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Key West weather: Time for a flamingo in costume

By Linda Grist Cunningham, editor and proprietor

Linda Grist Cunningham is editor and proprietor of Key West Island News and KeyWestWatch Media LLC. She and her husband, a park ranger at Fort Zach, live in Key West with their Cat 5s.

09/15/2013

I’m pretty sure Key West weather makes transplanted residents crazy. After a year in the southernmost city, I have no idea what month it is.

I stopped obsessively watching The Weather Channel because nothing changes. Eighty degrees, sunshine, humid and the occasional passing thunderstorm. That part I like. The visual and temperature cues of the Northeast and Midwest? Those I miss. I mean, how do you know when it’s getting along about Christmas if there are green leaves and you’re wearing flip flops.

I can’t speak to those born-and-bred in the constant 80-ish, humid weather. They don’t need a calendar to tell them it’s time for goblins, turkeys and caroling. They think it’s perfectly normal to wear flip flops in November. In fact, I watched as a dozen pre-teens walked into church Sunday in attire a committed Midwesterner packed away the end of August. I saw two 20-somethings wearing boots — boots? — with their sundresses and decided they must be tourists.

The weather can make you crazy. Scientists figured that out a long time ago. Too cold and dark for too long not so good for depression. Apparently, too warm and sunny’s not so good either. Personally, I think it’s less about the weather and more about the absence of subtle cues we non-natives learned from the cradle to count on.

Feel that certain crispness just underneath the Labor Day breeze? Time to put away the white shoes and get out the fleece. Leaves on trees gone from green to red to rust to almost gone except for the oak tree? Time to buy Halloween candy. No leaves? Turkey time. Snow and ice on the roads on the morning commute. Yeah, Christmas. And, so it goes, those little cues to which I paid no conscious attention.

Until they weren’t there. Nowadays, when every day is July Fourth, I’ve missed birthdays, anniversaries, entire holidays. Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day all morphed into Christmas. The absence of those subconsciously trusted calendar reminders makes me crazy.

Wondering aloud about those cues (well, actually whining to a sister-in-law) brought, however, this perfectly splendid solution: “Get a concrete goose,” she said. “Check the calendar and dress it accordingly.”

No goose. A flamingo. Coming soon to a porch near me.

 

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