Greetings From Florida

florida3Well, I’ve arrived.

For those of you not keeping tabs on my recent ordeals, I’ve been in the processes of moving from New York to Florida. And, not that you have to, you can read up on the process here, here. But man, what a long road it’s been.

I could tell you the woeful tales of sleeping on the floor for a week. I could mention a Geo Metro containing a cargo of two doped up cats and enough stuff to choke a SUV on the road for two days, heading south without air conditioning.

But a story with anything to do with Florida needs weather – hurricanes and tropical storms to be exact.

So let us zoom in on the last night on the road; your hero heading into the little town of Florence, South Carolina. We (my mom and I) came at the town from the north, as most carpetbaggers do. However, being without television for the past five days, we did not know that someone was coming in from the coast. So tropical storm Gaston hit the motel at the same time we did. Luckily we got the room before he. But Gaston got the better of us because he didn’t have luggage carry across what became a very humid parking lot.

Leave it to Disney to influence the weather.

Night passed and morning dawned, and all was good. We gather up the cats from their hiding spots. One was hiding behind the toilet; the other was behind the bed, which was funny, since pet friendly motels put their beds on a huge block of metal to prevent animals from going under the mattress. Let’s just say we didn’t hit the road as early as planned.

And soon enough we’d arrive in what we would call home… for a few days anyway. Because, just as soon as we got milk in the fridge, Frances arrived on Florida’s doorstep. So we packed the cats back up and headed to my cousin’s house, for people in “manufactured” homes (read, trailer) were forced to leave. That was Thursday. Frances on the other hand broke his leg somewhere on the Gulf Stream and hobbled towards us at about 4mph. Not fun.

And to home again we go. Two hurricanes later, I’ve discovered that Florida is a windy place. They say it isn’t really… that this is a freak of nature… that there will never be a season like this again. They don’t know me very well. Bad luck follows me like something that follows something else really, really closely.

Yeah, I’m not in the mood for simile. I’ve been pecking at this essay on and off for a about a month now, in between furniture shopping and evacuations; so, I just want to finish. And I will now do so with the two planned observations about Florida I was going to write (more to follow, I assure you):

There is no such a person as a native Floridian. No one is actually ever born in Florida; everyone move here. Oh, there are plenty of conceptions; that’s why they built Miami. But no one has Florida stamped on their birth certificates. Everyone here is from Long Island, NY. And you know this because when they see NY plates; it’s the first thing out of their mouths. There are also many Texans here, who must have made a short stroll across the gulf.

Floridians don’t get tan from sunbathing. They get tan from driving. Everything around here is miles from everything else, so long car rides are required. Coupled with the lack of cloud cover, the notion that sun block ain’t needed in cars and the fact that everyone here was a former pale New Yorker – there’s a lot of color to be had.

And finally I’m finished, now on to write my Hurricane Jeanne article. But before I go, have some snaps from Florida (read on).



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Written by

Ryan Livingston

Ryan Livingston