Since my friend Desiree’s visited a few weeks back, and I’m awaiting an upcoming visit from Christine (the brilliant blogatrix behind this post, and several awesome comments on the site) I’ve been thinking a lot about my life in Florida, and how I’ve changed since then.
Don’t worry – this isn’t some sort of soul-searching post. Nor is it a reflection on how much I’ve grown (gag) or anything of the sort. Because let’s face it: the only thing about me that’s grown since I’ve left Florida is my delightful posterior (more to love, bitches!).
Rather, this is a post about the habits I had in Florida, habits that I suspect most people have in the south. And how different my everyday routine is now that I live in a cooler, rainy climate like the Pacific Northwest. Why do I bring this up? Because the United State is huge. I don’t know if you’ve realized how huge, but here’s a brief reminder:
It’s massive. It extends from end of North America to the other. It occupies a bunch of those little line thingies on the globe (yes, yes, I know: lines of longitude. I’ve been dumbing it down for so many years, I’ve forgotten how to let my inner intellectual light shine). There are few places in the world where you can get such a range of climates in a single country (don’t tell me if you come up with any others: I like thinking we’re special). So it intrigues me that one person can move within the U.S., and still need to completely reassess their behaviors and manners to suit their new environments. Here are just some of the ways I’ve changed …
I no longer shower at nighttime. It’s funny, but this realization didn’t occur to me until one of my Floridian friends came to visit, and I noticed she took a shower every evening. I suddenly remembered that I did the same thing when I was in Florida (and continued to do so for a few years after moving to Seattle). It makes sense of course: you get dirty and sweaty throughout the day in southern climates, and you don’t want to go to bed feeling sticky and gross. In Seattle, I rarely get sweaty during the day (dude, it’s July and 65 degrees out) – and unless I’ve worked out or somehow gotten dirty over the course of the day (see: bird poop), I’ll shower in the morning.
I can’t sleep with the fan on. We lived in Florida for 7 years. For 6 of those years, we didn’t have air conditioning. A decade and a half later, I still wear this as a badge of honor, even though I currently melt at any temperature above 78. In those years living by the beach, I absolutely had to have my fan on, whirring away above me. The tick of the two metal cords (one for the light and one for the fan) would sound like a metronome and lull me to sleep. Now? I can’t have a single fan on in the living room (a good 50 ft away from my bedroom) if I’m trying to sleep. No, it’s not because I fear fan death. Instead, I now find the noise overpowering. Also, I kind of do fear fan death.
I have coats. A crapload of them, actually. In my entire time in Florida, I had a few jackets, but nothing that could be described as a coat (or, gasp, an overcoat). And please don’t go thinking of me as some sort of clothing-less urchin – the fact of the matter was, you simply didn’t need anything heavier than a jean jacket in Florida. Now? My coat and jacket collection is slowly making a land grab for the rest of my closet. It’s like a sartorial game of Risk. And fascinating to watch.
I’m still not fazed by bugs (but I certainly have fewer of them to deal with). Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a huge fan, but like anyone who’s had to deal with them (by the hundreds and thousands), I’m not that creeped out anymore. Especially the poor excuse for insects that we have up here in Washington. Once you’ve been bitten by a flying cockroach, you’ve seen it all.
I keep snacks everywhere. As a kid, I remember refrigerating everything (pastries, cookies, Halloween candy, etc.) and having the unpleasant experience of pouring milk on my cereal only to see a bunch of little bugs that had been living inside my corn flakes float up to the top of the bowl (in the event my mom reads this and gets overly defensive, let me say that this happened at numerous friends’ houses, too). The point is, snacks were things that needed to be consumed or refrigerated immediately. Now? I periodically find rolls of candy in my purse, jeans, coats, hats, shoes, and a variety of other unexpected locations (Ooooh! Floor pie).
Weather reports mean nothing to me. NOTHING! In Florida, weather reports actually have value. The meteorologist could tell you if the day was going to be an reasonable 95 or an unbearable DEAR-GOD-WHY-DID-WE-MOVE-HERE? They could also accurately predict storms and other weather patterns. In Seattle, weather reports are useless. I’ve literally seen it go from sunny and warm to hail and cold back to sunny in the span of about 20 minutes. You cannot prepare for this sort of thing, folks. I blame the evil hamster.
What about you? Have you moved from drastically different climates within the U.S.? Have your snacking or showering habits changed as a result? Also, after reading last sentence, are you now suddenly considering snacking while showering? Of course not. Me neither (looks around nervously).