I’m so thankful to be somewhere with snow on the ground right now I could almost cry a little. I almost forgot what it was like to be able to wear a sweater or be physically close to a human being for more than one minute without everyone stewing to death in each other’s sweat.

Whenever someone here in Iowa catches that we moved from Florida, there’s always remarks about how “lucky” we were to be there, how “crazy” we were to leave it, or how terrible it must be to experience a winter. These are people who have likely never been to Florida, and probably think Florida looks like this:

When most of Florida actually looks like either this:

Or this:

Florida was built mostly on what used to be swampland, which was drained and filled in with imported soil and gravel until houses could be built on it. This means that most of where you go in Florida, the ground itself is basically fake, and it looks the part. It’s flat as a pancake, there are perfect, straight drainage ditches instead of rivers or streams and the hills are blocky, artificial things wealthy people have on their properties to keep their shit above flood level.

It is not pretty enough to compensate for its climate.

Now, you probably think you know what being “too hot” is like. Maybe you live in Australia or Nevada or something and you’ve been able to fry eggs on the sidewalk. Yeah, nasty. Like living in an oven, right?

Your NICE, DRY fucking oven.

Florida spends most of the year in the high 80′s at a minimum, the sky is usually cloudless, buildings are built low to the ground and the trees are either palms or scrappy little things offering next to zero shade. The sun is perpetually baking every single surface, to the point that a freshly paved road goes from black to chalky white within weeks.

In fact, EVERYTHING outdoors is steadily bleached chalky white. You better love pastels because no matter what you paint your house or decorate your lawn with, it’s going to become pastel. Pastel with streaks of piss yellow.

  NORMALLY, an environment like this is also associated with dryness, but Florida is not normal.

In Florida, there is almost no reprieve from the humidity. Not in its coolest “winters,” and not indoors with any level of climate control. You can never get rid of mold in your house. You can never stop feeling greasy. Often it’s so moist outside that breathing is physically difficult. Again, you’ve probably experienced this, but there aren’t too many places, at least in America, where you’re stuck with it some 330 days of the year.

And moisture, as you may know, traps additional heat, so when they say Florida is 90 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s the ambient temperature, in the open air. You aren’t air. You are a solid mass that produces body heat and moisture of its own, and you’re legally required to wear some amount of clothing when you step outside. The air may be 90 degrees, but you are going to feel about 120 degrees, and it’s probably going to just steadily get worse until your next opportunity to shower or stand directly in front of an air conditioner for a while.

So Florida combines the blistering sun of Death Valley with the moisture of the Amazon Basin, without looking as nice as either of those places. It’s like they had a baby but they’re two different species so the baby is some freakish sterile donkey monster. That’s Florida. It’s the abominable mule of a rainforest and a desert.

And we haven’t even gotten to THE SMELL yet! Do you realize what it smells like when an entire state is both too wet and too hot ALL the god damned time? When there is never any cool, dry period long enough to clear the air of the collective funk of every possible surface being slowly, perpetually broiled?

Think of how much plastic and rubber is lying around one city. Have you smelled burning plastic and rubber? Now think about how much garbage is lying around in one city. The garbage in the streets, in the cans outside every business, in the cans on the lawns of several million households, all both too hot and too wet. All the time.

Next, factor in the usual level of air pollution when you’ve got a dense population, made denser by the number of people vacationing there and visiting their elderly family memmbers all year round. Good god, the traffic. On top of the car exhaust fumes hanging around in the wet air, you’ve got the collective odor of the people themselves, since everyone is constantly pouring sweat and can’t possibly afford enough showers to keep up with the stink.

Add to that the fact that, despite the wetness, you are never more than a couple miles from something on fire. Sometimes acres and acres of Florida scrubland are on fire. You’ll hear fire trucks multiple times a day no matter where you are, but we’re not here to talk about the noise pollution, which would make this post go on even longer – as would any talk of its equally godawful political and cultural environment.

You’re also never very far from either a beach, brackish river or estuary, of course, and that means you can top off the miasma of bleaching plastic, ash, sweat, body odor, sunscreen, smog and roasting garbage with a whiff of decomposing fish every now and then, like someone quietly hitting a triangle to add one more note to a never-ending song about ass.

And to cut this nice and short, let me wrap up with two magical words every single Floridian will know intimately well sooner or later in their reeking, roasting stew of a state:



So if you’re still living miserable in Florida, or miserable just about anywhere, you can skip this update. I don’t want anybody to feel bad, I just gotta get this out of my own system.

When I wrote this post, we lived in Iowa – only very marginally (almost not at all actually) better than Florida -  as a temporary stepping stone to where we really wanted to be, the Pacific Northwest, and now we’ve lived in Oregon for about eight months, really due entirely to someone sweet enough to trust us total strangers as last-minute replacement roommates.. We never made more than the equivalent of minimum wage but it honestly came down to either moving out here or possibly actually dying from exacerbated depression.

It may occur to you that it’s almost impossible to be any farther from Florida on this continent.

Here’s a visual for you:


So, here are some things about where we live now:

  • The sun spends more than 50% of days hidden completely behind a sky of grey clouds. Good. The only downside is that it isn’t 90% of days. We have had enough sun for ten lifetimes and the sun can die in a ditch forever.
  • It rains several times a week all year round. Good. The rain keeps everything looking and smelling clean and fresh and we have NO allergies out here. Never in my life have I needed so few tissues or pills.
  •  Everything is green. Vibrant, emerald green, even at the peak of winter because even when all the leaves have fallen the trees are still coated in several inches of moss and lichen.
  • Vast areas even have moss instead of grass, and where there is grass, it’s soft and plush and you do not get stung by fire ants if you sit on it.
  • We live by a river and have never smelled decaying fish at all. I think most of the fish are actually even alive at a given time????
  • I’ve never seen a pro-Trump sign around Portland. 
  • Even in 70-80 degree weather, which comes by for maybe a couple months out of the year, there are scattered cold fronts and even precious little baby hail storms blowing in off the surrounding mountains, or you can drive an hour up those mountains to see some snow drifts.
  • I have like some weird sort of survivor’s guilt being here, like I can’t shake the sense that I can’t possibly deserve to be here more than other people who have to be in Florida, but it turns out a lot of people who always lived here don’t even like it. They don’t even like any of the things I just said. They would RATHER be somewhere like Florida. Everybody’s different I guess and that’s cool and okay but if I were a billionaire I’d just set up an exchange program so all these fuckin weirdos can go ahead to Florida and those of you stuck in Florida can take over their apartments. I would get you all out of Florida if I could.



“Fun little Florida story.
British blogger here and let me tell you, I
love my suits. Wear a full suit every day, without fail. Can’t remember
the last time I wore anything but. I recently visited Florida for the
first time and suit weather it is not.

Thankfully I had several cool
aired suits but I decided to visit a thrift shop, look for a new suit
for the state. Found a nice bright white suit and bought it. Roll on
next day and I’m off for a trip to the everglades (boooo tourist) in my
nice new white suit, I mean if it’s good enough for a Floridian then
surely it’s a nice cool suit for that hot weather. It was not until I
was halfway to the death swamp that I noticed a little label sticking
out of the sleeve. A little label that contained two words that struck
me with a deep fear in that cool air-conditioned bus hurtling towards my
untimely doom: ‘100% wool’

I peeled back the cuff of the jacket. Thick white wool looked back at me like a furry cave fungus unearthed from under a rock.
I died there in those swamps from heat exposure and I’m currently typing this from the afterlife as a physical human puddle.