They've bought a house, and their Pennsylvania home is now on the market. They say they'll move as soon as their current home sells.
What I wanted to tell them (but didn't) was: Well, I hope your house doesn't sell too soon, because you don't want to move to Florida anytime in the next two or three months.
So this got me thinking why, while I do like to vacation in Florida for a couple of weeks in winter, I would never move to Florida on a fulltime basis. Why not?
It's too hot. I remember one time I was in Sarasota in September. I had to walk across a parking lot to an office building. The heat from the pavement burned through my shoes so badly that I broke into a run just to get into the shade of the building, and then inside to the air conditioning. Of course, I was sweating like a pig when I arrived at my appointment. So . . . I looked it up. The average daily high August temperature for Florida is 92 degrees -- and that's in the shade, if there ever was any shade. And it doesn't cool off at night. The average nightly low is 76.
It's too muggy. It feels hotter in Florida when it's 90 degrees than it does in Arizona when it's 100 degrees. Because of the 80% humidity. And then . . . it rains!
It's too trashy. Except for a very few nice downtown areas in Naples, Miami and a scattering of other places, the typical landscape in Florida involves a six-lane thoroughfare lined with gas stations, fast-food restaurants, strip malls and motels. It's just ugly.
There's too much traffic. Those six-lane thoroughfares are choked with traffic, even out of season. And then, of course, Christmas arrives with its four-month infestation of SUVs from New York and New Jersey, Illinois and Indiana, Michigan and Massachusetts.
It's too crowded. All those cars bring hordes of tourists and retirees who stand in line at restaurants, mob the amusement parks, overrun the beaches. Then out of season . . . the place is deserted. The condos are dark, the malls are empty, the beaches are a wasteland . . . yet, somehow, the roads are still choked with cars.
Too many old people. I realize this is the pot calling the kettle black. Nevertheless, I don't think I'd like living in a place where everyone is as old as I am. I like living on our street where there are families and children. (A kid down the block has a lemonade stand out this weekend!) I like going to a restaurant where there are young couples and groups of middle-age women. I like walking around town and seeing teenagers bouncing into the ice-cream shoppe and young singles lining up at Starbucks.
|It's not all bad ... January sunset over Gulf of Mexico|
Bugs, alligators, sharks and snakes. 'Nuff said.
Too much crime. Florida boasts seven spots on the top one hundred U. S. cities with the highest crime rates. That's more than any other state except California and Texas. Just by way of comparison, the following Florida cities have higher crime rates than Philadelphia (and Philadelphia certainly has its share of crime): Riviera Beach, Lake Worth, Daytona Beach, Miami Beach, Fort Myers. By some measures other Florida cities like Orlando, Miami, St. Petersburg and Jacksonville.are even worse.
Lightning. Florida has been dubbed the lightning capital of the world. It has an average of 1.45 million lightning strikes every year, more than any other state. It also has more deaths by lightning -- over 60 in the last ten years.
Hurricanes! We're just starting the hurricane season, and Florida experiences more than twice as many hurricanes as Louisiana or North Carolina, and almost twice as many as Texas. Hurricanes have caused an estimated $225 billion in damage since 1980, and have killed literally dozens of people.
Okay, okay . . . I'm not trying to say that Florida is the worst place on earth. Besides, I like visiting in the winter, so I don't want to get banned from the state by the Florida Chamber of Commerce. There are certainly places that are hotter and more uncomfortable, that have higher crime rates and more dangerous animals. And think of this: there are no volcanoes in Florida! (But believe it or not, there have been earthquakes.)
I'm just saying, it's not to my taste as a place to live. But I wonder . . . do you think our dance instructors might have a guest room in their new house where we could stay for a week or two in January?