Sunday, February 27, 2011

The dark and sunny sides of the Sunshine State...

The Dark Side: OK - so you've heard a lot of it before:  the vast distances and the car culture, the strip malls, the constant complaint that, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity" and finally, the big one... the cultural barrenness.   Well, we were prepared for all these and other not so desirable paradigms of this State of tropical climes.
The distances are great but driving 20 minutes to pick up milk doesn't seem like much of a run when Gavin is flying to Ft. Lauderdale (on the other coast) just  to practice!  As far as living in one's car, we are new car-owners anyway.  Owning our first car this late (relatively) in life means we can probably drive every day across the State until we are well into our octogenarian years before we match the carbon foot-print of most of our contemporaries.
  The malls do abound, it's true.  One could spend 6 hrs in a different one of these air-conditioned temples of consumption every day for a year and still not make a dent in any in the next county. So we do visit these from time to time - when retail activity is required.  But we adjust our entertainment expectations and avail of nearby free diversions (surprisingly plentiful and expounded on in the next section) as our financial profile becomes ever leaner.

Regarding the issue of humidity, many of you know that I have lived for decades with a natural humidex on top of my shoulders.  So, when it comes to humidity, I have enough tragic hair days behind me to have learned that there isn't much that an entire bottle of product and some creative air flow redirection won't solve.  Of course, humidity affects more than just hair.  Nothing really ever dries here unless you put it directly under the sun during that sliver of a window between 11:45am and 12:30pm.  And with some things, even that  won't work..

The tiny - and I am emphatic here - soon to be completely renovated - kitchen has enough counterspace for a spoon and.... maybe another (smaller) spoon.  So, everything has to be mounted on walls on hooks or placed on (also scarce) shelves.  We thought a magnetic knife rail on the fridge would be a great space saver.  We nearly gave up on that idea after finding it loping downward days after it was installed or walking into the apartment after being out, to find a crime aftermath-like scene with knives splayed all over the floor.  The adhesive didn't dry properly so the rail didn't stick to the side of the fridge and just slid right off and onto the floor.  Finally Gavin, braving the possibility of collision between his Dremmel and a freon pipe actually drilled the rivets into the side of the fridge to hold the fr*&@!#ing thing up!

I address the issue of the absence of culture as a segue into.....

The Sunny Side: So, we have all been the bearers of jokes at the expense of this saw-grass State or laughed heartily when someone pointed out that its geography is nothing but swamp with beaches at it's edges sprinkled with Perkin's restaurants flying  hilariously oversized flags out front.  I have been coming to this area of Fla. since I was a child but my concerns then never reached beyond how to maximize my tanning time by employing the right kind of air mattress in the water so as not to overheat before I had bronzed sufficiently (of course, this was before ozone awareness and climate change).
Now as a resident, I have deepened the search for meaning in these marshes.  The immediate scarcity of things to do beyond baking oneself by the pool leads to full on scouring of any available resources.  Despite being familiar with the area, I never really committed to finding a place in the community - who does that, after all, on vacation?  So, as a result of afore-mentioned scouring, I have found free kayak trails, a very decent zoo, a historic railway that still runs sightseeing trips, dozens of free parks and playgrounds, an impressive library system, a not laughable theatre scene and two large, nearby and very respectable concert venues.
The dame of diversions should not be forgotten either: the beach.  Yes, it is when I hear the waves from my balcony (did I mention the beach is right across the street?), walk on the strand, watch Luca carrying buckets of sand to and from the construction site of "Yuca's (Luca's) castle", follow windsurfers up and down the coast that the toppling knife rail, the fast-food drive throughs, the billboards advertising outlet malls dissolve into the background.
The other thing is that my partner, who I have loved for a long time, who has always been generous and wonderful, reserved yet friendly and who has a lot of characteristics that make him a generally likeable, well adjusted guy is finally, well and truly complete.

No, I know that this is a blog meant to reach a wide audience of friends and acquaintances, give you some idea of what we are up to and entertain...maybe garner a few chuckles and - if I do it right - one hearty guffaw (or two) per post.  So, I will tread lightly in this area of relative emotional depth and just say: the feeling you get when you see someone you love unearth a sliver of themselves they have just found as if it they knew it was there all the time is indescribable.  So, do I like it here in sunny Fla.? If the Gavin that returns from a day of flying with his spirit still some 2000 ft off the ground is my litmus, I belong here.

1 comment:

  1. Aw, I miss you two....and I have yet to meet the bairns. Good stuff T. Most proud. x

    (ps ignore my freetv thing....old bollocks but couldn't figure out how else to comment)