Last Saturday we flew from El Paso to Florida and I can confirm that dry heat is 100% preferable to this hell-swamp.
If my parents didn’t live here I would never, ever go to Florida, but alas, this is where they’ve chosen to live out their golden years. I feel like everyone has a certain town or state they think would be a terrible place to live — maybe you’re not a fan of the hippies in Portland or picture dying a slow death from boredom in North Dakota. Florida is my scary place. Its hot. And, like, not just temperature hot. I live in the desert, okay? I know about triple digit temps for months at a time. This is Satan’s stank-breath after a pot of coffee. I usually notice I’m getting hot when the back of my neck feels damp, but in Florida there is no origin sweat. It’s all over your body all at once until you’re soaking wet but also dangerously dehydrated.
People like to say that everything in the desert is trying to kill you, and it’s true. The extreme dry heat dehydrates you without the telltale signs you’re getting overheated, like being drenched in sweat. Your moisture silently evaporates until you feel like you’re on the brink of death, and then you remember to drink water and survive by the skin of your teeth. Our spiders and snakes are deadly, and we’ve also got scorpions and coyotes with the occasional mountain lion, and our tarantulas won’t actually kill you but if you see a spider the size of a dinner plate you’ll definitely wish you were dead. Our dangers are mysterious and understated, but very real.
Florida is gaudy with it’s terrors. In El Paso maybe a black widow will bite you and you won’t even know it until you’re meeting your maker at the pearly gates. In Florida they have alligators just, like, everywhere. Tonight we went to this really nice country club to watch the sunset and there were signs that said, “Do Not Feed The Alligators,” as if that’s something sane people need to be told. Why on earth would you build your country club in the middle of an alligator hot spot and preserve the alligator habitat? These people build a restaurant right on top of mangroves full of gators and probably also snakes and act like it’s part of the charm. We don’t invite our terrors to dinner in El Paso. What in the swamp ass, mosquito breeding, hair teasing world is going on here?
I used to complain about the humidity in Houston when we’d drive down from Austin, and there is a quantifiable difference in the moisture levels, but now that I have lived in a city that boasts humidity percentages below ten most of the year, I don’t know how I can ever go back to a city like Houston long term, and let’s just go ahead and rule out Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana while we’re at it. If anyone outside my immediate family had moved to Florida I would not be here right now, but my parents are lovely people and the kids hadn’t seen them in nineteen months, so here we are, slathering on aloe and dabbing mosquito bites with calamine lotion.
My children, who take after their mother, spent one day at the beach and declared it “too sunny” and “too sandy” and have requested pool days for the duration of the visit. We have a lot of sun where we come from (El Paso is called Sun City) but we don’t just sit outside and bake ourselves, that would be madness, and potentially lethal. We do, however, sit in the sun during the hottest month of the year at the hottest time of the day in a field at the military base to celebrate the Fourth of July and honestly that’s very confusing since the rest of the time people leave their cars running to keep them cool while they buy a pack of gum or walk down the block hiding under umbrellas.
Florida is so unpleasant during the summer that most of the people here on the coast have a whole other house in another state to hide out in until the *hurricane season* is over. Honestly, why are people still moving here? You save up your whole career to buy a crazy expensive house with extra fencing or maybe a screened-in cage to keep out biting bugs and gators and then for three months every year you have to check your security cameras from the safety of your other house to see if the one in Florida was washed away in a hurricane.
All these boomers are out here living the dream, I guess. I probably have more wrinkles than these Florida grandmas since humidity supposedly plumps up your skin. I gotta say, I’m not sure it’s worth the slight deduction in Botox bills.