I Live in Florida And It’s Not Funny

Pam Gaslow

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I moved to Miami Beach from New York in 2015. I moved not knowing anyone and not having a job. No one there seemed to work, or work too hard, so I fit right in.

If you’re considering moving to south Florida you should first ask yourself the following questions: Do you like sharks where you swim? Pressing 2 for English? Twerking at red lights? Do you like thirty inches of rain in a hour, and news stories about parents leaving their kids in boiling hot cars for days by “accident”? If you answered no, move somewhere else.

Florida is a ridiculous place. People walk on highways, Summer is seven months long, and snakes come out of the toilet bowl. A snake has never come out of my toilet bowl, but it’s something to worry about late at night.

Everyone in Florida owns a gun or a boat. I thought maybe I needed a gun or a boat, too. The boat idea seemed more fun because then I could pick a really cool, cryptic, or offensive name for it. The gun idea seemed idiotic because at the time I was high 24/7 and couldn't even keep track of my sunglasses. But to be honest, I hate boats. When someone takes me on their boat I feel like I’m being kidnapped. They drive you all the way out into the middle of the ocean and hold you hostage for 40 hours while they get drunk, ride jet skis, or do other stupid crap, like fish. I tried to embrace the lifestyle by riding a jet ski once, and soon after that I heard a story about a girl who fell off the back of one and tore her anus.

Florida is nicknamed the sunshine state, but it’s really the state of incompetence. There is zero work ethic. Doctors offices close for lunch. Retail businesses randomly close for hours or days on end because people are lazy and went to the beach or to get drunk or whatever. We also have no helmet laws which means you have the total freedom to kill yourself on your moped/scooter/motorcycle any time you want. You kind of get the feeling that the government doesn’t really care about you.

South Florida is at best bilingual. Since I basically dislike people, I relish the idea that I can barely communicate with half of the population of Miami. It’s like the thrill of being in a foreign country, except it’s not that thrilling because it’s your home. Learning Spanish is a smart idea, but unfortunately that's easier said than done, so instead I just picked up a few key phrases, like “I’m not friendly” and “My dogs bite.” I would text my housekeeper in Spanish via a translation app, and when I got her responses I had to translate them and the outcome never made sense. Like the time she wrote, “Buenos dias. Estoy Esperanto la puerta eta serrada,” which translated to, “Good morning. I’m waiting for the door to be sawed.” She also thought my name was Pan, so when she texted me it always said, “Hello bread!” It was funny the first time, but not the second or third.

Florida has a bad reputation and that’s not a secret. Every time you hear a ridiculous, horrible, or unbelievable news story, chances are it happened in Florida. A lot of Floridas reputation is derived from drunk and high people doing idiotic things, mostly naked. I’m proud to say I’m not one of them. But overall the people are pleasant, you can go on your terrace naked on Christmas day and not be cold, and you can paddle board with your dog year-round. That's pretty much why I moved to Florida - for the warm sunny weather. Or course I moved in Decmber and when May rolled a round I realized exactly just how hot it got and how long it stayed that hot. But the heat isn’t a big deal, you get used to it. And if you wake up in the morning in July and it’s too hot to work out, just wait until it gets cooler. December is right around the corner.

But let's not forget the hurricanes. We have a lot of hurricanes and tropical storms in Florida and they threaten us every year from June through November. I am constantly alerted with updates via text and email, and I spend my time tracking them, preparing for them, and worrying about them. Actually, I don’t pay any attention to them until things start becoming airborne. However, I do analyze all their names and make fun of them with my friends. I have much better names in mind, but no one has consulted me.

Hurricanes actually come with a lot of excitement, anticipation and drama - kind of like New Years Eve, but a little different. All the same questions are asked beforehand in terms of making plans. “Where are you going? Where will you be? Are you leaving town?” What's different is the panic shopping, the 24-hour news coverage, cancellations, closings, mass panic and hysteria. People everywhere are scrambling at the 11th hour for gas, food, medicine, water, batteries, non perishables, or to get a flight to anywhere or driving as far as you can, as fast as you can, hopefully in the right direction. It’s literally the only thing on any TV channel and the only topic of conversation with anyone who is remotely coherent. And the predictions, strength and direction of storm travel change by the hour. It’s coming straight for you. It’s not. Are you in the cone of uncertainty? Are you prepared? What level of prepared are you? Do you have an inflatable swan? You might need to steal one from your neighbors pool, or pray that Amazon Prime can get to you before the flooding starts. Just make sure you have hurricane-proof food that can survive the apocalypse, a living will, that your car is parked on the 15th floor somewhere, and, obviously, that you have flood insurance and possibly that much needed gun. Good luck and enjoy!

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I am primarily a humorist but also write about dating, relationships, sex, addiction, and any random observations I feel inspired by.

Miami Beach, FL
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