'Charmed' would be a good word to describe how I felt when I moved to the small community of Cape Coral! Leaving behind the glitter and glitz of Miami, I, also, found myself and family an affordable home in this quiet southwest corner of Florida. It seemed nearly ideal given the numerous parks, waterways and less-than-outrageous traffic coupled with a relatively small population. After looking at some homes and exploring the community, I knew I'd found the right place to call home! Having been offered a full-time opportunity with the local TV station, I was getting excited about my Cape Coral relocation.
During my initial visit, I found a local print publication on the newstand by the name of 'The Shopper'. As I glanced momentarily at the publication, I noticed the headline piece was an editorial commentary entitled; "Hot Flashes: Confessions of a Frazzled Floridian" by Debby Wood. As I continued to read her column, I found it rather vague and filled with generalities! After becoming a bit annoyed, I researched Ms. Wood a bit and discovered that (not only was her column syndicated) SHE WASN'T EVEN A FLORIDIAN! She was an Atlanta, Georgia resident! That really bothered me!
How could anyone who wasn't living in Florida describe what life here is (actually) like?
Atlanta, Georgia doesn't bear a resemblance to any town within Florida. With a significantly different climate, state income tax and more counties than any other state in our nation, Georgia is a visually beautiful state filled with trees, lakes, rivers and more 'back-assward' laws and restrictions than you can imagine. Georgia is mainly small towns with over-zealous police forces and antebellum charm. If you're employed in most parts of the state, you might be a laborer, as peaches, peanuts, pecans, and cotton are all grown within Georgia. Agriculture is big business there! Politically, Georgia is a 'red state' and filled with conservative Christians.
If Georgia is the patriarch of the 'Bible belt', then Atlanta could be the wildly colorful, articulate and educated LGBTQ child gone wild! (..not sure I'd want my town to be called 'Hollywood East') Looking at Atlanta's voting districts is always a good laugh as gerrymandering has been a way of life for decades here. Racial prejudice is certainly alive and well in Georgia, as intolerance and ignorance abound outside of the big City of Atlanta. (..and, sadly, within it, too.) If the average American spends 20% of their life commuting, then Atlantians probably spend 35-40% of their life in cars, as traffic is INSANE! Couple that with a need to constantly monitor important online activities via their smartphones and you're starting to develop a picture of exactly what life for someone residing in Atlanta resembles.
Florida's climate is probably very similar to that of hell, as we only have two seasons here. Summer and 'not summer', both of which are hotter than almost anywhere else! Humidity is a nearly constant 85% or above. That being said, hair perms are dead and dreadlocks have grown in popularity! If insects, birds, reptiles and other wildlife scare you, then Florida probably isn't the place to settle down. Given the corrupt political structure and officials within the state's government, it's clear to see that our state motto should have been 'Home of the Pirates', as opposed to the lame and misleading 'Sunshine State' moniker. The sunshine in Florida (like the rainfall) is presently facing the standard subjugation and illegal status designation. The Sunshine, like any free, helpful resource, conveniently serves as a potential source of revenue for our corrupt Florida legislators, most of whom possess a passion for 'taking things which don't belong to them' from others.
Florida is not for the meek! It is, however, for the adventurous, transient and retired. Florida's populace represents a mixed bag extraordinaire of culture, taste and experience! Florida is where I choose to live and I love it here! My friends in Florida are some of the best people on the planet! They are supportive, friendly and fun-loving. We're charmed by the alligators, panthers, flora and fauna and sauna that is our lovely state. ~ "Debby Wood, please feel free to keep your four distinct seasons, endless traffic, unrelenting pollen, and Kudzu! Here in Florida, we'll be on the porch at sunset enjoying a 'Seminole Wind'. Aho!