Ping- pong is how I describe my life to most people.
Let me explain.
For the past 3 years my hub and I have been making almost weekly jaunts from Maryland to Florida for his work. We have a lovely home here and I have come to be very comfortable, knowing my way around the west Orlando area and we love exploring “Old Florida” when we are down here over a weekend.
Even after I explain to folks that we (for the most part) are only down here 2-3 days at a time, I can’t get over the number of people who ask me, “You drive that every week?” I look at them (and try not to roll my eyes), because c’mon folks… it’s a 19 -hour drive each way.
Do the math.
Like I said, for the most part we are down here just a few days at a time since we have the care of my 95 year old mother in law on the weekends. But we do try to spend a weekend down here every couple of months and I have spent 10 days down here twice this year so far. Once in the winter (heaven) and I am here right now (hot as hades). I would say the other “h” word but my hub would get mad. But it is that and much more.
Since I have given Florida a fair shake (that’s southern for been here for a while) I have come to the following observations/conclusions:
- Floridians are the worst drivers in the USA.
They officially bumped Pennsylvania off the top of my list when I drove my belongings down here the first time. I have thought long and hard about this, trying to figure out why they are so terrible. This is my theory: In our area of Orlando, near the House of the Mouse, there are thousands and thousands of tourists everyday on the roads. I think that the native Floridians nerves are shot between so many blue hair drivers, silver alerts and all the tourists trying to figure out the routes to the different parks that they just go 80 miles an hour to get away from them as fast as possible. Add to that the very dangerous pattern of weaving in between cars with narrow margins and it’s the Gator Autobahn. Seriously, it’s unnerving. Don’t even get me started on the construction on I4 and the plethora of tolls. Driving nightmare. (I would say the “h” word, but again, my hub.) But it is that and much more.
- Floridians send all the best produce up north.Try to find a farm stand to get a home grown tomato. Nowhere to be found. I ask my neighbors where they go to get a good tomato and they say “Publix”. No, thank you. Even in this early part of summer, which is towards the end of the growing season in Florida, the tomatoes in my Publix are from Canada.
- Floridians only get fresh seafood if they live on the coast. If you look at a map, Florida is a skinny peninsula roughly 2 hours across from coast to coast with Orlando being about almost dead center. One would not think that finding fresh seafood (aka shrimp) would not be a major ordeal. Considering that Florida has the best seafood on the planet (and I say that with the authority of someone who also lives on the Chesapeake Bay) it’s a dagger to the heart. I asked my neighbors where they go to get good seafood and they say “Publix”.
THIS IS NOT FLORIDA. THIS IS FT WORTH, TEXAS. A LONG WAY FROM OCEAN.
Which brings me to:
- Floridians are obsessed with Publix. I get it. Publix is a great grocery store, home based in Florida. But it ain’t a farm stand or a fish market. Choices are limited, prices are high and I have yet to get the coveted “pub sub” that my fellow Floridians are so nuts about. The closest Publix to my house is also the closest one to Disney and caters to tourists: people who are not looking for good tomatoes and fresh shrimp. They want crackers and cold beer and my Publix has those things in spades.
- Floridians have the best sense of humor. Hands down. As they constantly point out “We live where you vacation”, they have the endearing quality of not taking themselves too seriously. There is a Face Book group called Florida Memes and it is hilarious. My hub and I laugh daily at their postings. Nothing is off limits to being poked at: their favorite thing to pick at is snowbirds, followed by tourists, the heat and alligators. They sell these white oval bumper stickers that say “WTF” and in small letters say “Welcome to Florida”. I giggle every time I see one. I want one. (But again, the hub.) For a smile a day, check it out.
It’s a closed group and they might have to confirm that you belong there. I mean, you have to at least be living the ping -pong life or be a Floridian, (kinda.)