Once in a Blue Agave Moon chapter four: Location, location…LOCATION!

During the eighteenth century, the Lowlands Scots seemed to naturally gravitate to the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys and the Smokey Mountains region of the United States .
Australia was originally a penal colony for the United Kingdom.
Similarly, Florida was the lint trap for everything that got shook loose from the rest of the landmass of the contiguous forty-eight states of the continent.
It hangs like a huge semi-flaccid uncircumcised penis, far too laid back to protrude upward very far into the Atlantic Ocean, more of a “Show/her” than “Grower” and complacent enough to just engorge itself into the warmer tropical waters, also attributing to the belief that “the lower the latitude, the stronger the sex drive.”
Everyone who comes to Florida has a cover story for why they moved here, but secretly, right before they left wherever they came from, something happened somewhere else, and it just seemed like everything was so much easier there.
They share a heritage of escapism which tends to create a mindset that remains a prevailing theme of those recently immigrated.
There is such a thing as the mentality, or state of mind of the founding culture of the location that is shared by a majority of the residents who were descendants of smugglers or wreckers; real full-time professional criminals who are trying to just lay low for awhile, vs. the full-time amateur criminals of convenience and circumstance, such as junkies and addicts, as well as every level of drug dealer, the “musicians” and “artists” who patronized them, whores, gigolos, long-and-short con men (and women), real-estate speculators, rain-makers, lightning-rod salesmen, snake-oil purveyors and of course, telemarketers, all of whom constitute a group best described as “casual criminals” and have as much regard for the “Law of Man” as an alligator.
And of course, first the Cubans, and the Haitians, seeking political asylum, the Colombians (for a whole host of varied reasons) and then the Mexicans, Guatemalans, and the Dominicans.
Almost nothing is manufactured in Florida…no factory jobs here to speak of, except the few sugar processors around Lake Okeechobee that haven’t already been phased out, and of course Motorola, boat and marine accessories and a few furniture manufacturers.
Most business in Florida jumps more or less directly from agribusiness (especially oranges and grapefruits) to the service industry/hospitality services, food service, entertainment, technical support for local businesses as well as the ubiquitous health service professionals; paramedics, nurses, doctors and patient care technicians and nursing homes, senior communities, and intensive care wards hence the moniker “Florida is God’s Waiting Room”….
Eventually, the glut of cheap relatively desperate labor for displaced ex-pats of every stripe resulted in the establishment of telemarketing centers in Florida.
It also meant that many who immigrated there were fleeing to avoid prosecution, or alimony or just a bad marriage in general. Even the cities were not as crowded or overwhelming as up north; people trying to get away from something seeking asylum or escape, where they believed the opportunities were like ripe, low-hanging fruit, like some latter-day version of The Grapes of Wrath.
No unions, fewer licensing and regulations, less and no state taxes.
So Florida, much like Australia, the Smokey Mountains, and California became a haven for outcasts, criminals, and ne’er do wells of every stripe looking for escape to a better life…”your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Send these the tempest-tossed to me…”
(we’ll leave the light on…).

2 Responses to “Once in a Blue Agave Moon chapter four: Location, location…LOCATION!”

  1. I was in Florida recently to visit my brother, who moved first to Ft Lauderdale 10 years ago, and who now has settled outside Tampa. There was something about the ‘culture’ (air quote) I couldn’t quite nail down (and I didn’t quite like), and I think you nailed it with these: the escapist vibe, the casual criminals, the “cover story” for being there. I met not one single person who had been born or raised there (which is telling… but of what?), and there was very much a surface-only acceptance, tinged with nosy-neighbor-peeking-through-the-curtains style suspicion in every interaction. I can’t say I *disliked* it, but at the same time, I didn’t like it. If that makes sense.

    • Yes, it does…”welcome to the jungle”…each region of Florida is a bit different in one way or another as far as the archetypal :norm”. It’s a weird place in many ways, but I have learned to make my peace with it.
      I am a stranger wherever I go, in some ways…I’ve learned to cherish the company of my self(ves)…and go with whatever fits at the time.
      Your remarks tell me that I hit at least one target, since you’ve had a taste of Florida…there will be more.
      I can’t wait to find out where this is going to lead me.
      regards,
      Chazz

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