All Florida Guidelines – Spyke and Mike
Spring has sprung my BTR friends. So has the influx of retirees, Canadians, and Yankees moving south. Last month I gave out-of-staters the red flags about sightseeing here. For those who are not easily scared by my typing talons and are ready to make a change in their home address, this month I’m giving you the A.F.G’s (All Florida Guidelines) about what to expect living here and what we expect of you becoming a Sunshine State citizen.
Mike breaks in, “You tell ‘em my avian encyclopedia of the Floridian lifestyle. They just don’t seem to understand my mortal interactions, profanities and hand gestures.”
I cackle, “Yup, I see you trying to correct them every day and all that does is make you red in the face. So, listen up you influx of inbreds: First and foremost, when crossing the border into Florida, tolls are a fact of life. Accept this as one of the consequences of not paying state taxes.
For some unknown reason when invading Florida people get turnsignalitis. A medical condition that makes you forget all about that stick hanging out of the left side of your steering column. Symptoms are leaving one on at all times, using your left one when turning right or worse yet, not using it at all except for a place to hang your mask. Avoid this condition at all costs as it has a trickle down effect on the rest of your driving habits.
Obeying our traffic control devices is never a fun game. Once the light turns green, only three cars will go through the intersection, six go through on yellow, and four more on red.
Also, they are not timed and usually controlled by pedestrians pushing the button to cross the street on each corner. Always be prepared to slam on your brakes, honk your horn and watch them walk in front of you. Warning, this WILL peg your blood pressure.
When giving directions, you must always start with the word “Take.” “Take I-75”, “Take I-4” or “Take I-95.” Every street in Florida has one or more names and a number or numbers (Route 441 is State Rd. 7 and is Orange Ave. and is Palm Freeway and turns into Coconut Drive). When you tell them that, be prepared for more questions.
I-275 (Tampa area), I-295 (Jacksonville area) and I-395 (Miami area) will always be under construction. This is a reality of bureaucratic red tape, job security and there is nothing you can do about it!
When using these highways, measure the distance traveled in time, not miles. And if you travel more than 10 miles on any road in Florida without seeing orange barricades, cones or construction, you are well off the beaten path. Lock your doors and watch out for backwoods Bubba!
If you miss an exit on I-75, I-4, or I-275, it is NOT acceptable to stop, back up or do a 180 in the median. This is another side effect of turnsignalitis.
If you’re moving here as a snowbird or a non-working retiree, you must do all errands during the weekdays, not weekends. This is locals’ time to get around. You absolutely do not drive between the hours of 8 A.M. to 10 A.M. and 5 P.M. to 7 P.M. This is considered to be RUSH HOUR, and you’re not in any rush! Just plan on being at the bingo hall, vfw, or shuffleboard courts in the middle of the day when Mike and I areworking.”
He butts in, “And if you old farts ride bicycles, stay in your bike lane or better yet on the sidewalk, bike paths and trails. It’s bad enough you drive slow, don’t pay attention, can’t see well and are all over the road on four wheels. You’re the ones that make national news by plowing cars through store windows, into canals and swimming pools.” I squawk, “Let’s not segregate, Mike. Keep your A.F.G’s directed at all incoming humans, not just the q-tips. Everyone must learn the difference between SunPass, Sun Fest, Sun-Sentinel, Sundial, Sun City Center, Sun Sports and SunTrust. Flip flops, tank tops, and baggy shorts are also known as Florida business casual cosmopolitan. Wearing plaids and stripes of different colors at the same time is the norm.
Covering oneself in fishing or golf gear only makes you LOOK like a Floridian. Walking around in a bathing suit is no different than walking around in your underwear. Please remember, most you humans don’t have the body of a 25-year-old anymore. Be mindful of me and other people with good eyesight and cover up so we don’t throw up!” Mike bellows, “Once it becomes official and you change your address, you can’t say; ‘This is how we did it up north’. If you think that way, then go back up north. Just remember, I-95 and I-75 run both ways! Spyke, let’s make like Florida traffic and jam. We both need a little wind therapy while there are still some open roads to ride on. I’ll get your wings in the wind, my knees in the breeze and the Fat Bird three wheels’rolling down the road.”