I think when pressed for reality, as opposed to being funny, my friends would say that I am a nice person. I care for my friends and am compassionate towards acquaintances and strangers alike. When I go out I generally tend to entertain people with witty banter and jovial jibes.
But, Florida, I have met my match.
People here are aggressively friendly. They go out of their way to be nice to each other and it is unnerving.
Two days ago I went to the nearby Starbucks and somehow the lady at the window cajoled my life story out of me and then bonded with me over being from Oregon (she was from Salem, has been here for 5 months and seems to have forgotten that 60 degrees and sunny is shorts weather and not wrapped-up-in-3-layers-and-shivering-like-a-chihuahua-in-Alaska weather). Yesterday while out with my sister the same woman recognized me at the Drive Thru window and chatted both of us up until half our coffees were gone. I think she’s coming over for dinner next week.
Later that day, my sister, Tamar, started pulling out of a parking spot and didn’t look both ways. She immediately had to stop because someone was trying to pull into the open spot next to her. They both stopped moving and had a five minute wave off until Tamar finally pulled out of her spot and then waited for the other lady to park and get out of her car. Then the two of them had a 10 round apology-off. They were just shy of flagellation. No one was the winner.
Then we went to the grocery store. I had to use the restroom while Tamar continued shopping. When I got back we were already checking out and the woman in front of us saw me get behind Tamar in line. She then proceeded to ask me if I’d gotten over the culture shock of being in Florida and how my boyfriend and three cats were doing at home and if my appendix scar from when I was 8 had healed well.
I turned to Tamar and asked how she knew this lady.
“Oh we just met. But we shop at the same Publix!