Lately I can’t help noticing that some of my Facebook peeps seem the itty-bittiest bit jealous of those of us who live in South Florida. I don’t know why. Could it be because (like every other Florida resident) I take twisted delight in posting gorgeous pictures of white sand, sparkling blue water and tropical flowers — and even better, tropical DRINKS — for the express purpose of making those people unfortunate enough to live elsewhere feel exactly that way?
Or because I can’t resist reminding them of the 80-degree temps here when they’re running out for milk and bread to sustain them during Snowmageddon (which, to my friends back in NC, is otherwise known as four flakes of snow and a sleet pellet)?
Could it be because I’ve been known a time (or ten) to post photos of the neighborhood swimming pool, complete with annoying captions like “working from the satellite office today”?
Or maybe because I sometimes share memes like this…?
NAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH. It can’t be because of anything I’ve done. I blame Obama.
Whatever the case, there’s no need for people who live in other places to be jealous because — and I’m not just saying this — wherever they are is probably just as awesome. (Okay, I am just saying it. Whatever. Can I help it if I’m a good person?)
The point is that people who live elsewhere just have a case of “grass is greener” syndrome, and they need to get over thinking that things are better here. I’m sure there are probably lots of great points about whatever place they call home, no matter where their sad, pathetic hell-hole may be. (P.S. The grass in Florida literally is greener, but for my purposes here, it’s probably best not to think about that.)
Being a giver and all, I’ve decided that, as much as I love my new home, I need to do a better job of pointing out a few of this state’s flaws to help people who live in other places feel better about the comparatively crappy places they live. So as much as it pains me to do so, I’m about to give you the the Top Ten Reasons Why South Florida Life Isn’t All Sunshine and Flowers. (Okay, so it mostly is, but you get my drift.)
10. Apparently, some people, at least here in Palm Beach County, missed the memo that “handbag dogs” are so-Paris-Hilton-five-years-ago. The biggest problem with toting Tiny Toto around in your Tory Burch (other than making you look like an ass who doesn’t know an animal from an accessory) is that you probably got TT from some horrible teacup puppy mill, while bazillions of homeless and abused dogs languish on death row in the shelters. Two points of clarification here: (1) My bazillions stat is a 100% bonafide alternative fact (2) If your Prada is instead packed with a full-grown pit bull that you rescued from a Sarah McLachlan commercial, you have my full support.
9. Snowbirds. Ruin. Everything. When I first moved to Florida, I tsk- tsk-ed whenever I heard residents say that. I’d think to myself, “How presumptuous. How rude. How judgmental. How utterly unappealing.” I still think those same things. Only now I think them about the snowbirds. (Disclaimer: If you’re any snowbird that I’ve ever encountered or might encounter, you’re fabulous. I obviously don’t mean you. It’s those other snowbirds. You know the ones.)
8. Rain. Sometimes it actually does. Sometimes for multiple minutes at a time. Or an hour even. And we mostly don’t carry umbrellas or raincoats. Because it hardly ever does. So we get wet. Oh, sure, you can whine about your little problems wherever you live — tornadoes and blight on your crops and riots in your streets and whatnot. Meanwhile, we have to deal with being uncomfortably damp when we go back inside to our air conditioning. So yeah, there’s this little thing called perspective.
7. Speaking of air conditioning… We tend to keep our restaurants, malls and public buildings down here chilled down to a brisk -20 degrees Fahrenheit. So you can go ahead and wear those cute sundresses, off-the-shoulder tops, and tanks; but you do so at your own peril, missy. Or mister. Anything goes as long as you can handle the cold.
6. Rattlesnakes. We have them. Big ones. Ever since a neighbor recently circulated a photo of the four-foot-long devil’s danger noodle she encountered while out for a walk, I can’t go near a knocking engine, a cocktail shaker, or a baby without breaking out in a cold sweat. (I find at least one of these three reactions to be truly troubling.)
5. A disturbing dearth of Bojangles’ restaurants. Truth be told, I’m a pretty healthy eater (with the exception of good NC barbecue and those Krispy Krack Kreme donuts that I mentioned in my bio), so back when I lived in NC, where Bojangles’ are nearly as plentiful as banks and Baptist churches, I hardly ever ate there. Still, like the fire extinguisher you hang on the wall but hope you never have to use, I was happy to have them around. If I ever needed some emergency dirty rice or piece of Cajun fried chicken, I just liked knowing they’d be there for me. I’m sorry, but a bagel with strawberry cream cheese isn’t going to cut it if I do find myself with a hankering for a Bo-Berry biscuit!
4. Bad tattoos. Lord, have mercy, I’m here to tell you that I’ve seen more bad tattoos down here than a dog-in-a-purse has fleas! Come to think of it, those dogs probably don’t have any fleas, unless they’re fancy, high-class fleas — but I digress. Anyway, I know firsthand that there are some truly talented tattoo artists down here, so I can’t for the life of me figure out why I see so many people who look as if Santa brought them a do-it-yourself-tattoo kit last Christmas. I even saw one woman with a tattoo of the (poorly written) name of a Mexican restaurant on her chest. What in the world inspired her to do that? Does she own the restaurant? Does she work there? Does she just love their chips and salsa more than North Carolinians love sweet tea and Cheddar-Bo biscuits? Regardless of the reason, couldn’t she at least have found somebody who was partly sober and would agree to ink her up using their dominant hand? Which brings us to #3…
3. Maybe not. Because getting anyone to do any kind of work here makes the 12 Labors of Hercules look like a piece of the most beautiful chocolate cake. Need a contractor to come to your house? Well, forget finding somebody licensed, experienced and/or even remotely competent; you’ll be lucky if you find anybody with a pulse who’ll just show up. We used the same electrician twice at our house, despite his twice asking us if we had any batteries he could put in his voltage tester. Hey, he might not have been top-notch, but at least he showed up. We’ve even seen contractors here with this motto painted on their work trucks: “We show up.” Standards, be damned. It’s South Florida. We can’t have a little thing like work cutting into people’s fishing time. (BTW, if you’re both highly competent and you show up, please stop being offended long enough to contact me and tell me where you’ve been hiding.)
2. Palm Beach people would sooner skip their browlift and blowout appointments than walk their shopping carts to the return area when they’re done with them. Pull into any retail or grocery parking lot down here and the every-which-way scattering of carts will make you think the Rapture must have happened and left you behind. But relax. See all those Landrovers and Porsches and Maseratis? Look closer. Their drivers are still inside.They’re just fiddling with their air conditioner settings before they can back out. There’s not a needle with an eye big enough for that many big fat camels.
1. And finally, speaking of big, fat orange camels with tiny hands and… vocabularies… to match: Mar a Lago.
Not so jealous anymore, are you?
Good. My work is done. It’s time for me to go sip a margarita by the pool.