As EW and I were walking from No Name Harbor to Key Biscayne this afternoon, he noticed a motorcyclist that passed us, wearing black jeans and a black (though not leather) jacket. "He must be hot," said EW.
"Not if he's a South Florida Native," I said.
We've been in South Florida (Fort Lauderdale and now Key Biscayne) since December 3rd. They've had some coolish weather. Now, lets be clear, I'm not talking about the 22 degrees experienced at our friends' home in Jacksonville. The little fountain outside their door froze. That's cold no matter where you are.
But 45 at night and 65 in the day isn't really all that cold, and the past few days have been in the 70's. We went snorkeling yesterday. In the ocean. We didn't die and in fact it was quite comfortable once we got in. (Where have you heard that before?) I've been told that the longer we stay close to the equator the more thin-skinned we will become, and I'm willing to chance that. But from keen scientific observation I think there's something else going on here -- two things in fact:
1. These folks dress their youngsters in really warm jackets on mildly cool nights. In fact Sears in Fort Lauderdale does not sell swimsuits this time of year. They do offer puffy winter jackets for children. They are creating thin-skinned children. These children will become thin-skinned adults. How many puffy jackets do you think they sell in that Sears store? It boggles the mind. When we viewed the Lighted Boat Parade for Winterfest, EW and I wore shorts and long-sleeved tops, no jacket or sweater. We saw many folks dressed in a similar way, but we did see folks in heavy fleece jackets and there were kids wearing puffy winter jackets. Their folks shop at Sears.
2. Adults in Florida, women in particular, seem to want to dress seasonally in layers. In black. with long sleeved sweaters. And scarves. This morning I saw a woman dressed just that way. Again, EW and I were in shorts and T-shirts. Folks back at the harbor were in swim suits. Maybe she just likes changing her wardrobe with the seasons. Maybe she was raised here by a mom who dressed her in warm puffy jackets.
The manager of the marina in Fort Lauderdale was complaining of the cold snap. It was cool and we did turn the furnace on in the morning to warm the boat up. But it was not cold and did warm up later in the day. I mentioned that we weren't finding it all that cold. "I was born here," he said. "When it gets below 70 I whimper. I hadn't yet formulated my Sears jacket theory so didn't ask him how he had been dressed as a child.