How goes it? Good I hope!
Yours truly is in good ol’ South Florida. Fort Myers to be exact! This sprawling, urban suburbia, just 30 miles from the second richest town in the USA, has one of the worst unemployment rates in the nation. Spat out without second thought to such small issues like the environment, walkability, or constituent happiness, is also known as the “my-grandma/uncle/stalker-live-there”.
It’s a strange thing, but everyone knows someone who lives here. Heck, I once met a guy in Paris wearing a shirt with the words “I love Fort Myers Beach” ironed on the front. Boy did I weird him out.
After a decade of calling this my permanent zip code, I have grown (against all prior expectations) to love this corner of the sunshine state.
First, you have the unique populace. Ten percent German, ten percent northerners, eighty percent old. Yes, old. “Snowbirds,” as we locals affectionately dub the masses of retirees that swarm south for the winter, are a tourist attraction in their own right. At first you notice only the horrible driving, but one eventually learns to forgive the wrinkly bikini bodies thanks to their cute new jersey drawls and the fact that “soda” is now “pop”.
Then there’s a beach, the proximity to Miami, the everglades, and the Edison home. I hardly ever go to any of these places, but I’m still proud. Being a “true” beach bum (see: poser), I scoff at stories of ten foot sharks. I’ve heard of friends-of-friends who’ve wrestled bigger. Alligators and snakes? They practically sleep in my bed. Edison? Aside from the fact that I’m pretty sure he was a douche, I don’t object that the inventor of the light bulb called this place home.
No, all in all, this is a decent place. Whoever is in charge, finally got some nightlife to stay in business downtown (I’m about to test out the beer selection in just a few minutes!)…and a small upswing of liberal voters gives me some hope. If we keep going on this trajectory, we might even be able to have another grand marshall with a pseudo-celebrity status; we once had one of the hot actors from Desperate Housewives…middle-aged women here went crazy, and his grandmother (a local) was suddenly everyone’s best friend.
I guess that’s all you can ask for on a Tuesday night: a place known for sun, sand, and grannies.
A far cry from Paris, but home is still…home.