When Jim and I took our first trip to Florida, we got a kick out of hanging out at his parent’s trailer park with the seniors. It was fun for a couple of reasons. Firstly – they could drink us under the table and still be able to kill us at euchre. Secondly - they were like exotic wrinkly creatures, all wrapped in hats and glasses, and in comparison we felt strong and reckless.
We also loved the hot sun, though we seemed to be the only ones. Even though the snowbirds came for the weather- they made a point to stay inside. Wandering through the compound we could here them laughing and watching TV, but they were safely behind a screen. Even the restaurant were glassed in – not a patio in sight.
We were particularly disappointed one night – as we snuck off on our own to go to a fish restaurant. Expecting to eat outdoors, we were a confronted by shiny panes of glass. Behind it were sea of little white heads sipping on cocktails, and with the blue walls and fake plants, it felt like we were staring into a giant aquarium. Jim and I looked at each other, in our smug youth, and wondered what the f*ck was the point of being in Florida if you’re going to sit inside. The fun was on our side of the glass!
|Me and Jim. (No, not really)|
Fast forward 'till last week, and I’m in Miami taking a tour of the Art Deco district. ‘Is it just me,’ I wondered aloud, ‘or is anyone else burning up inside?’ My companions, all fresh faced and breezy, looked at me blankly and shook their heads. Apparently it was just me. As our little group strolled through the streets, I dashed from one piece of shade to the next – disappearing into doorways and hiding under trees. Our guide, who was about 180 years old, looked cool as a cucumber in his short-sleeved shirt. But I was melting, and when we passed a garish souvenir shop, I bolted inside and bought the first hat I saw, along with a few bottles of water.
Rejoining the group, I felt a little bit better. And by ‘better’ I meant that I no longer feared passing out on the sidewalk in front of Gianni Versace’s mansion in a pool of my own vomit. Still it was pretty darned unpleasant. I couldn’t tell if it was just one long hot flash or if in the process of being rewired I’d lost any tolerance for heat. I was dragging myself around feeling like a furnace wearing a fedora.
Once our tour was over, my friends and I went off in search of tacos and margaritas, and at Katie’s suggestion, a nice patio.
Are you serious?!’ I squeaked, ‘It’s kind of hot, don’t you think?’ Another round of blank looks. I pointed feebly to a restaurant across the street. No patio in sight but it did have a neon cocktail dancing in the window. Taking pity on me and my red blotchy face, we went in, got settled in a booth, and ordered a round of fish tacos and margaritas.
Outside, hoards of people in pastel colours sashayed down the sidewalk. And watching them was an event in itself – even if we were on the other side of the glass.