Santa in Christmas cactus – Care for a cookie?
I don’t think I could live in Florida. By that, I mean live there all year. Permanently. That’s been an intermittent consideration now that complete retirement1 is on the table. Downsizing. Situating to give ourselves, the Boss and I,2 some things we’ve delayed for several reasons not all career and work-a-day whirl related.
Life’s unfolding has provided opportunities to experience northern latitudes and, um, sub-tropical ones. Along with a mix of east and west variations on temperate zones in these states more-or-less united. Never spending enough time in Alaska and Hawaii, they are ruled-out of pending relocation decisions because family, especially important to us, would be stupidly distant.
Exotics like Australia and Italy3 are appealing. Very much so. Those places and several others would be inconvenient again for distance. Australia has stiff emigration policies (anyone in the Dungeon of Confusion listening?) so I rather think they might disallow expatriate curmudgeons. Italy is such a lovely place, Italians so delightful, they would have no difficulty accepting an irascible old dork, because Italians know full well their climate – meteorological and social – would quickly amend him into something useable. Maybe even likeable.
Why not Florida? Let me back into my explanation.
Today in the middle south it’s an overcast day with intermittent light rain. Not drizzle or a wet fog, Londoners and Seattleites.4 Unseasonably warm, but not suntan weather. Proper “Christmas season” weather is just around the corner. I know that for a fact. We might even see some snow. All this October-ish to real December-ish weather speaks to me of Christmas. That sets a mood.
Yes, I’ve (sans Boss) Christmas-ed in tropics. On a whim, on a dare, or duty bound, that’s okay. But not year after year. It’s not so much I spent my emotionally formative years in the snowy north, or that my European ancestors hailed from snowy climes, it’s that Santa without snow is just, well, wrong. Santa wasn’t a Beach Boy or an Outbacker. Santa, proper Santa, must be from Norway, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, or Barnalovia. Okay, the North Pole, maybe, JIT5 supply chain challenges aside.
North of here, where real “winter” visits most every year, folks have Currier and Ives Christmases. There’s a lead-in ripening and harvest season. There’s a re-awakening (rainy, wet, muddy) spring season after. A summer that can, at times, give Florida, south Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona competition for national high temperatures. Okay, can’t out-swelter Arizona. Still, Arizona has…
Florida on the other hand is seasonally borderline monotonous. Not sure I can see myself on a long pier fishing for mackerel or on a channel dock fishing for mullet on Christmas day. Not an orange juice fan, but I hear anyway Florida exports most of the crop to foreign countries like Alabama, Wisconsin, and Oregon, making the commodity expensive to native Floridians. Is that stupid or what?
Christmas is not orange juice. Christmas is eggnog. Christmas doesn’t come in July.6 Or May for that matter. Christmas comes in December.
I would have difficulty at Christmas accepting Santa in a Hawaiian shirt with Leis around his neck strumming a ukulele, or on Panama Beach in flip-flops and tank top flailing-away with his surf-casting rod. Hawaii is to too too far from family,7 too. I need seasonal variation. Like to understand nature has a time she too wants to rest, recuperate, rejuvenate. Don’t want either, to fly to snow, borrow it so to speak for two weeks, then return to sunny humidity bordering on boredom.
Florida has appealing qualities. Christmas is only part of the year. But to face “wish you were here” sandy beach postcard scenarios year around? No. Great selling-points aside, I pass.
1 Retirement. I’d like to font that so it looks like a creep-show banner. Realizing the flack it will cause, I still admit I’m just now making progress convincing myself retirement is not a death sentence, not as close to death as one can come retaining hopes of escape if another option presents.
2 Hereafter you understand, “us” and “we.” Relocation left to me alone (I can’t imagine that, don’t want to contemplate that) would be different, have different parameters. Suppose since I’ve mentioned it, I have contemplated it. “We” have those discussions, too. Unpleasant. Dismissed.
3 Exotics. Frame of reference. Remember, I hail from the US(of)A. Alabama and Rhode Island are “exotic” to me.
4 Please don’t correct me, telling me of lovely sunny days in London and surrounds, or remind me of proximity to fresh Salmon in and around Anywhere, Coastal Northwest. Refrain, too, from telling me of the wonderfully mild seasonal variations in Iberia. The decision under debate is already difficult enough. Then, there’s the distance thing.
5 JIT “Just In Time.” Get out your Six Sigma hats.
6 Lest my Down-under and other Southern Hemisphere friends take offense, it’s an accultured thing. I’d been born and raised in Brisbane, I’d consider snow Un-Christmasy. Forgive me my parochialism.
7 Air travel is out of the question. Just for the holidays or just to see family. Years ago (I understand those who tire of hearing of it, but shut up, it’s all true) air travel was an adventure and pleasant. Any long distance, tiring, but pleasant, even romantic. I personally have no desire to be seat-bound for six hours or more with a group of sloppily dressed, often unpleasantly fragrant boorish clods and entitled biddies with their emotional support iguanas. The bawling babies? I wear hearing aids. Plop, plop: quiet.