Thunder, Lightning, Fireworks
Thunder, lightning, fireworks: these three words are synonymous with Florida summers. It’s now the 13th of July, and it’s funny because back when I lived in Ireland the date in July I dreaded was the 12th. The drunken antics, the noisy parties, and not wanting to leave the house. Since I arrived in Florida, however, my dread for the 12th has been replaced with a dread for the 4th.
Americans go absolutely crazy on the 4th of July. The craziness isn’t limited to this single date either. The weeks before and after the 4th are like testing phases for the continuous noise of the 4th. I don’t even want to know how much Americans spend on fireworks at this time of year.
So, from the end of June until about the 11th of July, you are guaranteed to hear fireworks popping every single night. The icing on this nuisance of a cake is the fact that we live in an area where there are lots of houses. It’s not quite what us Irish would call an estate, as it doesn’t have a cul-de-sac, and the houses are all different.
Nonetheless, there are houses on both sides of us, and houses across the road. It’s similar to quiet roads in Ireland outside the town that have nice detached houses on each side. Oh um, except for the fact that it’s anything but quiet. I estimate Americans who celebrate the 4th of July in style must buy approximately one million fireworks per person. It’s not a fun day for me. I love independence and all that, but I spend the time trying to calm down my three furry babies: Cookie, Leon, and Zeus.
Anyway, I’ve only been here for two summers, but I can already confidently say that summer is, by far, my least favorite season in Florida. You have all of the following annoyances during the summer:
Thunder and Lightning
Now I know you do get occasional thunder and lightning in Ireland, but oh jeepers. Thunder happens at least a couple of times every week during the summer here. And it’s very loud thunder, too. It’s not that kind of thunder that you hear in the distance. It’s the kind that makes the house vibrate slightly. Uh huh. Pair this with three dogs who are all scared of thunder and: ba-da-boom. Lightning doesn’t happen quite as much, but more than enough to scare the absolute wits out of me. Storms here are scary. I always feel a bit like Dorothy before the tornado strikes any time I experience thunder of lightning here.
Rain, Constant Rain
Well I just couldn’t believe it when I first experienced a summer here. This is supposed to be ‘The Sunshine State’. Whoever made that up was obviously talking about sunshine mixed with torrential rain in the summer. I don’t mind rain on its own. I think I just go into diva mode when it rains in Florida. My mind goes something like this:
‘What in the world? I thought Ireland was supposed to have the rainy climate. This is ridiculous. Here I am, living in a foreign country: I can’t drive, I dunno how to do stuff, and the Florida sky has the audacity to rain? This is where Irish people come to get a tan, for goodness sake.’
All the bugs come out to play in the summer. Yippee. I’m not talking about harmless houseflies. I’m talking about deer flies. Deer flies bite. Uh huh. I’m talking about mosquitoes. Mosquitoes love me. I’m talking about ‘no see ums’. Yes, that’s their name. They’re called that because you ‘no see ums’. In other words, you don’t even see these bugs. You sit outside for two minutes and come inside with multiple bites from invisible forces. Uh huh.
Well, heck, I thought I’d be moving to Florida and sunbathing. I thought I’d be really tanned within two weeks. Nope. Why? Because it’s too hot to sunbathe in the summer. Isn’t that ridiculous? You can imagine my frustration at this. It’s summer, it’s sunny, and I live indoors with the air conditioning on full. The air conditioning is on 24/7. Meanwhile, Irish people on Facebook post photos of summer barbecues and statuses about how lovely the weather is. Isn’t it funny how I’m sitting reading these posts, while living in Florida, and actually feeling a bit jealous?
So, there you have it. Spring, autumn, and winter are absolutely lovely. However, for one quarter of the year (perhaps a bit more), I detest Florida weather. This really is quite annoying. Irish people will read this and laugh. But let me just point out: rain never bothered me in Ireland. I actually used to walk up town in the rain. Come to think of it, when I lived in Portstewart during my university days, I loved nothing better than going for a walk on the beach during rainy, windy weather. I’d put my headphones on and listen to Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’ album. Good times.
However, all things considered, I’m still better off here in Florida. For nine months I get to sit outside and enjoy the wonderful sights of nature and the wonderfully sunny weather. The weather is AMAZING for those nine months, so I really can’t complain. Plus, while I’m out sitting on a chair, having a drink and a smoke, I am surrounded by lizards, squirrels, and dragonflies (to name a few).
I admit, three months of inconvenience are a fair exchange for nine months of paradise. So, when you put it like that, I’m actually very lucky.
The world outside: I won’t see you for a few months. I will emerge from my house in September. Please don’t go too crazy while I’m gone.