A monstrous explosion sounded in the distance. Not long since Independence Day, this one happened to be of the harmless man-made variety. It being a hot and humid Floridian’s July, the nature-made version of monstrous explosions in the sky had been like an on and off war for the last several weeks.
First, a battle might take place in the north, where flashes and booms seem to crack the sky open. Then suddenly a thunder boom sounds off in the south so forcefully that it actually rattles the house. We hunker down because surely a bad storm is headed our way. But no, the storm never comes. Florida has a hard time making up her mind.
July is a spectacular month. There are spectacular firework shows and spectacular pool parties. There is also spectacular humidity. A person can find herself walking down the street with Big Dog on a leash in a warm, moist cloud.
The warmth of this invisible cloud slowly draws the sweat out of her body, similar to the pool of water that happens beneath an ice cube. Slowly, she is melting. There is something purifying in sweat, she says to herself reassuringly. Floridians are self-sufficient—we do not need to pay money for a sauna.
Maybe she, is actually you.
You, a Floridian Melting
The clouds form a solid grey mass overhead, with no signs of breaking. You pick up the pace to shift the humidity that seems to settle on you like an ill-fitting dress. It drapes down, awkwardly hanging there in the same way that the sweat is dripping down your shoulder. It nags. You push your mind from it and take in the smell of mimosa that is also hanging there in the still air. The perfume seems to settle in around the warm cloud. Just you, Big Dog, and the mimosa cloud.
This isn’t so bad, you tell yourself. Just then you see between the break in the trees, a break in the clouds. Could it be? Could the clouds be starting to break up after the on-again-off-again thunderstorm threats that had gone on for weeks? You pick up the pace again. The thought of that Florida sunshine returning fills you with enthusiasm—it is the sunshine state, after all. Where in the hell had the sun been hiding?
By the time you reach home the clouds have mostly blown away. A gorgeous blue sky is overhead that looks something like nature’s wide smile. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, butterflies are flapping—the world is rejoicing. With all that sun beaming, suddenly you remember what July is like in the sun.
Now you are melting at an even faster rate. Your sweat isn’t going to protect you from the fact that in approximately one hour you will have set yourself up for skin cancer in thirty years. You feel your mouth drying out like the puddles on the steaming pavement.
You, a Floridian Figuring Out How to Not Melt
Quick! Do something! A brilliant idea comes to mind. You will go to the beach. It’s the perfect place to balance out the scalding heat with a bit of soothing seawater.
You can almost feel the waves washing against your hot skin and the burst of tiny foam bubbles breaking all around you with that sizzling soft sound. Your toes are ready to dig themselves down into the wet sand, where they will sink deep into safety from the sun. You can practically feel the wind whipping your hair around into one big fat dreadlock, and that’s totally okay, because it’s worth it.
You dash inside to get your things. The air conditioning slaps against you—the most welcome of all slaps. Big Dog collapses onto the cold tile as he pants and wonders why on earth he, wearing a thick German shepherd coat, was born in Florida.
You quickly put together your emergency beach supplies. Beach bag—to look slightly classier than carrying everything in a reusable grocery bag; travel water bottle —to aid in walking across the scalding desert of sand that precedes the oasis of the ocean; baseball cap—to save your face from turning into a lobster; bathing suit—to keep you from being a nudist; sunglasses—to check out everyone on the beach without looking like a creeper.
You, a Floridian Accepting the Inevitable Melt
You throw it all together, give Big Tired Dog a pat on the head, and open the door. You step outside and—boom.
Thunder. Seriously. The beach bag is dropped onto the ground in a deflated way as your eyes settle on the swirling black storm clouds rapidly blowing in from the west. Well, you turn back towards the house like an optimist, maybe I’ll make some Hobo Tea and sit out on the porch to watch the storm roll in.
Florida has a split personality. She keeps you (melting) on your toes. I would have it no other way.