S.G. Browne

Coming To You From Florida

I’m sitting on the balcony of my hotel room on the 20th floor looking south along the beach in Ft. Lauderdale and I hear an alarm going off somewhere on the street below, followed by an authoritative recorded female voice issuing some kind of instructions. The alarm and voice keep repeating, like an outdoor emergency warning system.

Alarm. Instructions. Repeat.

Either it’s a talking car alarm or else there’s a hurricane on the way and we have to evacuate.

This is my first full day in Ft. Lauderdale, having arrived here Sunday afternoon. Over the previous four days I’ve been in Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Siesta Key, St. Petersburg again, then back to Ft. Lauderdale. Tomorrow I’m heading down to South Beach for a couple of days, then to Islamorada in the Florida Keys.

The alarm is still going off, the woman issuing her warning. The skies look clear to me off the coast and I don’t see crowds of people evacuating on the streets twenty stories below, so I figure I’m okay.

That’s one of the things I noticed driving around Florida for the past few days. There are Evacuation Route signs posted everywhere. I don’t know what the process is like, but at least when they issue a hurricane warning, they have an evacuation plan. In California, we don’t get earthquake warnings, and as far as any kind of evacuation plans, as far as I know, there aren’t any. So we’re pretty much screwed.

The alarm and the warning have finally ended, which means one of the valet attendants at my hotel is probably trying to make sure he knows how to shut off the alarm next time.

As I sit here writing this, the sun moving across the sky from ocean to downtown Ft. Lauderdale, the palm tree-lined beach stretching south almost to the horizon, I’m thinking I could get used to this.

I like Florida. I think I’m going to move here. Maybe to the Keys. I’ve never been to the Keys, but right now, it sounds like a good idea.

There’s lots of water and boats here. Sure, there’s lots of water and boats in San Francisco, too, but it’s not 72 degrees in San Francisco on the first day of March. And the beaches aren’t lined with palm trees. And the water isn’t clear and blue, reflecting the endless sky.

The alarm has started up again. Either the valet needs to work on his learning curve or else I was wrong about having to evacuate.

Filed under: Just Blogging — S.G. Browne @ 3:24 pm

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