This is a long list, so prepare yourself. It’s also not as lovely and lighthearted as my previous list, Things I Will Miss. So, prepare yourself for the negativity that is laid out before you.
These are the things that I won’t miss about living in Florida. Please, Florida readers, do not take offense. I’m sure that YOU are wonderful, like so many of the people who I have met here. These are just observations that I’ve had, and merely my personal experience. I love visiting your beautiful state, but I am so excited to move out of it.
- Traffic. A commute to work is completely unpredictable here. It might take me thirty minutes, or an hour and thirty minutes.
- The car accidents. Every time that the traffic guy on the radio tells about the traffic conditions around the city, never have I ever heard that the roads were accident free. In Birmingham, I did hear that occasionally, and I was always comforted when I heard it. I see multiple accidents every single day. Most of them have injuries, sometimes loss of life.
- The drivers. In my ten/eleven years of driving, I’ve been given “the bird” or “given the finger” three times. All three of those times have been in Tampa, Florida in the last ten months.
- The drivers again. Driving in Florida is scary. People do this thing that I call “The Florida Swoop”, where they leave inches between you and their car as they change into or out of your lane. Motorcyclists aren’t required to wear helmets. Everyone texts and drives. People stop their cars in the middle of a four lane highway so that they can let someone turn, instead of making that person wait.
- The lack of dirt. Alabama smells like growth and green and life. Florida smells dry and hot.
- The speed of it all. I’m from Alabama, where we say “y’all” and “yes ma’am”. We grow up sitting around dinner tables having breakfast spreads consisting of homemade biscuits and homemade preserves, chocolate gravy for your biscuits if that’s what you’re into, scrambled eggs, and bacon. We have sunrooms. My mother and her family worked out in the garden because if they didn’t garden, they didn’t eat. From what I’ve noticed, we walk slower, talk slower, and live slower, and I LOVE it. I love it so much. Florida is faster. It might sound crazy, because everyone thinks that Florida is just full of elderly men and women, so how fast can it actually be? But, really, it’s fast. Very fast.
- The multitudes of strip clubs and adult video stores. The number is actually right up there with the number of Get Cash Now establishments, and there is a ridiculous amount of those.
- I’ve seen more pajamas in public (during the middle of the day) than ever before.
- The heat. Our air conditioning went out the first month that we lived here. August. In Florida. No AC. It was a very grouchy few days.
- Missing out on the changing autumn leaves. Luckily, we traveled home for a few days last fall, so we did see some. But, I missed them.
- Having a 78 degree Christmas.
- Having my Jack-o-lantern mold after two days.
- Our tiny bedroom. I won’t miss this, but I’ll look back on it fondly. It’s painted a very unattractive beige, and all furniture makes it feel darker and smaller than it is. It has one huge window, that I love. It’s the only thing that makes the room bearable. But, I lose everything in this room. The floors have to stay spotless, or I lose my mind and start panicking because I feel trapped and crowded. Even when it is spotless, I lose things, and lose my mind, dumping my drawers out and making a huge scene. Trey just watches, and somehow still smiles, and knows to keep his damn mouth shut. We’ve made some wonderful memories in this tiny room: despite its size, we put a live, normal-sized Christmas tree in it, I decorated it for every holiday, we’ve made huge decisions, had impromptu dance parties, treated the whole place for fleas when we saw what we thought was one flea (it wasn’t a flea), had late-night peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and made survival kits for work days that we knew would be insufferable, so many memories.
- The distance from home. My younger brother won’t ever fly on a plane, I assume. I imagine that a twelve-hour car ride would be quite uncomfortable for him since he is 6’4 and doesn’t tell you if he is too hot, or cold, or if his legs are cramping, or if his back hurts.
- The distance from my grandparents.
- The absence of a Madewell store.
- Fucillo Kia commercials. These commercials are the absolute worst commercials. I can’t really paint a picture of what makes these commercials so terribly awful. Google them, and then watch every one that they’ve ever made, because they play on every radio station, seemingly non stop. Then, turn up the volume on them and close your eyes, because they play in your dreams too. A man yelling about how “yuge” his savings are. Then, another man or a woman chimes in on some of them. I just can’t.
- Florida news. Newscasters cater to the vulnerable here. The local news channels only share the worst of the worst news, and the elderly just eat it up.
- The fascination with Donald Trump.
- No genuinely perfect breakfasts.
- The way Florida drains the life out of you. Sunshine makes you tired, which is part of its appeal because it helps you sleep well. But, the people and the atmosphere and how frustrating everything is just drains you.
- Sharks and alligators. I didn’t see any sharks. BUT, I won’t miss having to think about the possibility of them being nearby.
- The vaping. Everyone does this, and I’m not a fan.
- How I always feel like I’m on a completely different planet.
- The lack of shame. One of my first days here, I saw a car with a huge sticker running across the back window that said, “FLORIDA SLUT.” Confidence is power, and I love confidence. Be bold, but not brash.
- The fact that this list could be a lot longer.
I have met some incredible people here, and I’m so happy to know them. My days are so much better because of them, and I’m going to miss them very much.