Nov 5, 2016

JAX Observations, Lessons

Mosquitos: 1  Elena: 0

Mosquitos in Florida are of a different kind, breed, temperament. conviction.

I thought my blood was not appealing to these tiny creatures, I’ve rarely been
bitten all the years in Panama, my 9 visits to Ghana and certainly years and years in Atlanta.  Well I’ve learned that in Florida I need to prepared, on guard, and proactive.  I walk Maddie and Morgan usually three times a day and I live close to a natural body of water called the Big Island Swamp.  And well that is all I need to say.

I’ve learned the mosquito lesson for sure.

Driving in Florida

Not sure what the difference is here, I’ve had two near miss accidents, actually two drivers (and I'm not making this up) literally come out infront of my car to cross over 2 or 3 lanes to go in the other direction.  The first week I was here, it was a big black Suburban and I was so upset about what almost happened, I pulled the car over and 1) checked to see if Maddie and Morgan were OK, because I had to break and swerve and Maddie’s body  hit the passenger side door and 2) I started crying.

It was an awful 10 - 15 minutes and then I calmed down. 

Yesterday a young driver in a tiny light blue sedan, a Civic or Corolla, again pulled out right in front of me, and crossed the lane I was in to get into the other lane headed in the opposite direction.  In this case I was driving much slower and I was able to apply the breaks much gentler than with the first incident. 

The few times that I read my text in the car before, THAT IS NOT HAPPENING HERE.
My phone is in the small compartment in between the seats and my eyes are fixed on the road.

And for sure in Jacksonville, just like in Atlanta people don’t know how to merge onto a freeway.  In California if you don’t do this well, efficiently, effectively you are TOAST. 

Anyone that has driven in CA knows what I’m referring to.  In JAX , just as in Atlanta, merging onto a freeway is a challenge for most people; it’s usually too slow, too fast, or they are not even aware that other cars are on the same stretch of highway they are merging onto. 

The Jacksonville Jaguars 

If you are out and about anywhere in Jacksonville on a Sunday, you see it, you feel it, you are part of it, Jaguars, Jaguars, Jaguars. This city is crazy in love with their professional football team.  Any public place you visit, everyone has Jaguars colors on, at Publix, at restaurants, even at Lazy Boy Furniture they have a custom recliner you can buy in leather, outfitted in the exact colors of the team, with the team logo.  There is a great story about the current owner of the Jaguars, Shahid Khan. If you have a minute check it out, a true representation of the American Dream for sure.

And whether you’re a fan of football, if you live in Jacksonville you are a fan of the Jaguars by default. As the young lady, Jessica, who cut my hair a few weeks ago said, “If nothing else, being a Jags fan, gives you a good reason to drink on Sundays.”

Military Service Appreciation

Most every business I’ve been to, not all, but a significant majority, always ask if you are in the military or have served.  And if yes, you get a discount on your purchase. The recognition and appreciation for those who serve and have served our country in the military service is almost palpable, you can feel the appreciation. It’s wonderful, patriotic and keeps the truth front and center, the United States of America is indeed a great country.  

The liberties and opportunities afforded by democracy, we should all be thankful everyday.  My next door neighbor in Jacksonville is a older couple from Syria and the little I’ve talked to the husband, when we broach the subject of his country, he shakes his head and says “We have big big problem.” His words spoken slow, deliberate, his thick accent, holding back emotions that I can’t imagine. 

The Rain

It is true that rain is a quick event in Florida. 20 -30 minutes at the most and then the sun comes right back out.  Since August with the exception of Hurricane Matthew, we’ve had very little rain in my area of Jacksonville and when it has rained, it is indeed a quick cooling off and then the curtains are drawn again on bright blue skies.  

Reminds me so much of Panama.