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.