If you are a Floridian, please understand that I don't think less of you as a person.
But...I don't want to be you.
It's nothing personal. It's me, not you.
It was awkward visiting Florida last week, being beseeched by family and friends to come back for two weeks, or a month, or a season, or forever, and smiling politely while thinking, "Not only no, but hell to the no."
As far as Orlando or Kissimmee, there's no question: Short of being kidnapped and held in chains (perhaps in the Medieval Times dinner theater), nothing could compel us to live there; not even our sons. Visit, yes; not live, not even for a month.
Fellow Traveler reconnected with one of her very best high school friends, who now lives with her husband in a retirement mobile home community in the cow-country interior. As much as we enjoyed that visit -- this lady and her husband are delightful, and real pistols -- we couldn't help but think, why? Why, of al the places on earth to live year-round, would they choose this place? Now, I'm sure many of our friends would ask the same thing of us. But it seemed that this particular community, ironically, was quite a bit like ours, only without any of the good things, plus venomous snakes and breath-sucking humidity.
Our big road trip of the week was an excursion to St. Augustine. I enjoyed St. Augustine a lot -- its historicity and artsy-ness with a dash of college-town, and its proximity to the water. It looked and felt like the Leelanau in the summertime, only with more pirates. But, as Fellow Traveler told our filial chaparones, "This is the only place in Florida I'd ever consider living, and only if the weather were like this [breezy and barely breaking 70 degrees] year-round." -- an observation met with nervous, defeat-conceding heh-hehs.
Of course, our kids think we're insane for enduring the single-digit weather we came home to. But we don't mind. It actually, and I can't believe I'm saying this, felt good to feel the cold wind hit my face as we walked out of the airport to the parking lot. The Upper Midwest is a pretty good place to live.