Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Life in Florida has some shockers
In this photo you can see my high school friend, Sally, who is unfortunately still beautiful, and I are heading out of her garage to go to her country club so I can give a book talk on my memoir COMING ASHORE over dinner.
Before I spoke I was seated next to an emergency physician. In an effort to make conversation, I asked what are the most common emergencies in Florida. He said drunken golf cart accidents which are serious since people are old and many are on blood thinners and they bleed out when they tumble out or roll into a pond. The second most common emergency is, believe it or not, venereal disease. He said when people move into assisted living, they have a 'randy stage' where they jump from bed to bed having unprotected sex. Wow! Back to my chicken dinner.
Well those are just two sociological nuggets from the Sunshine state. Of course one of the glories of the state is the weather and being able to dine outside under the palms--- or so I thought. Another Florida shocker is that no one sits outside--ever. When I arrived from Canada I was so happy to be at my friend Sally's place. I asked if we could eat breakfast outside since it was so beautiful in her garden. She said no for two reasons. One the sprinkling system sprays on the cushions and they are wet and the other reason is her husband does not like eating out of doors.
Then I went to another huge house in Orlando with huge gardens and asked if we could sit near the pool to have our drinks. She looked at me horrified and said , "No, the gardner is coming tomorrow and there are a few dry leaves on the ground near the pool. Sorry, Oh and I have to close the drapes or the furniture fades."
Off I went on another day to the most exclusive spot in Sarasota in a golf community that I needed a code to get into. A grounds man drove in front of me to get to the house. ( I guess he wanted to be sure I didn't loot places on the way.) These people had a mansion and huge wrought iron porches a la Gone with the wind on the first and second floors. I asked if we could have drinks on the porch before going to the club for the talk and she said, "Absolutely not. You could get brained by a golf ball. It is totally unsafe out there. If you want to sit outside we have to go to the club."
I hoped to have better luck on the other coast in Florida further south. However I was told that no one goes outside. The woman said, "We had gofers or some small brown furry thing. I had to fill in the pool."
When I got to Boca Raton, I was staying with a woman from Buffalo so I knew she'd understand my need for some outdoor warm air. She said, "Ok, one drink, but then we are moving inside. Bugs come at dusk." So you can see me below after my 13 stop tour of Florida where I can sit outside for five minutes only and have my drink.