Florida is Hell.
For those of you who’ve never lived there, please understand that this is not a metaphor. Nor is it hyperbole. This is what we call the goddamned Truth with a capital twice-damned T.
What I mean, strictly speaking, is that whatever you conjure up when you imagine the abstract notion of “Hell,” I can guarantee you it actually exists here on planet Earth, and it sticks out of the southeast side of the U.S. like a sick, swampy hard-on.
Since there are too many comparisons to count, let us focus on synecdoche:
The Motherfuckin’ Heat.
To put it simply, Florida heat is bad — where “bad” = “so teeth-grindingly hot that suicide not only suddenly seems like a viable option, but a loving gift from a beneficent god.”
Every searing, wet breath you suck into your lungs evokes the sensation of being trapped in a sauna – and I do mean trapped, with the same claustrophobic feeling you’d experience if someone locked you in an actual sauna. You cannot run away, you cannot escape it. You can cry and claw and beat on the door ‘til your fists are slick with blood and sweat, but no one’s coming for you, kid. Ever. Sorry.
This claustrophobic heat is doubly monstrous for the momentary glimpses of Heaven you catch from the air conditioning of cars and stores (tiny spaces with cold recycled air, and huge spaces cooled by alien technology) – but even your home in Hell will not protect you.
You can seal all the windows, lock all the doors, and turn on that industrial-strength 40-million-BTU unit you bought especially for this purpose, but the heat will find its way in. Have no doubt. It is demonic and bent on your destruction.
It’s the kind of heat where, 20 seconds after stepping out of a cold shower, you will start to perspire again. In your naughty places.
The kind of heat in which wearing make-up is tantamount to an inside joke for locals. Go ahead. Slap on some foundation, then walk from your front door to the mailbox. You might as well put Crayolas on a hot plate in the Gobi desert. On your face.
It’s the sort of heat where your sweat glands just shrug and go, “Aw, fuck this shit,” and spontaneously begin to liquefy.
The sort of heat where a seizure would be just plain awesome, ‘cause then at least you’d be unconscious.
This heat is suffocating, unrelenting, all-encompassing – and frightening in its sheer ever-present thereness. It will never go away. It will never end, and you will never NOT suffer – for all eternity, until all the ages passeth away and the last of the race of man is perished from the earth.
Ecce Hell, ergo ecce Florida