Saturday, December 20, 2008

Florida isn’t exactly a remote nation, but it’s not like home either. For one thing, on this last day of fall, I’m wearing shorts. I don’t need to huddle in bed at about 7:30, so sometimes am awake even at 9:30, like tonight!

For another, now we have to deal with where to put all the thick winter stuff, the socks, polypro and comforters. My vote is Goodwill, but maybe not too hastily. I remember, at the West Palm Beach Greens Market on a 40 degree January Saturday, seeing women in furs and ski clothes. Their dogs dressed funny too, including a dachshund bundled in a jacket that look like a frankfurter bun, and something 4-legged in a fitted yellow slicker.

You know you’re in Florida when there are sidewalks, with curb cutouts, and bikes accessorized with drink holders, cell phone holders, rod holders, even trailers, which are a step up from shopping carts for the some, perhaps including me, one of these days. Anyhow, I'm taking notes just in case!

Our little folding bikes have emerged. We can cover lots of ground on them, and even more on public transportation. This time I notice just a few more people like me (white, female, not quite young) on the buses, though not on bikes. Or it that just hope?

Here in the Palm Beach area, there are megayachts along Lake Worth, larger than the properties they’re docked in front of. They have aircraft lights, and could be confused with phone towers. I think I’m using the wifi connection of one of those megayachts now.

Inshore are bands of communities from the 30s, 40s, 50s, pock-marked with perkily-named gated communities from more recent booms. Fast-moving squads of weed whackers and leaf blowers roam the sidewalks, and the tinted windows of many cars make it hard to know if we pedalers/pedestrians can safely pass before them. Move further inland and you’ll be in big-box-store land. Could be Omaha, or San Diego, but it’s Florida, where one might buy and transplant a huge banyan tree (via barge) for $155,000.

In the papers are two stories. Florida is making a positive but controversial move towards Everglades respect and restoration by agreeing to purchase a huge parcel of land from US Sugar, although there are many challenges. But also, a thousand people, including all the local politicos, attended the funeral of yet another shooting victim, a hard-working young man who left behind six children and a pregnant wife.

I wish it were more remote.