A number of you have written to ask me about the differences between living in sunny Florida, on the East Coast, and sunny California in the West. Except for the fact that both states produce oranges, they are quite dissimilar both as states of mind and as states of the union. Herewith, some of the differences I have noticed in the month I have been back in California.
In California all a pedestrian has to do is put one toe into a road and he immediately has the right-of-way. Consequently, if you are killed crossing the street in California, you die knowing the driver who killed you is bound to collect a point or two on his license for smashing into you. In Florida, anyone out walking is assumed to be doing something illegal and is immediately arrested.
In Florida, al fresco dining is only possible between April 1 and April 2 because the rest of the year the weather is too hot and humid to spend out of doors.
In Florida, the richer you are the larger your vehicle, so that the richest people in the state all drive cars the size of Winnebagos. These can frequently been seen idling in front of restaurants with al fresco dining, where the exhaust fumes are considered to be part of the out-of-doors ambiance. In California, the richer you are, the smaller your car, so that the wealthiest entrepreneus in Silicon Valley--those who are old enough to drive--all drive cars the size of Swatch watches and are frequently mistaken for pedestrians in crosswalks and immediately given the right-of-way.
In California it is forbidden to ride a bike without donning a complete Tour de France outfit and joining other similarly attired persons for a ride in a large group necessitating the rerouting of traffic. In Florida, since no one would be caught dead riding a bicycle, the word "bike" is taken to mean that thing those people bring down on a trailer from New Jersey and ride around on in Daytona Beach while guzzling beer and wearing odd bits of leather clothing and funny-looking helmets.
These people are laughing because they've concealed from their jealous friends up North the size of the average Florida cockroach, known in polite circles as a palmetto bug.
In Florida all the bugs are the size of the cockroach that ate Tommy Lee Jones in the movie Men in Black and vast quantities of pesticides flow freely into the water table. This pollution causes irreversible brain damage to Florida residents and explains why Floridians allow developers to run the state. In California, the last known bugs left the state with Richard Nixon and were used in the White House.
Actors and Artists
In Florida, actors on their way up move to California and actors on their way down do the weather on local television. In California, actors on their way up do infomercials and actors on their way down run for office.
In Florida, there are only forty channels on cable TV and these include abundant entertainment programs, always in English and Spanish. News and information programs are outlawed as subversive. In California, there are five hundred cable channels, all showing informercials 24-hours a day in Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and Hindi. There are no English language programs, as there are no longer any English-speaking people in California.
In California, a bowl of citrus is enjoyed at a health food store. In Florida, a Citrus Bowl is used as an excuse to eat nachos and drink beer. All the citrus grown in Florida is turned into juice so it can be mixed with tequila and consumed as a "Sunrise."
In California the rights of all homeless people to be homeless are respected. In Florida a homeless person is immediately given a no-interest mortgage and moved into a condo in Boca.
In Florida, there are more alligators than people. In California, there are more alligator handbags than people.
In California, people work hard at healthy eating and generally lose a pound each year for every year they are over thirty. As a consequence, there are an enormous number of old people in California, though this is not generally known because they have become so thin they are only visible for a few minutes each day, when they are digesting their bean sprouts. In Florida, since you cannot be admitted to Disney World unless you are at least two hundred pounds overweight, everyone eats and drinks lavishly and looks forward to the day when they can buy a Power Chair from the Scooter Store and visit Epcot.
These are all the contrasts I can think of this week: but we may want to make this an on-going series.Uh oh, looks like I may have offended the animal rights people again. They've sent a gator after me.