Thursday, October 6, 2016


Almost to a person, when I tell people that I moved back to Chicago from Florida after twenty seven years of living there, they say "Why would you ever leave Florida?" Those people are the ones who have either never been to Florida or have only been there during the balmy months of January and February. The only two decent months we had. The rest of the year was mostly very hot and very humid. Okay, so you say, "A little heat and humidity, I like it hot." No you don't. Unless your name is Lucifer or you are half iguana, you would not enjoy summer in Florida. Summer in Florida is called Spring, Summer, and Autumn in the rest of the country. And that summer in Florida is like the hottest, most humid day you have ever experienced, times two.

Right now in South Florida things are kind of in upheaval. Folks are running around buying up all the canned tuna, topping off their gas tanks, nailing up plywood on their windows, and generally in a tizzy over Hurricane Matthew. Hurricanes are the number two reason I moved back to Chicago. I'd rather risk getting shot than live through another one. If you've never been in a hurricane let me describe to you what it's like. First, there is the anticipation. Watching the little hurricane symbol slowly move across the NOAA map towards you is nerve wracking. Listening to the television news people hype it up for a week before it is scheduled to come ashore causes heartburn. Worst of all, every television show you may want to watch is pre-empted by hurricane coverage. Non-stop hurricane coverage. But what do you care. You won't be able to see your favorite television shows anyway when the electric goes out. So finally it arrives. A howling, roaring wind that you think isn't so bad, until it screams like a locomotive bearing down on you with its horn blasting away and your neighbor's shed slams into your shuttered living room window. During Hurricane Wilma I was sure that the tree next to the house was going to come through the roof, that is if the roof stayed on long enough. I was terrified. And a hurricane doesn't just blow through fast, it stays and stays, blasting away for hours, flinging everything it picks up against your house. Oh, and that electricity? It usually goes out in the first half hour of high winds. After Hurricane Wilma we had no water for three days, no phone, cell or land line, for a week, and no electricity for two weeks. That is two whole weeks of no air conditioning, no television, no lights, no refrigerator, no anything that needs power. Our house smelled like a ripe homeless encampment by the time the power came back on. And that refrigerator needed a complete scrubbing after being taken over by a thick layer of mold and mildew. We would have emptied it, but there was no place to throw away all the rotten meat, and veggies that were in there.

Hurricanes are misery. Hurricanes are terrifying. It is something I never want to go through again in my life. So, that's one big reason I am back here in Chicago. Good luck to all my friends back in Fort Lauderdale. I sincerely hope that Matthew takes a northerly turn and misses you.

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