Dec 012003

What a mostly wretched weekend. I hate Florida. The whole place seems dirty somehow, no matter how clean and upscale parts of it may be. Development proceeds at a breakneck pace, yet it still feels like the swamp it once was, as if the concrete and strip malls were merely a thin veneer over the muck. There are too many old people there. It’s depressing, like a human version of the Elephant Graveyard. Everyone goes there to die, and instead of ivory tusks they leave behind double-wide trailers and 40-year-old bicycles. My friend Chris, who was from Ft. Myers, used to say that Florida was full of nothing but “newlyweds and nearly-deads”.

The only good thing about being there was seeing Grandma again after 3 years, and spending Thanksgiving with Mom. Other than that I’ve rarely been so bored in my life. There was nowhere to go, and nothing to do. I actually read work-related material, took walks, and watched TV for hours at a time, although not happily. We were led to believe that she was on her deathbed, and while she understandably spent most of her time in bed, I didn’t see the word “death” written anywhere on it. In fact, Mom and I independently observed that she might have been milking the whole thing, just a bit. Still, I’m grateful that Aaron was generous enough to send us both there, and that Grandma is not facing imminent death, but I still feel a bit slighted over the whole thing.

And don’t even get me started about my step-grandfather. What a hateful old man he is. He never sits down, always hovers around, questions everything you do no matter how innocuous, and hates all groups of people with the slightest provocation. Postal workers (“I’ll bet you’ll find none those sons-of-bitches can pass an IQ test.”), people from phase 3 of their park (“Goddamn phase 3 sons-of-bitches, why don’t they stay in their own damn park!”), and especially snowbirds, which are people who move to Florida for the winter and go back north in the summer (“I hate all these goddamn snowbirds. Why the hell don’t they just stay in their own goddamn state?!”). His only saving graces are that he takes extremely good care of my grandma, and is usually generous, if incredibly abrasive and annoying. I suppose he’s gotten so bad because he’s frustrated and bored, the same as we were, but he can’t go home to relieve it, like we could, because he IS home. As much as I can’t stand him for any period of time, I do sympathize with his situation.

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