In my last post, I wrote about the world’s first underwater residence. The gist, basically, was that you couldn’t get me to live in such a place even if the surface of the Earth had become uninhabitable.
Well, now I’m horrified to report that this may, in fact, have come to pass.
I was there with my daughter Casey to visit my mother, who has lived there for around 20 years in an apartment with two windows and a deck that allows you to relax in comfort behind a hurricane gate similar to the security gates on bodegas in the South Bronx. The gate is down a good part of the time because, if you lift it, you discover that her deck is almost literally in the parking lot. You could actually drive onto it.
You also want the gate down because, if it’s not, Ft. Lauderdale could get inside, and, trust me, you do not want that to happen.
When you venture outside, you are immediately hit by a sense of foreboding. There are dark clouds that are in a permanent posture of “about to pour,” and occasionally do, blanketing you with a lukewarm drenching that manages to be not the least bit refreshing, in spite of the fact that you have been begging for some sort of respite from the putrid, slogging, damp, thick, breath-defying heat and humidity. You can break a sweat simply by standing still.
If you manage to survive your first few moments inhaling air in a near-solid form, you may be mowed down by a motor vehicle swerving across four lanes of traffic because the driver did not realize his turn was approaching due to the fact that he either forgot where he was going (or where he was coming from), or because he could not see over the top of the steering wheel. You, sadly, did not see him coming, because your eyeglasses are completely fogged up. Fortunately, the collision will not be fatal because the vehicle was just not going fast enough to cause much damage.
No, the fatality will be caused by the other kind of Ft. Lauderdale denizen, the tank-top-wearing, mullet-styled, car-racing redneck. And even if the confederate-flag-adorned Camaro manages to miss you as it whizzes by, the cigarette attached to the thickly-muscled, heavily-tattooed arm hanging out the car window will scar you for life. And she won’t even apologize. It is, after all, your fault for being a pedestrian.
(As an aside, I think the people of the world can learn a lesson from how the rednecks and seniors of Ft. Lauderdale live together in peace and harmony. It’s possible that the combination of low IQs and short memories has something to do with that, but whatever it takes…)
Climate and motorists aside, I can’t imagine there are many places in America so utterly devoid of charm and character. The landscape consists of ultra-wide roads criss-crossing a topography-free landmass. Seriously, the closest thing they have to hills are speed bumps. And you can drive for miles without seeing anything but nearly identical strip malls, spectacularly similar condo developments and increasingly elaborate public storage facilities.
On top of everything else, we detected a pervasive rotten egg odor that my mother supposed was coming from “Trash Mountain,” a nearby garbage dump that had grown so large, she told us, that they actually give tours. You can imagine what such a heap would smell like heated to 90+ degrees and sitting in 150% humidity,* especially after being doused by a torrential thunderstorm. Then you can try to suppress your gag reflex, as Casey and I did, even as we exchanged ideas for what sort of things might be sold at the Trash Mountain Gift Shop (Trash Mountain snow globe!). But here’s the thing: there was no reference to such a place anywhere online,** and I sort of wondered if my mom was getting even with us for the hoax we had pulled on her the day before when, out of sheer boredom, we convinced her that those online videos of petite lap giraffes were real.***
Anyway, I’m home now, and it’s kinda hot and muggy here in Connecticut, and, may I say, very refreshing.
See you soon.
^It’s not about you, mom, just where you live.
*I know that, technically, the humidity can’t be more than 100%, but Ft. Lauderdale manages it.
**Later, at home, after much Googling , I discovered that Trash Mountain does exist but that, as she often does, mom got her story only partially right. It’s actually called Mount Trashmore by the locals, and there are no regularly-scheduled tours, although there had been a recent event for schoolchildren that included, according to the local newspaper, “educational booths about gas and groundwater, art contests, an edible landfill made of candy and even a release of butterflies…” And, by the way, to reinforce my early point about the topography, Mount Trashmore is, apparently, the highest point in South Florida! (Edible landfill! Yum!)
***Mom is one of those folks who should never be allowed to own a computer, not that she has any interest in doing so. If she had Internet access, she would fall for every scam ever perpetrated and would, at this moment, be on her way to Nigeria to assume the throne.