Living as I do in South Florida, I often joke with friends up North that our summer is actually their winter. It's not really a joke, though. Friends who make the mistake of coming to visit in the summer quickly learn that the reality of Florida summer is vastly different from expectation.
In order to survive this brutal season, we treat it like the rest of North America treats winter.
Don't believe me? Consider the following evidence.
Support #1 - Holing up Indoors
Don't worry, Northern friends. I do get it. Only those who've been forced to spend the winter indoors huddling under a pile of blankets can truly appreciate the sun's arrival in summer. As one of my Midwestern friends is fond of saying to celebrate the arrival of outdoor workout weather, "Sun's out, guns out!" (She's referring to her arms. She lifts. She's crazy strong. I admire her.)
Down here, however, we live by a different summer motto: "Flee the sun lest it boil your face off."
While the months of November through May are nearly idyllic -- drawing visitors from around the globe to experience our lazy winter days -- June through October cause us to question why anybody lives here in the first place.
Support #2 - Extreme Weather
In the Northeast and Midwest, winter is the time to brace yourself. You dress for extreme cold and fortify your homes and vehicles against winter storms. For us, the opposite is true. Extreme temperatures and damaging storms arrive during summer.
In addition to soaring temperatures, Florida summer also heralds the arrival of our rainy season. (Although I've been using the culturally-accepted terms summer and winter for the sake of clarity, experts actually name Florida's two seasons as rainy and dry.)
These aren't just cute little rain showers, however. They're daily deluges. Almost every summer afternoon in South Florida, towering thunderheads blow in out of nowhere, unleashing torrential tropical downpours accompanied by severe electrical storms.
In addition to daily storms, we also face the very real threat of named tropical storms and hurricanes. In fact, even as I type this post, a tropical storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to become the next named storm, bringing -- at the least -- flooding and dangerous seas.
Is it any wonder that our seasonal residents abandon ship every April?
Support #3 - Complaining on Social Media
Our friends up North spend the winter months recording freezing cold temps and chronicling the snowfall on their back porches. They take to social media to bemoan the many layers of clothes they'll have to don just to take the dog out for a morning walk.
Meanwhile, in Florida, we spend summer cataloging the days that it's still 90 degrees after sunset (seriously, how??) and the fact that we broke into a sweat while merely walking toward the gym at 6:00am.
Please know that I'm not trying to turn this into a post about whose seasonal issues are worse. (I think we can agree that Siberia has us all beat.)
And I'm not necessarily complaining about Florida weather. After all, I choose to live here year-round for a reason. We may spend our summer hiding from the sun, but at least we don't have to shovel it off our sidewalks.
And I do know that Florida summers are not the exact same thing as your winters. It's just that the parallels are undeniable.
Any place you choose to live is going to have its ups and downs, and -- all things considered -- Florida's pretty great. During the months of November through April, there's almost no place I'd rather be. The skies are clear, the seas a tranquil blue-green, and the temperatures just right for lounging poolside with a good book.
Once winter rolls around, I'm sure plenty of you would be happy to trade places.
Bear in mind, however, that we do have other problems.
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