Thursday, January 22, 2015

When in Florida ...

     There are two basic topics of conversation in Florida -- at least when you're among the Snowbirds, not necessarily the people who live and work here. The first covers all the bad weather we are missing by being in Florida instead of up north.

     "Did you hear it was zero degrees last night back in New York?"

     "There was a foot of snow in Pennsylvania."

     "I called home, and it's raining in St. Louis."

In Jacksonville the roads were crowded, but not the beaches

     One elderly woman told me, "I come here in the beginning of October and stay until the end of April. I miss most of the cold weather back home in Indiana." She has a double-wide trailer out near the airport, she said. She has two sons. One drives her down in October and flies home. The other flies down in April and drives her back. "I'm very lucky," she concluded.

They like their mermaids

     "It was minus 32 degrees when I left home after Christmas," one fellow from Canada told me. "That's centigrade. But still, that's about minus 26 Fahrenheit."

     The other topic of conversation centers around: Where do people come from originally? If you're ever in Florida by yourself, and you get lonely, there is a tried-and-true way to start a conversation with any stranger. Just ask, "Where do you come from?" And the conversation will go from there.

Seafood restaurant on Anna Maria Island

     I was in a coffee shop at the beach the other day, and a fellow walked in sporting an Ohio State sweatshirt. (A lot of people are wearing Ohio State clothing these days, because, in case you don't know, Ohio State beat Oregon to take the national collegiate football championship).

     "Oh, where in Ohio?" someone asks. "Youngstown," comes the reply. "Oh, I'm from Pittsburgh," a man offers. Somebody else is from Wilkes Barre, and then another one chimes in that they know Wilkes Barre. They're from New Jersey, but they have family near Wilkes Barre.

It was warmer farther south in Sarasota

     Then another says, "Oh, my wife comes from Cleveland. But we live outside Atlanta now." Then someone else is from Savannah. And pretty soon we have the country covered from the Eastern seaboard out west to Kansas and Texas. People come to Florida from all over -- but mostly from the East and Midwest. Not too many from the West Coast.

     Douglas, from Boomer Musings, was kind enough to have me join him for a game of golf. He is always the contrarian -- he came to Florida from San Diego. His friend (the guy who won the money!) grew up in Connecticut, but spent 25 years in the Virgin Islands before landing in Florida.

     I read recently that Florida just surpassed New York to become the third most populous state in the Union. First is California, then Texas. And now Florida ranks third with 19,893,297 people. New York has a population of 19,746,227. That seems to me to underscore one trend going on in America today -- more people are retiring than ever before.

Picturesque seaside inn

     The other observation I made came when I visited Disney World. I went to Epcot, and the place was mobbed. If all these people have $100 a head to blow on a day at Disney, then the American middle class can't being doing half as bad as many of our pundits tell us.

Would you wait 1 hour 50 minutes for a ride?

     Because of the crowds, I didn't get into all the rides I wanted, but there was a very impressive acrobat show put on at the Chinese pavilion:

The Chinese put on a show

     Anyway, I hope they didn't count me as a Floridian. I love to spend some time visiting here in the winter. But I don't think I would ever actually live in Florida. I'm headed back to New York.

Says it all!


DJan said...

One good thing about being retired in Florida, all the health insurance is very cheap for seniors. I am envious when my sister tells me how little she pays for her Medicare Advantage plan compared to mine. It's because there are so many of them! :-)

Tabor said...

I think Florida has a number of problems that we do not see and I have no desire to live their even if the climate is nicer. I need to see fewer people my age, not MORE. I ate at the restaurant in the first photo!

Anonymous said...

Okay, okay already. Too many people on the web basking in the Florida sun and writing home about it.

That mermaid looks as if she's been nursing a porpoise or two.

Have fun. And it's not so bad here either. Oh you poor Yankees. You

Mac n' Janet said...

We'll be going to Florida twice this year, once to the Everglades and then to St. Augustine to meet up wit family. It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there for many reasons, starting with the fact that there are too many people there.

Stephen Hayes said...

I'm painfully aware that Ohio State beat the Oregon Ducks, since I live in Portland.

Anonymous said...

Funny post. Come and see the photos of us in Florida in today's blog.

Olga Hebert said...

Florida is indeed a strange place, but the weather calls my name. I can see myself living here eventually.

Meryl Baer said...

Hub and I feel the same way you do about Florida - a fun place to visit but wouldn't want to live there. We fly home this weekend (weather permitting) and once again don our sweaters, boots and winter coats...

Kathy @ SMART Living said...

Hi Tom! Back in 1990 my husband and I traveled to Florida to see if it was somewhere we would like to live. We knew we wanted to be somewhere warm (both of us were from Southern California) so we thought we'd give it a try. We traveled all the way up and down both coasts, saw some beautiful sites, met some nice people but decided that Florida just wasn't for us. You called it right when you said there are not many Californians there. Definitely prove that there is an east coast vibe much different than the west coast. And yeah, we came back to California and haven't left. It's important to find your "place" where you belong.

Kirk said...

Having spent a number of years living in Florida when I was younger I have no desire to ever go there again. Luckily my wife feels the same.

Anonymous said...

In Disneyland you can get the measles at the happiest place on the earth..some deal I say..I lived in Califonria for about 15 years when it was pristine the coast and the towns wonderful, not so much now, an average home in Ventura is over $360,000 built in 1942 and Santa Barbara forgettabout it..San Diego is all for paying people little to live on so a vast majority of citizens never can purchase a home not the case in the late 60's and early 70's at all, as for the sun we occasionally get it in the pacific northwest it is usually green here all year long and when summers come they are wonderful..I know why many think Florida, Texas and California are wonderful states to retire, the sunshine and kind of easy going living, if you want to make little money and enjoy dry and sometimes humid weather try Texas, specifically Austin, TX which is the most interesting place and artistic and neat place in all of north America but beware their homes are now very expensive for that sunshine, humidity and blue skies each and everyday, of course one can bike places, take buses and walk a lot all depends upon what one chooses to do..ciao!

joared said...

Well, another Buckeye, I see. Am originally from central Ohio, but relatives in your neck of the woods -- Youngstown was where they went for serious shopping in the years long before the area & other cities there & north got "rusty."

I wrote recently about that football game that must have created madness in Columbus.

People generally from elsewhere, too, here in Calif. -- many from Ohio I've found so they have that in common with Fla. Can understand why Easteners go to Fla as its in much closer proximity.

Wonder what will happen to Fla's coasts as the oceans rise? Perhaps I'll end up with beachfront property if ocean comes 35 miles inland here in So Cal., temps go up & drought continues. Maybe we'll all move back to Ohio or another Great Lakes state.