Monday, October 15, 2012

The Expatriate

Thinking about the upcoming winter has many people daydreaming about moving to a warmer, sunnier place. Before you go packing those bags, please let me share the story of Miss X.

Miss X, for reasons that I, ah, she..will no longer admit to remembering, decided several  years ago to leave ol' Balmer for greener pastures. Her life needed  shaking up, she decided, a challenge. Miss X sold her house, quit her job, said goodbye to everyone and everything she ever knew, and just drove away one fine morning.

She chose a place where few people spoke English.

A place where there were only two types of weather:
dang, it's hot, and
dang, what's the name of today's hurricane?

A place that smelled like one thousand exploring cow farts.

A place with bugs...bugs that flew, crawled, slithered, or burrowed, all with the temperament of a pissed-off toddler.

Why, oh why, did Miss X choose Florida?

Miss X 's realtor found her a charming mo-bile home in what he described as a "quite little neighborhood."  That's how Miss X found herself right smack dab in the middle of the Senior Citizen belt, which stretch-marked from the "Welcome to Florida" sign all the way to the Keys.

The neighborhood was, indeed, times...not, however,  at 6 am, the time when most of her neighbors liked to mow their lawns, release their barking dogs for some exercise, or just gather together and bitch about Eisenhower. But come the wee hours of 8:30 p.m., Miss X found herself on her lanai, alone in a silent, dark community.
There were entire days when Miss X's only human contact came from the daily obscene phone calls she received. Miss X couldn't ever prove those calls came from her pervy neighbor, but Mr. Calhoun gave himself away by stopping every few words to take a puff of his inhaler. Plus, the calls stopped around 8pm, the exact time it was lights out in the Calhoun residence. Coinky-dinky? Miss X thinks not.

High unemployment being what it was, Miss X found herself waiting tables at a very famous chain restaurant. (Rhymes with Spacker Sparell). Poor Miss X soon discovered one of the sad ironies of life--a college education means shit when you are trying to balance a tray full of hot food and cold drinks. She realized that she was, really and truly, the world's worst waitress. It didn't help that most of the  patrons were also her elderly neighbors, who, very conscious of money, left pittances for tips. Miss X understood; after all, the pay from So-So Security is way low, and the cost of inhalers and local obscene phone calls is way high.

Miss X had to admit the truth to herself:: she had made a mistake. She needed to get back to where she once belonged. Just six months after saying goodbye to Baltimore forever,  Miss X was back.The city was just as noisy, dirty, smelly  and crime ridden as always, but, to Miss X, it was a slice of heaven. It was home.

So, the moral of this little tale is : The grass ain't always greener. And, most importantly, STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM FLORIDA.