I am writing today from a coffee shop near my home, occupying one of its few chairs and leeching off their wifi, all while paying patrons mill about hoping in vain for a seat to free up. Life in Florida, in many ways, has returned to a semblance of normalcy, or at least what constitutes normal in Florida.
Capitalism reemerges from its long hibernation.
Finally freed from the onerous oppression of life-saving masks and social distancing, the state’s many shopping malls have reopened, giving people a pleasant, air-conditioned place from which to shop online. Restaurants are now operating at 100% capacity, with nearly 30% of the necessary waitstaff. Bars and clubs have officially reopened after months of never officially ever closing down. And movie theaters are now welcoming back the seven people who still can’t figure out how to stream first-run movies at home.
Stay-at-home orders are reinstated by the sun.
While most of America is outside enjoying the summer heat, we here in Florida are inside hiding from it. It’s the time of year when going outside between 11am and 4pm is tantamount to suicide by sunstroke. Daytime temperatures regularly reach into the 90s (the current temp is 93° with a “feels like” temp of 103°) making it unwise to do anything outdoors other than turning around and coming back indoors. So we mostly spend the daylight hours watching squirrels in the backyard spontaneously combust.
The secret to great writing is apparently humidity.
After burning through Netflix’s entire catalog, I’ve taken to watching the Ken Burns documentary about Earnest Hemingway, a famous writer, I’m told. The series has encouraged me to write unnecessarily long, run-on sentences about the fetid swamps of Florida, hunting alligators with nothing but my father’s Bowie knife, caked with the long-dried blood of Chupacabras, now rusted from neglect and disuse, while back home, my wife’s cats wait for news of my demise, purring haughtily, arrogantly, with seeming disdain for my very existence, until resolutely sauntering away in silence to settle among the tousled blankets and frayed pillows atop the well-worn couch we bought on Facebook Marketplace. The documentary has even made me want to finally read one of Hemingway’s books.
Now accepting reservations for the fall.
With COVID-19 cases dropping and almost every intelligent person now vaccinated, we’re finally allowing family and friends into our home without a hazmat suit. If you’re thinking of visiting, book early, as slots are filling up fast. Be ready to provide proof of full vaccination, a bottle of wine in the $12-24 range, and a credit score above 740. Expect any hugging to be awkward and unnatural until 2023 at the earliest.