Saturday, September 24, 2011


Remember how I complained a bit on here about living in Texas last winter? Hey guess what, turns out, that's only because I forgot how evil a place Florida is. Worst state in the Union. The other day I was helping my uncle and another guy set up forms for some concrete to widen my uncle's driveway, a patio, and a walkway connecting the two. Lot of digging, lot of tossing dirt around to get the grade right, considering how high it was. We started kind of late, thanks to the inevitable Home Depot trip, so I didn't get working till around 10:30, and the sun, hereafter referred to as "scareball," was already high.

Did I mention the humidity? That saying about "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" is the truest thing you'll ever hear. I've worked and hiked in the Utah and California deserts, I'm qualified to compare. There, hard work is tolerable, because sweating is an effective temperature regulation strategy. Here-- where it's like breathing through a wet towel, a labor in itself, the air is so heavy-- sweating doesn't work. You just ruin your hydration and sodium balance, and get to keep all the heat to boot. There was hardly any wind, either, so what little evaporation you might have gotten was also nonexistent. Ask me, I'd say this is a dangerous climate to live and work in.

Within an hour I was drenched head to toe with sweat and feeling the early symptoms of heat exhaustion, my head throbbing, almost dizzy at times, and with a pervasive feeling of weakness. And it's the middle of September! Scareball is noticeably lower, but still smites you like a hammer.

I don't know why paradise is so often placed in the tropics. Nobody wants to live in this bullshit. Really, no one does. Most people who live here, don't live here; they live in air conditioning. Until that came around, no one wanted to live in the South. Not even Southerners. It's no wonder they ended up with an image of being lazy and dirty. It's too fucking hot to move! If it doesn't need to be done, it just doesn't get done; it's hard enough keeping up with the necessities. In this world of air conditioning, the slow Southern pace may be a traditional vestige, but it's obvious where it came from. Who wants to dispose of those old cars and all that garbage that's laying around when you're dying just trying to keep your crop growing under that relentless sun? Better to just sit on the porch in the shade, drink something cold, and just try to make it to evening. As James Taylor says, "way down here, you need a reason to move." And it better be a goddam good one, or I'm not getting off this porch, Yankee.

Anyways, I could pretty much do without the entire Southeast (save for Appalachia), but especially Southwest Florida. I like very little about the place. Palm trees? What an idiotic excuse for a tree; they look like a stick with a pom-pom on top. No freakin' shade value, that's for sure. I think I mentioned the heat and humidity. How about the lack of interesting terrain? Can we have a hill, please? The landfill doesn't count. Anyone my age, anywhere? No? Seasons would be nice. Beaches? Yeah, picture me voluntarily basking on a white-hot beach. Work? Mostly low wage service jobs, restaurant and tourist related; or construction. That's what I'm doing these days, for my uncle's company. I appreciate the job, the money isn't bad, and fortunately it's mostly remodelling work indoors, getting them fixed up for sale; meaning, there's air conditioning. Truly, if it was outside or the houses (all unoccupied) had no A/C, I'd pass on the job. I'm pretty much done with Florida out-of-doors.

Oh, and don't even ask me how the pour went. Besides that I had to haul the cement wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow all the way around the house, again starting towards noon, we couldn't even finish, some kind of permit issue, we were told to stop. My poor uncle had to eat half the cement he ordered, and as for me, half the work I did the day before was for nothing, and had to be filled back in. I hate gated communities, all the rules and regulations, and a bunch of power-drunk association board members playing mini-dictator.

But that's a whole other post. For now, just heed my advice: Florida may be nice for a vacation, but unless you like swimming in sweat, don't plan to live here.


  1. You know I used to talk about moving to Florida all the time. Mostly because I love the sea. I love boats. I love islands. And yes I do love the beach; as soon as I'm there I feel a deep sense of calm wash over me.

    I've been to Florida three times, but you know what, they were only vacations. Short-term visits during the cooler season. I've never actually lived there. But just like a relationship you really need more time to get to know a place better before making a long-term commitment. Sometimes it takes a couple years, other times you know after just a couple months that it's not working out, and the best thing to do is to get out there.

    Arizona sucks too. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, except maybe for a vacation during the cool season. Although maybe the mountain communities are better, but the low lying deserts are hell on earth. I would take the ocean over the desert in a heartbeat, but yeah I'd probably grow tired of Florida too.

    Perhaps though the problem is not Texas, or Florida, or Arizona, or anywhere else that you find something to complain about, perhaps the problem is staying too long in one place.

  2. I detest Florida (except for the Keys and a couple of other remote places). And that probably sounds funny from someone in Hawaii. But we have the trade winds, most of the time. But it's really the people I dislike, retired Northerners and creepy backwoods folk. I usually related best to the Cubans and felt a little like home. Florida is not really tropical, you know.

  3. I really think it's the heat more than anything, and the being young in a sea of elderly folks. Nothing against old people, but when there's not a mix, things get too conservative. I've felt the agism several times, it's pretty annoying.

    Although I've been known to wander, I'm not naturally a vagabond type; I'm fine settling somewhere, but it has to be the right place, and this ain't it.

    And, although you're right, this is only the subtropics, it's close enough. I don't like the heat or the outrageous strength of the sun. I'm a northerner and content with that. I liked the dry air out west, the mountainous deserts of Utah were nice, didn't want to leave (but Cym is right, I don't think lowland desert would suit me at all).

    You nailed it about the people baroness. The retirees are weird, and don't get me started on the crackers.

  4. What's your ideal temperature range...what's too cold, what's too hot? Don't like humidity at all, or is it just a problem when combined with the high temperatures?

  5. Hate humidity. Especially when it's hot, though; I don't worry about it much in the winter. I don't deal with heat well, it makes me tired and sluggish, but without humidity, I don't get to that point as easy, because sweating can then cool me off. So my gripe is with the humidity.

    Michigan had humidity issues, with all the lakes, but of course the heat was never so intense (nor was the sun), and never lasted for 6-8 months. Maybe 1 or 2 months. There you get the other problem, too much cold. Though, when it's cold, there's motivation to move and work. Probably explains why the Northerner work ethic is so much better than the Southern one.

    I'd like something in-between the endless winter of Michigan and the endless summer of Florida. I think the intermountain west may be the place for me, maybe Northern New Mexico. Low humidity, all the seasons, winter and cold, but not overmuch. I'll have to try it out someday.

  6. I'm of retirement age, and I can't stand the retirees in Florida. And Hawaii is not cheap enough to have a significant retirement community (not that there aren't retirees, frequently retired military).

    Hawaii has a "hot" climate, but within a very narrow range, and humidity (which I also detest) is only an issue during hurricane season. For all practical purposes it's never below 60 or above 90. 70s, 80s is normal. The trade winds keep it from being oppressive.