Sunday, December 12, 2010

Daily Report: Sunday Showers

It probably would not be fair to accuse me of having brought this arctic weather (today with a frigid ictus of rain) with me, given where I arrived from. No matter how much I puff my cheeks and blow at the gray clouds, they aren't going anywhere: three weeks now with temperatures hovering in the low 60s during the day and low 30s at night.

I realized that Florida is a lot like Pattaya Beach or The Philippines: a tropical paradise filled with an insular, immigrant, affluent, educated community of retirees. There is here also an indigenous population that is — based on my limited excursions into their midst — much of a different type: I saw the morbidly-obese, near-death-at-40 masses feeding themselves at the Chinese Buffett; at Walmart I listened to the slack-jawed, vacant-eyed kids mumble "iwandismom" to their nonhearing, tight-leggings-sequined-shirt bleach-blond mothers pushing carts of nachos and Miller Genuine Draft; I watched a family of jaundiced rednecks at the Eagles Club line dance like automatons with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths. All these people are so blunted and featureless, just watching them makes me feel equally blunted such that I want to join the crystal meth craze sweeping the country as a pick-me-up. Although I focus my sights on this peoples' weight, class, and manners, it is the aura of lassisitude and lethargy emanated that ultimately puts me off. It is as if the Florida sun has turned the native population into mental and physical prunes.

I could easily hang out and have fun with people who eat too much, dress funny, or know more names of Nascar drivers than names of countries... but these particular people appear to treat life like a barely-tried puzzle that they have given up solving; that they now just kind of stare at, not interested in any further effort. After years of being surrounded by planners, builders, founders, explorers, dreamers, and doers while living in Asia... these people here are static and stagnant.

(I'm looking forward to my cousin Jonathan, who lives half an hour north of here — and most definitely does not fit the above description — introducing me to other living people in the area.)

Mom and Paul left for New York to celebrate Christmas today. They are driving the new Toyota north, have left the new Dodge Grand Caravan here, will drive back down in their old Kia in a month (which will be mine to drive), and then will drive the Dodge back north in April. So I'm here alone. I plan to spend my solo month entirely nakie.

Work has been great... or had been great, until last night when work ran out leaving me to sit and watch The Military Channel and drink vodka martinis. My company was running a "3-cent-per-line" special over the weekend and it looks like everybody took advantage of it leaving me nothing to do at 8 p.m. I get paid by the line, and not having any work last night at the end of the pay period was a killer: I get 8 cents per line ("cpl") base pay. Add to that 1 cpl for working nights, then 3 cpl for the special weekend "incentive", and the 4-cent-per-line overtime that I was on, and that would have worked out to 16 cpl, and I do about 300 lines per hour now... totaling $48 per hour. Before, in The Philippines — before this new account — I was doing about 175 lines per hour with just the base 8-plus-1 rate for $15.75 per hour on average. (I'm also simply working more: 6 hours of work per day used to be a gargantuan task; it now goes by with barely a sweat.)

Unfortunately, I don't have my lovely wife here to rub my stiff neck. (Oh... that might be something she could do when she gets here: massage therapist. I know my massages, and Epril really does have amazingly strong and effective little hands.) The more I work, the more my neck gets stiff (and my culo too — I need to by a softer office chair) and the more I need my wife's tender ministrations. (I miss you Sunshine.)

For now, the best I can do is climb into a hot shower and let the stiff water beat down on my neck. (It doesn't really help, but the vodka martinis do.)


Mom said...

Oh, gee. Maybe we'll leave you home next time we go to the
Eagles. If it's so, shall we say, mind-numbing to see and be with these rednecks. I agree about Walmart. But stop knocking most of your time in Fla.

Jungle Jil said...

Funny Mom, but I didn't get the feeling you were too impressed with those folks at Eagles either.

Anonymous said...

Hay boyuh - you done herd yer mother. You keep yer trap shut or I'll come over there and shut it for y'all.

With all my love,

Anony Mouse.

< kidding of course. :-) >

By the way, if you haven't read any the Travis McGee novels by John D. McDonald yet you may want to try a few. They are well written and they are superbly researched and deliver excellent stores from an adult perspective burnished in the details of every walk of life in Florida. Each one has surprises in its excursions along the backwaters of Floridian humanity.

Another highly acclaimed author of novels based in Florida is Carl Hiaasen.

Both write very well. Hiaasen's are often described as weird, or funny.

An actress secretly stands in for a derailed pop star and finds herself stalked on South Beach by a crazed paparazzo – and befriended by an unhinged hermit who was once the governor of Florida..

I suggest hitting the local library to get a taste to see if you like either one.

Anonymous said...

Not so easy to get spouse visa in the PI. Me wife had US visitor visa and it still to over 1 year. Its better you bring her to US on a visitor visa and change her status.

grumfan said...

re anon @ 12/12 10:50

isn't there a problem with coming in on a temporary type of visa and then trying to stay? iirc because it would mean lying on the application for the first visa? Probably on some line where you are required to swear and affirm you have told the truth and not mis-represented your purpose for coming to the USA etc... I think I've heard about people losing any chance to stay in the country forever for mis-representing stuff on a visa application, including purpose.

I may be wrong so I suggest researching this with an immigration lawyer before trying it.