I’ve been back from Florida for just over a week, and already the vacation seems like a lifetime ago. I guess that’s because I’ve been on the go non-stop since getting back: I’ve had friends from Germany to hang out with, a PJ Harvey concert to attend, a Salter Cane concert to play, a tax return to fill out, and many dreary PowerPoint presentations to translate.
I’ve also had to deal with the chilly, blustery September weather, which has come as quite a shock to my tropically attuned body. No more shorts and sundresses - it’s hats and sweaters all the way. I’m sure I complained more than once about being hot while I was in Florida, but the truth is that I’ve really come to like that sultry summertime feeling. What could be better than a hot day and a cold iced tea? Well, I suppose a cold day and a hot whisky is pretty nice, too, but right now I’m in much more of an iced tea frame of mind. Sigh.
I can’t say I miss the whole hurricane thing, though even that had its interesting aspects. The funnier aspects included trying to boil a pot of water on the gas grill so that we could have tea after the electricity went out; getting all suited up in a waterproof poncho to go out and take pictures and having the poncho promptly ripped off my body as soon as I stepped into the vicious wind; and, after the major part of the storm had passed, spending the better part of a day driving around in search of a Starbucks with WiFi access - or just someplace with electricity. And hot food. And windows that weren’t boarded up.
The less fun aspects included the darkness inside the boarded up house and the disconcerting inability to see what was going on outside; a leaking roof; sand everywhere; the incessant sound of the wind hissing against the porch screens and clattering through the palm trees; and, mostly, my conviction that a tornado was going to come and kill us all. Thanks to a lifetime of tornado phobia, I’m more than familiar with the warning signs of a tornado - especially that "freight train" sound. So I spent two long, stormy nights straining to separate the roaring sound of the wind and the continuous low rumble of the ocean from the sound of an approaching freight train.
Needless to say, no tornado did come along. There was a lot of wind and a lot of rain, but that passed after a few days, and then the electricity came back on, the hurricane shutters came down, the sand was swept away, and life was back to normal in sunny St. Augustine.
Until our last day there, when we put the hurricane shutters back up before we left just in case Hurricane Ivan, hot on Frances’ tail, should decide to swerve east and wallop St. Augustine. Ivan spared St. Augustine, as did Hurricane Jeanne after Ivan (I’ve become an avid hurricane tracker since this vacation - OSXplanet is great for real-time desktop storm tracking). But forecasters are saying Jeanne might swerve back and hit the US after all, and behind Jeanne there’s Karl, and behind Karl there’s tropical storm Lisa - and hurricane season doesn’t end until November 30. So I guess I should be thankful for my mildly blustery Brighton weather - but right now, I think I’d still put up with the threat of a potential hurricane for a bit of Florida sunshine.