the hotel, is a proud Puerto-Rican (accent included), sassy gay man, but from New Hampshire.  He loves to gossip; when he isn’t gabbing away on his Bluetooth, he likes to remind me that he’s gayer than the Fire Island production of RENT. The drama in this man’s life! If there wasn’t a new intimacy problem with his now ex-boyfriend, there was something even more ridiculous to be said about his club lifestyle. Not to mention, Oscar was a sworn nemesis to the once-a-week professional landscaper. Their rivaled past is a story worthy of Roy Datrice’s narration, but for another day. The people at my job made it worth the blood, sweat, and tears… of the fictional characters I listened to on my iPod.

Despite the blistering heat and mundane nature of my labor, I liked my summer job. It taught me a lot, exposed me to a new culture of people, and most importantly, gave me an absurd amount of expendable income

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