Now that I’ve annoyed the residents of my new state for a five month period, it’s time to give back to those who have so generously contributed to my collection of things to use in novels.
The “Florida Flag.” This is a handicapped parking tag hanging from the rearview mirror of the car while driving. Many of my fellows down here never take the thing down for any reason, just peering around it. I have found from experience, that the rearview mirror itself is an annoyance, and blocks my view of cars approaching the intersection from my right. It’s because of my height, and the general placement of the mirrors. I have learned to work around it. But that big, blue tag hanging down in their field of vision blocks them almost completely. Thus, when entering traffic from the right, I exercise extreme caution because of the startling large number of grey-headed ding-dongs driving with a Florida Flag.
The double yellow line meant no passing, uh-uh, never in the north. In Florida I have decided, based on keen observation, that it means you can pass, but only on the curviest part of the road, and you MUST pass at least two cars at once. As a preliminary to this, you are obligated to tailgate the cars you will pass for a minimum of 1/2 mile.
Cart corrals are relatively new to this part of Florida. I’ve been visiting for almost 20 years, and it has been with joy that I’ve seen them spreading. During my first visits, they were virtually unknown. But for at least the last 10 years they have become a normal thing. Evidently the learning curve for some residents is more than 10 years, because I routinely see them leaving the cart in the space next to them, even if the cart corral is the next space over. I, being very helpful and whatnot, will often point out the corral to them as they enter their vehicle, hope they are soon cured of their terrible illness causing such vision loss and weakness, and roll the cart to the collection point for them. I am so friggin helpful that it evidently causes pain in their middle fingers on occasion. I wish I could massage their digit for them, but it seems to pass quickly as they drive off.
The super majority of people down here are way nicer than Minnesota Nice. I’m good with being called bubba, honey, sugar. At least when it’s women. Men calling me sugar makes me suspicious and is not welcome. But people go that extra mile around here to be helpful.
This is especially true for my neighbors. Dear me, I love those people. I have great neighbors here, just like I did in Saint Paul.
Another astute observation from my long-distance walks: if the fence has a “beware of dog” sign, and the gates are open, use caution. Today, on my walk with Chewy, we approached one of those properties where I’d never seen a dog before. The gates were open. I heard a Chihuahua barking but couldn’t see the driveway yet due to the gigantic hedge.
Well, no problemo, I says to Chewy. That little yipper will stay in the yard and we’re good. Kind of amusing, since they have a picture of a snarling Doberman posted on the fence. Heh, some people’s sense of humor.
As we approached the end of the hedge, I could see the driveway – they’re kind of long around here, around 40-100 yards – and the dog. Not the barking Chihuahua, but the 12 foot tall Doberman with razor sharp fangs. He was at least that big.
Being marginally sane, I did two things: popped the snap on my holster to get a gun ready and turned right around with Chewy to leave the area. I don’t fancy getting mauled, and Chewy has never expressed an interest in this either. (You are insane to walk the back roads around here without a weapon. There are wild hogs, bobcats, big snakes, gators, and former linguists all over the place.)
We escaped unharmed, but I guess that gate has to be watched more closely from now on. Yikes. That Dobie was big.
This, clearly, disappointed Chewy, who has grown fond of walking down that road. In fact, he woke me up this morning and wasn’t subtle about wanting to go for a walk. The minute I touch my walking pack it’s all over: he loses it. This picture is of me trying to put my shoes on with his help. (He’s not actually helpful.)
Well, that’s the observational update for now. I hope you are having a great day. I know I am.