A mere 6 weeks ago, the day before Halloween, I wrote a blog (https://talktimewithjoan.com/?s=+walking+queen) about my walking routine and posted pictures of me decked out in my shorts, neon tee shirt, along with my supply bag of ice water and sweat rag, among other necessary items for walking in the Southern Florida oppressive heat and unbearable humidity.
It is now December. This may be Florida, but what passes as a Florida winter has arrived, and it is now FREEZING in the morning. Okay, okay, 55 degrees may not be “freezing” to those of you above the Mason Dixon line, but to Native Floridians and long-term transplants like me ( 14 ½ years), 55 degrees feels like a descending ice storm. Before I opened my door one morning last week to a blast of this iciness, albeit with a bright shining sun, I had dressed in socks, long pants, a long-sleeve tee-shirt, and a sweater. I long ago rid my closet of knit ski caps, so my baseball cap had to suffice as a head warmer. I was still cold but figured a 2+ hour walk would go a long way in warming me up.
As I was hurrying along, I saw a blur out of the corner of my eye. Gliding along next to me was a man, BAREFOOT, propelling himself on a scooter, dressed in shorts and a tee-shirt, carrying a rolled-up towel under his arm. He was headed straight to the pool. I thought……………What????? What is he doing? It’s freezing out. Before I had a chance to answer myself, another man walked by. At least he had flip flops on his feet, but he, too, was wearing shorts and carrying a towel.
These men, my dear friends, are what we down here in the Sunshine State refer to as “snowbirds” and a living, breathing example of “perspective”. A snowbird is someone who lives in the North during the bearable spring and summer months but escapes winter’s ice, snow, slush, and freezing temperatures by spending the winter months down here in Southern warmth.
This is where “perspective” comes into play. If, when you leave Chicago, it is 15 degrees with a wind chill factor of -20 degrees, Florida’s 55-degree weather feels as toasty warm as an oven. Pool weather. If, however, you live in the South all year round and are used to 90-degree weather, a drop to 55 degrees is bone-chilling. Thus, one ends up with two people walking side by side – one bundled up in layers of sweaters; the other a barefoot pool goer.
I cannot help but laugh at the absurd pictures of it. Yesterday, with the late afternoon temperature barely reaching 60, I went to the grocery store dressed in jeans and a long sleeve fleece sweater. The parking lot was a dichotomy of contrasting perspectives. Half the shoppers exiting their cars were dressed in jeans, sweatshirts, and/or jackets. And yes, some even wore the aforementioned knitted ski cap. The other half of the shoppers were dressed in shorts and tee shirts, sporting flip flops on their feet. As I entered the store, the first person I saw was a woman dressed in a sleeveless, deep vee neck, ankle length, side slitting, tight-fitting white dress of some flimsy thin material. (Yes, male readers, I am guessing you are wishing such a person could be found in YOUR grocery store of choice.) Was it a coincidence that she grabbed a life-size furry stuffed Teddy Bear from one of the Christmas sale racks and held it close to her chest as she scurried along? To keep herself warm, perhaps? (No, I don’t know why a grocery store was selling giant Teddy Bears.)
In any case, I observed in amusement, the varying degrees of dress exhibited by the multitude of Publix shoppers. Then I went home and turned on my heat.