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South Florida Memoirs
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South Florida Memoirs
The recent election fiasco in Florida didn't surprise me a bit. When I lived there, I came to realize the whole state operates under Murphy's Law.
[565 words]
Georgia Kraff
I'm a freelancer currently living in North Carolina. Prior to relocating, I wrote a book review column for "Southeast Florida Lifestyles"
[March 2001]
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South Florida Memoirs
Georgia Kraff

     I used to live in South Florida. We moved there from Chicago. The plan was to escape the 400-degree-below-zero windchills, 70 foot snow drifts,and six-figure heating bills of the endless Midwestern winters, and spend our days and nights dancing in the surf while toasting one another with pina coladas and gazing, awestruck, at blazing tropical sunsets.

     I want to explain that this was no half-baked scheme. There was extensive research involved. Okay. So maybe watching Florida travel documentaries while consuming large quantities of mulled wine and hot buttered rum isn't THAT extensive. But it was more research than we had done on any other project.

     Our U-Haul convoy arrived in Fort Lauderdale during one of the twice-daily summer monsoons. (Gee, when we bought this place, I didn't realize it was waterfront property. Oh. Wait a minute. That's the yard.)

     When the rains stopped and the skies cleared, I ventured outside. It was a whole new world. The sky was blue. The ground was flat. Even flatter than Illinois. The temperature was 175, with humidity to match. I couldn't breathe. The air was so thick you could cut it with a pizza wheel. Undaunted, I explored. I discovered. I found out I was allergic to everything. Fire ants. Mangos. Countless varieties of tropical plants. New Yorkers.

     There are more New Yorkers in South Florida than there are in Manhattan. Apparently, years ago South Florida became a colony and subsequent breeding ground not only for enormous, mutant insects, some of which could easily win rodeo competitions, but also for a vast array of refugees from "The Big Apple."
     What first brought the New Yorkers to Florida remains a mystery. Maybe they were lured down by the promise of weekends of free food and lodging at time-share seminars. Once there, they discovered a mecca of endless early-bird specials, and unlimited opportunities to wear Bermuda shorts with sandals and black socks.

     And so, the New Yorkers scurried on back to New York. They erected "For Sale" signs on real estate they had purchased in exchange for beads and trinkets, unloaded it at an obscene profit, and winged it back to "The Sunshine State," toting bushels full of cash, sporting their trademark gaudy gold jewelry, teased hair, blue eye shadow, and six-inch fingernails. And the women were even worse.

     Meanwhile, I was busy cataloging my allergic reactions (will it make me sneeze, itch, or swell up like a beached manatee?) My beloved, on the other hand, was fast developing a genuine passion for all things tropical. He LOVED the heat and humidity. He loved the rum drinks with little umbrellas. He loved the female hot dog vendors wearing string bikinis who were stationed along the main thoroughfares. He started to develop a New York accent.

     That did it.

     And so, after a relatively amicable split (he kept the money, the furniture, and the house; I got to keep the Benadryl), I took off to seek my fortune in North Carolina.

     Apparently, the New Yorkers got wind of my plan to leave, though. Because most of them beat me here. And as if THAT wasn't bad enough, they brought the fire ants along.

     Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. North Carolina is a very pretty place...nice change of seasons. Not too hot. Not too cold. And there's alot less to be allergic to here.

     Unless you count grits.



"The story was not what I expected. I thought it would deal with the stupidity of people in Florida or the pointlessness of recounting ballots. After reading I realized the correctness of the title, the stupidity of people and how what you see and think is never what you get. Nothing is the way it seems." -- Mike, Normal, IL.


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© 2001 Georgia Kraff
February 2001

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