Monday, May 14, 2018

20 Ways Florida Will Kill You

I went to the dermatologist last week because my arms have been itching for nearly a year. I know, I know, I'm super-expedient in taking care of health problems as soon as they arise. The dermatologist's assessment? I have PMLE (polymorphous light eruption.) In layman's terms: I'm allergic to the sun. It's a good thing I live in Florida. The Sunshine State. 

This news just made me think - Well there's yet another way this state is going to kill me. And this state will kill you at some point which really makes you wonder why on earth people continue to move here. As far as I can tell, the main only reason is "for the weather." But let me tell you a little secret. The weather sucks! From April through October the temperature ranges from the-surface-of-the-sun hot to the-devil's-attic hot with the kind of humidity that feels like you have a wet blanket fresh from the dryer over your face. So the "good weather" people move here for is really basically 3 weeks of moderate weather during the winter. When you look at those facts, it seems pretty silly to stay in a state that will kill you 20 different ways just for the reward of a couple nice weeks of weather in December. 

I know you're probably asking - How will Florida kill me, Dawn? Isn't that a tad bit dramatic? 

Let me tell you. 

photo: Creative Commons
Driving is about the most dangerous thing you can do in Florida. When I first moved here, I was shocked to find that my car insurance had doubled. DOUBLED. No lie. It didn't take me long to figure out why. Florida has the 5th highest insurance rate in the nation. I-4, the highway that runs east and west through central Florida was named the most dangerous road in the nation. Not in the state. In the entire country. Although Driver's Education was a graduation requirement where we lived in Illinois, it isn't even offered at the high schools around here. So you have idiots teaching the youth of Florida how to drive. It's a never-ending vicious circle of stupidity. 

People who live here like to blame it on senior citizens and tourists, and I'm sure they play a part, but the real problem is the entitled people, and the idiots, and this state has an overflowing abundance of both. Floridians don't feel the need to wait for their turn at a 4-way stop. Some of them don't even know what a 4-way stop is! They also see nothing wrong with throwing it in reverse when they realize they're on the wrong exit ramp. Making u-turns from the far right lane is perfectly acceptable to these people. And let's not forget all the jaywalkers because really, who has time to walk those extra couple feet to cross at the crosswalk? I mean, the cars will stop for them, right? Florida has the second highest number of pedestrian deaths. And lastly, Florida is number one in motorcycle deaths. Yay, Florida! Congratulations on those accomplishments. 


photo: Dawn Meehan
Florida also wins the award for the most lightning strikes per square mile with an average of 24.7. There were 463 fatalities from 1959-2011, more than any other state. Perfectly understandable why people move here FOR THE WEATHER, right? 

photo: Dawn Meehan
Which brings us to the next thing that will kill you. Experts are predicting another active hurricane season for 2018. I, for one, am not looking forward to this. Hurricane Irma hitting last year was the scariest thing I've ever gone through. (And keep in mind, I've taught 4 kids how to drive!) I honestly don't know what the worst part of that experience was: fighting with strangers for the last can of clam chowder on the shelves at Publix, waiting in line for gasoline, the uprooted trees outside my apartment, or being enclosed in a small bathroom with a farting teenager while waiting out the storm. 

photo: Creative Commons
Being comprised of porous limestone, Florida has always had sinkholes, but since Hurricane Irma, sinkholes have increased exponentially. It would probably suck if you came home after work only to find your house 12 feet below ground. Although I suppose it might be okay if a sinkhole swallowed your workplace . . . 

photo: Creative Commons
When people move here for the amazing weather, they don't realize that part of that amazingness is rain every single day during the spring, summer, and fall, followed by not a single drop of rain all winter. The result is death-by-lightning in the summer (see number 2), and uncontrollable wild fires during the winter and early spring. When the fires reduce visibility on nearby roads, they're shut down causing more death-by-traffic problems (see number 1.) 

6.  HEAT
photo: Creative Commons
Since moving to Florida my most time-consuming hobby is complaining about the heat. This interest truly does take up a good part of my every day. If the heat (or being allergic to the sun :::eyeroll:::) doesn't kill me, I'm bound to eventually be knocked off by someone who doesn't appreciate my new hobby of incessantly complaining about the heatwaves coming off the pavement, my hair which has frizzed to Hagrid-sized volume, or the fact that sweat is covering every inch of my body. 

photo: Creative Commons
When I think about tornadoes, I think about Kansas, but Florida is number 3 in the country for tornadoes. The reason the kids and I hung out in the bathroom during Hurricane Irma was mostly because of all the tornadoes that touched down as the hurricane ripped through. And incidentally, basements are pretty much non-existent in Florida what with the average altitude being 6 feet about sea level. A basement in Florida would pretty quickly turn into an indoor swimming pool so there's no safe place to hide from these beasts. 

photo: Creative Commons
I love the beach. It's my favorite thing about Florida. But the beach may be more dangerous than the weather. Every year, rip currents kill more people than thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes combined. 

photo: Dawn Meehan
My kids and I have all been stung by jellyfish. A few months ago, some of us got stuck with creatures called Sea Butterflies. Seriously. Sea Butterflies. It sounds like something from SpongeBob, but nope they're real and they look and feel like little slivers of fiberglass jabbing in your skin. Man-of-Wars wash up on Florida beaches all the time and although they look like pretty blue balloons, they HURT. 

photo: Creative Commons
You know what other category Florida is number one in? That's right - shark attacks! And I'm not entirely convinced that number 7 (tornadoes) and number 10 (shark attacks) won't combine to make a Sharknado one day. 

photo: Dawn Meehan
You know when you walk out to your car in the morning, coffee in hand, ready to begin your commute to work, but you can't actually get IN your car because an alligator is blocking your path? No? Well, you obviously don't live in Florida then. You would probably call this scenario crazy. Floridians just call it Monday. 

photo: Dawn Meehan
A couple week ago I was sitting at the football field, watching my girls' cheer practice, and minding my own business when a fish fell from the sky. Let me say that one more time. A fish. Fell. From the sky. And not just any fish, but a needlefish. Now there may not be any records of a cheer mom having her brain impaled by a needlefish launched by a hawk, but I have no doubt it could happen. 

photo: Creative Commons
You may think it's a smart idea to avoid oceans what with their rip currents, jellyfish, and sharks, and head to a lake instead. You'd be wrong. Every year, people in Florida die from this brain-eating amoeba that thrives in warm fresh water. (I suspect many more survive with only part of their brains eaten away. That would help  explain number 1 on this list.) 

photo: Dawn Meehan
This is a picture of an actual Black Widow that had stupidly thought to make her home on my lanai. The picture was taken after it had been bombarded with a series of bug spray, bleach cleaner, hairspray, fire, and a size 13 shoe. (You can never be too careful.) I recommend you read the whole story here. 

photo: Creative Commons
According to my sources, of the over 50 species of snakes in Florida, only 6 of them are venomous. Well, that certainly makes me heave a sigh of relief! (Roughly translated from sarcasm to English, that means, Who cares??? It's a snake! A SNAKE! Does it matter if it's venomous? No, it does not! If I see one, I will be making tracks like a triathlete on crack!) Oh, and don't forget that we also have ginormous Burmese pythons in the Everglades as well. 

photo: Creative Commons
You know that scene in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull where the bad guy is carried away by an army of red ants? I remember seeing this movie in the theater and laughing my head off because it was just so ludicrous. And then I moved to Florida. It could happen. 

photo: Dawn Meehan
So maybe there aren't any deaths by cockroaches on record, but on more than one occasion, I have nearly caused a 5 car pile-up because a cockroach crawled across my foot while driving. One time, I pulled over, jumped out of the car, and did a little freak-out dance in the middle of the street. Don't judge. The cockroaches down here are the size of Golden Retrievers. 

photo: Creative Commons
In this state we have bears, panthers, Sandhill cranes that are as tall as Big Bird, armadillos, and vultures by the dozen. It's like living in Jurassic Park. 

photo: Creative Commons
If a doctor can't get a job anywhere else, he goes to Florida where he can work an hour a day and spend the rest of the time on the golf course. Since living here in Florida, a doctor told my son he had HIV. He doesn't. They mixed up the tests. Two different doctors on two different trips to the ER missed the blood clot in my leg until it traveled to my lung. Another doctor told us my son needed immediate surgery on his broken knee cap. Nope. If you really need medical care while in Florida, I suggest you hop a plane to literally anywhere else. Hmmm, now that I think about it, has anyone actually heard of a sun allergy? Questioning my dermatologist's diagnosis . . . 

photo: Creative Commons
One day, several years ago, my kids were watching a show on TV called I Almost Got Away With It. Every time I walked into the room, I caught the narrator talking about how the crime took place in Florida or how the criminal escaped to Florida. After several hours of this I Almost Got Away With It marathon, I asked my kids, "Is this a special Florida edition?" to which they replied, "No." Nope. It just so happens that every news story that makes you wonder What the hell? starts with "A man from Florida . . ." Or "A Florida man . . ." Or sometimes, "A woman from Florida . . ." For example: A man from Florida tries to marry a squirrel because he says it looks like Beyonce. Florida man tries to wrap a flamingo around his neck like a scarf when temperatures plummet to 72 degrees. 

But hey, let's not forget about those 3 glorious weeks of nice weather in December. I mean, that's worth being attacked by sharks, being impaled by a fish falling from the sky, and having Florida man eat your face off, right?


Shellie said...

Sounds a lot like Houston!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the laughs! As a Canadian I sometimes think it might be nice to move somewhere warmer, but it sounds like nature is just trying to kill you in different ways down there! I think I'll stick with the cold.

Anonymous said...

Awww..You are to funny.. It's not that bad.. I have lived in Florida all my life.
But your living in the Orlando area.. A city with a HUGE tourist attraction. DISNEY WORLD..Hello.. .. That alone should tell you Orlando is honestly a world in it self.
Tourist meaning on top of a ton of transplants already living there and mix in your typical true idiot hollier than thou Floridians you also have other transplant people come from all over the country to go to Orlando to visit.
Making it one big huge cluster of ding dongs one must sift through..
I guess no one made the suggestion. Hey. Dawn... Orlando is the #1 place you DON'T move to next to Miami which is a whole other story in it's self.
Any where else isn't so bad.. I live in N FL.. I would never EVER move to Orlando.. Just a bit of advise.. If you move again with in FL.. Do not go down the state.. Move up or leave..
Yes Roaches are a part of our wonderful state.. They love our weather too.. along with mosquitoes, alligators, snakes, spiders, ants and the wonderful love bugs.. Can't forget about them..
Oh and Man-o wars are not Jellyfish..
Our Tornado's are never more than F1 or 2's max..
The lighting is a killer for real..
The fires are only ever couple years or so and central Florida is the capitol city for sink holes.
I truly enjoy your blog..

Ernie said...

I live in Chicago, and I do love the sun. thanks for reminding me that sun comes at a price. 'Devil's attic' - awesome!

Nancy D said...

I've lived half my life in Chicago and half in Florida (south Florida for part of it and now on the east coast near Melbourne.) We left Chicago, not because of the weather (that was the last reason) but because of the crime. We lived in the city and every day in the months before we moved I would pray when I walked our dog, "Please don't let me get shot..." The crime is horrific there. And the cost of living in the city is ridiculous. Paying for parking for everything from going to the doctor/dentist, to the movies, to go grocery shopping. They tax you to death - sales tax, tax on water bottles, tax on plastic bags, skyrocketing property taxes.

The personnel at the post office in Chicago will give you hell or not wait on you at all if your package does not meet all the requirements. The post office in my town will wrap and box items for senior citizens (NO CHARGE!) and if the additional postage is a small amount, they cover it for them. In Chicago, you would be sent out of line to buy the box, bubble wrap and packing tape and have to get back in line. Believe me, Florida is a great improvement.

People are nice and friendly at every store I visit here. They will go out of their way to help you. You will not see that in Chicago (maybe in the suburbs, but in the city, NO WAY!)

Thanks, but I will take Florida. Go to a smaller town (we have almost no traffic even in high season). I don't like the ocean, so no problem with sharks or jellyfish. I absolutely agree with you on the drivers though - they are insane.

Sarah said...

As a Chicagoan turned central Floridian for almost eleven years now, this gave me a good laugh.

But I have to disagree about the healthcare - I LOVE my doctors and local hospital, way better than the healthcare I received in Naperville where my sore throat was diagnosed as “probably the onset of strep” and two days later I was hospitalized for severe dehydration because I couldn’t even swallow my own saliva due to tonsillitis...good times!

Vanessence7 said...

Re #20, Ted Bundy made it to FL, too, after escaping from CO.

Proves your point even more! lol

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