This post is inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Nadine -- she listed all the reasons she doesn't miss California after moving to the East coast. While I think she's insane (considering I made the opposite move a year ago), it made me laugh and got me thinking about all the things I do not miss about the Sunshine State. Don't get me wrong, the things I do miss (read: my family, friends, ocean water that's not freezing) are important too, but here are the things I don't:
Humidity - I know everyone whines about the humidity in Florida, but it's real and it's virtually nonexistent in Northern California. I can pretty much curl my hair any day of the year, not apply hairspray and it will still be a springy, mostly frizz-free masterpiece by the end of the day. When I go home to visit, I forget about this little detail and leave my hair product free just to catch a glimpse in the mirror of my shiny face and flat, frizzy ghost of what was once a high-maintenance hairdo. Also, running in hot humidity might just be worse than running up hills. Real talk.
Bugs - Mosquitos love humidity. Mosquitos also love me. I almost peed my pants when I realized I could sit outside on a summer night on the West coast without having my limbs cannibalized by blood thirsty insects. It's not just mosquitos either, I rarely find spiders, cockroaches or any other bugs I used to come across on a daily basis. I think I've taken down two spiders in my apartment in the past nine months and both of them were smaller than most of the cockroaches in Florida. Remember that time I found a giant frog in my toilet? The worst creatures I come across these days are snails and actually they're just kind of cute and pathetic.
Dairy - Florida loves their cow milk, y'all. It's really, really difficult to eat an entire meal without at least a little butter sneaking in there to eff your day up. This might just be a delicious side note for most people, but my severely lactose intolerant stomach does not appreciate the fact that even large coffee chains like Dunkin Donuts don't carry a non-dairy creamer option. For the most part I forego coffee back home unless I can find a Starbucks, whereas every coffee establishment I've ever visited in CA has had multiple non-dairy options (soy, almond, coffee-mate) not to mention all the fully vegan restaurants that hook me up with pizza on the reg--but now I'm just bragging.
Alligators - When kayaking or tubing down a river, it's pretty commonplace to come within uncomfortable proximity of a gator or two or three. While I grew up around these guys and don't really think twice about them, it recently occurred to me how terrifying they would be to someone who has never seen one before. They're basically dinosaurs hanging out in the water with you as you float along defenselessly drinking your Natty Light out of a floating cooler. The only creatures I come across in the water around here are sea lions and, again, cute and pathetic.
Armadillos - If you've ever driven at night in Florida, you know how armadillos just meander into the road like it ain't no thang. The only warning is the glowing beady eyes you see in your headlights the half second before you feel the enormous thump under your tires. You see so many armadillos on the side of the road that you just become completely unfazed by it, but that thump under your tires is truly terrifying, especially when you're driving by yourself along empty roads late at night.
Bipolar Weather - Don't get me wrong, I do love a good thunderstorm every once in a while, but the weather in the "sunshine state" is baffling sometimes. It'll be pouring down rain for five minutes and totally bright and sunny the next. This happens many, many times in just 24 hours and renders planning trips to the beach/river/lake useless. CA may be in a severe drought right now, but at least I know that sunny days will generally stay that way long enough to take a day trip somewhere and when it does rain, it does so all day. I can adjust my emotions far more evenly with such predictability.
Liquor Laws - At least in the area of Florida I grew up in, you couldn't buy liquor on any day after 11pm, not at all on Sundays and said liquor had to be purchased from a store specifically for that purpose. Here we buy our liquor at grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores at any and all times of the day. I promise I don't drink that much liquor, but you don't realize how inconvenient such laws are until you suddenly really need some Fireball at 9am on a Sunday, amIright?
News Stories - I recently read a HuffPost article that listed this as one of the best things about living in Florida, but I beg to differ. Some of the most ridiculous news stories there are come right out of my home state. From horrible high-profile cases like Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin to gross ones like Cannibalism and Mother-Daughter Porn Duos and, of course, the beautiful ones that come right out of my hometown like the pantsless woman who stole boxed wine from a Publix and the donkey molester. These stories give us Floridians a reputation and it's not as endearing at the HuffPost might make it seem.
Are you on either coast? Which do you prefer?