Problems with Florida

I think home is what you make of it. Just stay put and good things will happen to you. Build relationships, build your community. Don’t hate the outsiders that come and visit - or stay!

Having said that, however, I go on to say this: That if you are going to move to Florida, let me state a few things that will not change no matter how much whining and complaining or hoping you do. I say this based on two conversations I had this past week, one with a Boston native who seems to think baseball is just about to turn the corner into a more popular sport than soccer - apparently there is some sort of “international baseball” competition in which a whopping 30 some odd countries participate (note my dripping sarcasm). The second conversation happened with a girl at the airport who just got off the Greyhound bus from Oklahoma City, in Florida for the first time, to come see her boyfriend in Palm Bay. Without a car. Yes, I had to be the one to tell her there was essentially no bus service in Brevard and that she would be going nowhere without her own car or her boyfriend driving her. Seeing that he was several hours late to pick her up, things weren’t looking up. She didn’t know where in Palm Bay she was going - but had heard the word “Malabar” mentioned before on the phone. I tried not to laugh.

So here is what you need to know before you move here. First, come between May and October. That is the real Florida. Those who visit between December and January are setting themselves up for misery.

Insects: If you don’t like bugs, go back. Yes, the mosquitoes are as bad as you heard from that friend. And so are the roaches and the love-bugs. Everything else is tolerable. Except the flies on some days and the wasps occasionally (if you let them build too close to the home). Did I mention the mosquitoes?

The Heat: If you say, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”, look out for a flying lawn tool to hit you in the head. We Floridians hate that saying. It actually is the heat. It is hot. Yes, we have air-conditioning. But we stand out in the street and talk to our neighbors without going inside where it’s cool. Why? I have no idea. So get used to it.

Sports: We like college football, professional football, Nascar, soccer, and golf, in roughly that order. If you don’t like any of those five, go back. If you can like at least two, you’ll do really well here - you might even be elected mayor. I actually do hate Nascar (well, not so much anymore), preferring Formula 1, but I don’t admit that in polite company. I have a family.

Misc: Yes, it is flat. Yes, a lot of Floridians fish - all the time. No, don’t ask about when it is going to get cooler - try to think it will always be this way, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised every once in a while. If you think it is cooler near the water, just go ahead and move back north, the 2-3 degree difference will not be worth the extra $150,000 you paid for the beach-front home. No, we don’t have a lot of hurricanes - just more than where you came from probably - unless you are from Cuba. Speaking of which, if you don’t like Hispanic people, there’s probably something wrong with you (they are all very nice), but you will likely leave before they do, so save yourself the trip. No, you can’t walk anywhere and even if you can, you won’t. And no, we don’t wear Jimmy Buffet Hawaiian shirts everywhere, but yes, nobody bothers getting dressed really much at all.

Technorati : Florida, heat, life

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