From Urban Dictionary:
1. Irritating old people who come down to Florida from Northern states, drive like maniacs, and should be illegal.
2. Disgusting old people from northern states who wear Speedos on our beaches. God help us all.
They’re here. No, not the poltergeists. But close. Really close.
The more polite term is “seasonal resident,” but we locals just like to call them by the Snowbird moniker. They’re folks, usually of ages upwards of 65 years, who leave their homes “up north” and take up residence in the warm, sunny climes of Florida (as well as Arizona) during the months of winter when it’s colder than a witch’s tit in a steel brassiere in the place listed as the primary residence on their Social Security information.
They’ve been migrating down Florida way since before the holidays (our next door neighbors, Snowbirds from Chicago arrive right after Thanksgiving each year) but I really noticed the whole influx today while working out at my regular park. The parking lot was full – but the only cars with local plates were that of my trainer and me. Every other car was from out-of-state or out of the country. Most of the Canadian provinces were represented today. Honestly, I don’t think there’s anyone left in Canada under the age of 70. They’re all here. Driving around. Verrrrrry slowly. And slightly self-absorbed. – there’s a blissful unawareness of the rest of the cars on the road on the part of the motoring Snowbirds. Which means the rest of us need to be on our proverbial toes. Yikers.
Based on what I’ve observed over the years on my roads, it’s a bloody miracle these people make it down here in one piece, given how they drive. Many moons ago, I had occasion to take the Auto Train from Orlando to right outside of D.C. for the Thanksgiving holidays. The trip up – uneventful and not crowded. The trip back – sheer chaos. Apparently ye olde Auto Train is the preferred method of transportation for the ye olde Snowbirds of the Eastern Seaboard. Getting off that train in one’s vehicle was akin to being in a demolition derby – Lincolns and Caddys and Chryslers (oh my!) barreled down the ramp of the car car at an alarming rate, headed towards balmy breezes and early bird specials.
Once upon a time, I worked for the county school system, with my office being in the main administration building – 20 miles away. There was not a real easy or direct route to get there, so I would take a variety of main thoroughfares, usually at a brisk pace, given my propensity to leave my house at the very last possible moment. And in the middle of rush hour traffic, I would encounter at least one Snowbird driver, either on their way from breakfast or headed to a doctor’s appointment. I considered writing my congressperson, asking for legislation banning people with no specific purpose from being on the roads during rush hour, but that just screamed “ridiculous” and “ACLU shuttlecock,” so I opted not to do so.
But I still think it made great sense.
So for the next few weeks, it will be a Snowbird world – on the roads, at Denny’s and Village Inn (favorite Snowbird dining establishments), in the grocery and apparently, at my workout park. I just need to remember to give myself a little more time to get where I’m going, keep a careful eye on the roads and the cars around me. And make sure my insurance is up-to-date. Just in case.