Some Things I’ve Noticed Since Moving To Florida
When I went into my third surf shop in a row, my colleague, from Canada, no less, turned to me with serious confusion.
“Aren’t they, you know, just flip-flops?”
That’s when I realized, my change over to Floridian had begun.
The need for a decent pair of flip-flops. Because it was a slap in the face, a stomp on the toe. I had obviously not communicated to him the importance of what was going on since I had moved to Florida. Sure, during the day, I’m a mild-mannered teacher. I wear that tie, even in 900 degree heat, but when I get home, those shoes are thrown to the back of the closet with the abandon of an eleven year old and those flip-flops are on.
I’ve gone to formal events where I’ve noticed flip-flops.
In fact, when I went home to Colorado for a quick visit in May one year, I had to have someone actually remind me to actually take some kind of shoe, preferably warm, you know, just in case.
And there are so many to chose from. Some that go between the toes. Some that go over the top of the foot. Some look nice. Some are just for the beach. Some are for driving. Some you keep in the car for when it rains and you flood that other pair.
Flip-flops. You’ll be buying some when you take the plunge.
The need for really cheap sunglasses. I actually sold sunglasses during college for one of those hipster, 80’s, overpriced kiosks in the center of your local mall. Had to make money somehow. So, after a while, I started to learn a few things. Sizes and shapes that help your face. Some for sports. Some for those outdoor weddings.
All of them became useless when I rode my first Florida roller coaster.
No, I didn’t lose them. I put them in the side pocket of my cargos and they became something akimbo to spaghetti. Second pair? I had those hung around my neck like a snowboarder until I rode Space Mountain and found bruises on my chin. So that idea had to be retooled.
Got smart. Went to the flea market in Mount Dora and bought a few.
And I’ve not looked back since. You’ll be using them, trust me. It’s why it’s called the Sunshine State.
The need to switch from six to eight months of winter to year round summer. My family, always really quite good at guilt trips, loved to point out the incessant heat as a factor of how I’d be miserable. And, in this case, they almost won. But we lived in Colorado, a place known for terrific winter activity (skiing! snowmobiling! snowboarding!) and mild summers (cabins! tents!).
If you like that sorta thing.
But we didn’t. I’m not an outdoorsy kinda guy. I ended up having to bundle up, go to work, strip down, work, bundle back up, go to the gym, strip down, change clothes, and then, and then, and then.
You get the picture.
And, it being Colorado, winter was a fickle manx, lasting anywheres from 23 minutes in October and hanging around until May, maybe June, even longer if you’re in the mountains some where.
Here? Summer arrives and leaves. And during those three months, you find that you’re inside, as if you were in winter. Plus side? No changing of clothes. You just go inside, wait until the air cools you and then head back outside. Unless you’re like me. I hate the “fake air” of A/C, so I tend to go in and out to keep my blood temps somewhere in between.
The decision had to be made. An ongoing summer? Or hunker down during winter? There’s a certain joy about opening windows during Christmaskkah time, and maybe going to the beach. About trick-or-treating without having to worry about fitting your costume on over your parka. For us, it was much easier to deal with the neverending summer than the hiccough of winter.
And there’s something to be said about expecting summer to end and the school year to begin. Of course, it does begin, but it really cushions the blow.
The need to understand what a “Swing State” is. I hate politics just as much as the next author, but this post isn’t really about that. It’s about what it means to be in a state where we can decide the fate of our political nation. My garsh, the politicos come here in droves and if you think car commercials are bad, wait until you see the lack of creativity someone running for a higher office has. You’ll be drummed up on both sides, regardless of the issue or belief system. I find it does work in our favor-I get alot of reading done when I turn off the television and pick up my e-reader! But, jiminy, I hated politics before I arrived. And now? They keep yelling at me every four years! Who knew?
“Oh, look, dear, another president is visiting…..”
The need to know that Annual Passes are, like, a thing. When I lived in Colorado and had to leave early to catch a plane, I did my best to not say a word. Even if I was wearing flip-flops before exiting the schools. Most in Colorado? They vacation to the neighboring states to continue skiing, or to just ski, or, to, maybe, go skiing. Some will cabin and ride on a snowmobile. To and from skiing.
But when the questions would arrive, I would have to be honest.
I was going back to a Disney Park.
“Why? You were just there?”
I’m telling you, it was easier to come out of the closet then to come out of the Disney closet. Guest would arrive and I would have to box up Mickey Mouse ears by the ton and erase my internet history to hide all the fan sites I had been visiting.
Then? I arrived in Florida.
After two months, my superior walked by my classroom to inquire,”so? Have you got an annual pass yet? Or are you waiting a bit?”
I was ready.
What’s even funnier? There are a bevy of people I work with that are just not Disney Fans. To them, it’s a reason for a tax break. They’ve grown up here and don’t particularly attend unless someone is visiting or their grandkids wish to go. But? They don’t look down on you at all. On occasion, they’ll even ask if you went to the parks and they had heard about a new show or something. But they don’t think you’re the fool. A nice change.
You’re sweating. Wait, so am I! No worries. There’s something about living in low humidity for all of you life. When you sweat? You don’t really sweat, that’s for sure. You could be in the Colorado highlands and the temperatures are soaring, but, without water, evaporation keeps your pits clear, as it were.
Then? You move to Florida. During the middle of summer, going to get the mail can be an exercise in patience. You learn how to cool down very quickly in a car’s A/C or a home’s foyer. But the thing is, if you go and visit a friend, you find that you’ve relaxed enough that the sweat that’s dripping from your forehead you don’t realize until your friend from Calgary says something about their own wetmarks. Since everyone’s sweating, you just take it as as status quo.
You also learn to keep a small bag of clothing in the car during certain times of the year. It’s just a healthy habit, especially with working with the public!