All the tourism ads like to depict Florida as this golden paradise, where the skies are clear and you’re free to cavort on the beach all day under a shining sun. What the ads don’t show is that you’d better get all of that cavorting out of the way before mid-afternoon. Because that’s the time of day things start to get downright biblical.
See, all that nice warm weather sucks up a lot of moisture. And what goes up must come down. And since this is Florida, coming down in a nice, light shower is out of the question. It has to come down out of something that looks like what happened when the Nazis opened the Ark of the Covenant mixed with the aliens showing up in Independence Day. Just these huge black clouds rolling in to make sure your fun is done for the day with a torrent of rain and lightning. You can damn near set your watch by them too. Look off into the distance around two or three in the afternoon and you’ll see a subtle darkening, maybe a flash or two, and your plans going right down the drain.
Most of us natives have enough sense to get our things done before then. Hell, the smart ones down here do anything involving being outside before eleven, because by then it’s just too damn hot. You’ll see people out mowing their lawns at the crack of dawn because it’s the twenty or thirty or so minutes in the day when it doesn’t feel like the surface of Mercury. Then we all run back inside into the AC to ride out the weather roller coaster.
Because Florida weather not only hates us, it’s cruel. It’ll blast you like a furnace for a few hours, then soak and electrify you for a while. Then, when you think the worst has passed and that maybe the rain will have cooled things off a bit, the sun comes out to remind you that it’s Daylight Savings Time and it’s got at least three or four more hours left in it. And all that rain sitting on the ground starts evaporating and the place turns into the world’s biggest sauna. This usually coincides with everyone getting home from work, followed by everyone turning their AC on at once, followed by the power going out. So now we’re wet, hot, and in the dark. Great under certain circumstances, but not a Florida summer.
Just last night, we tempted fate by going to see an outdoor showing of Flash Gordon. We should have known better, what with the movie actually having the word “flash” in the title, and especially since the show had been cancelled twice already due to weather. But there we were in our naive optimism, watching the clouds build and the lightning flash in the distance, hoping Flash Gordon would beat the real-life disaster unfolding as well as the cinematic one. But no, not even fifteen minutes in, with Flash not even off the planet yet, the film stopped, the apologetic announcements began, and we all drifted away wondering why we didn’t expect this and just watch the damn thing on DVD. We live with this all our lives, and we still hope we’ll catch a break. And nature just laughs and laughs and laughs.
But we’ll show her when we’re all still wearing shorts in the middle of December!