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February 22, 2011

It’s a Wonderful Life… in Florida…

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/its_a_wonderful_life_in_florida_20110222/

In the last six years, I along with my husband and kids have lived in many different cities.  In part its due to my husband’s profession; having been in the entertainment field for over 20 years, its just a way of life.  Moving away from Orange County a few years ago was the hardest move since leaving Soviet Union back in 1989.  Not only was I leaving my parents behind, but everything and everyone I had known for twenty years…  There were positives however, I was looking forward to taking a break from the California “standard of living”, a.k.a the Botox-filled, silicone loving, Range Rover driving, so-called “mothers” and their staff.

I always told my husband that I would move anywhere in the United States, except for Alaska and Florida.  So naturally, he came to me one day saying that he got an offer from EA Sports in Florida!  I told him to have a safe trip, write every day and we would see him for Passover.  As much as that sounded like an appealing offer, he wasn’t happy with it.  After days of negotiations, I agreed to move to Orlando on the condition that we would move back if it wasn’t all that the company had promised.  As I was being dragged into the airplane by him, I kept praying that they would find an unidentified object on the airplane and we’d have to postpone our flight.  It didn’t happen, only because every time I started to scream out “there is a Bomb on this plane”, my husband for some reason would immediately lean in for a kiss.  I didn’t quite get his sudden desire for public displays of affection, and frankly it pissed me off.  By the time I realized that the plane was taking off, he had already strapped me in the seat.  I am also a hundred percent sure he had slipped a Xanax in my drink, since I was feeling happy, relaxed and a little bit horny.  Anyone else experienced that side effect of Xanax?  No, its just me?  Alright, stop judging.

My husband warned me that moving to Orlando, Florida would be a little like living in the southern states of the U.S.  I thought I was prepared for it, but boy was I wrong.  The first obstacle I encountered was having to drive along sides of all the Floridians, which was more than frustrating.  I have never seen so many idiots driving so damn slow!  And this wasn’t Boca Raton where the majority of the population are old, and retired Jews driving bigger-than-life Cadillac’s.  Why the hell was everyone such slow drivers?  My husband kept reminding me that this wasn’t California, no one was in a rush for anything and that I needed to be more patient.  That never happened either.

I kept screaming and pointing to random drivers, weaving in and out of traffic and generally very annoyed every time I had to drive a car the whole year we lived there.  I was very thankful that my young boys hadn’t caught on to the “finger” gesture that became my trademark.  I was also very thankful, and surprised that I was never pulled over by the police the whole time we lived there, mainly because of my clearly stated “HUTZPAH” personalized California license plates!  As much as I loved when my husband presented them to me as a gift a few years back, he very much regretted that same gift once we got to Florida.  He tried long and hard to get me to replace them with the Florida license plates, but I held on to them for as long as I could.  I knew it was time to let go of them when a bunch of Neo-Nazis parked next to me at the mall, eyeing the license plates when one of them asked if it was something written in “Jewish”.  Yes, you ignorant, pathetic excuse for a human being, its written in Jewish.  You know that language that only us “The Chosen Ones’ know how to read.  You can imagine how thrilled my husband was when I re-told my exciting conversation with the skin heads over dinner…

The second obstacle I had to overcome was seeing the Confederate flag flying everywhere.  At first I didn’t notice it much, only after my then first-grader pointed out that the American flag looks different here in Florida then it does back in California.  Having come to the U.S. at thirteen, I missed quite a bit of American history, and had to look up the meaning of the Confederate flag, as well as delegate the duty of explaining its meaning to our son.  After learning more about it, its original story and the meaning behind the Confederate states, I couldn’t help but be appalled and embarrassed to live in a state that didn’t outlaw the flag altogether.  I do understand that originally, the Confederate flag did not symbolize hatred towards African-Americans and it has more of a “Southern pride” meaning to it.  But how could anyone live next door to a house proudly waving the Confederate flag twelve months of the year?  Especially if you are an African-American.

There were many times when I tried ripping my neighbors’ flags off their house in broad daylight, or decals off their trucks sitting next to me in parking lots, but each time my husband ended up dragging me back home before I could get a good grip on them.  I don’t know what his problem is…  The whole year and three months that we lived in Florida, he woke up every morning asking if I planned on getting myself sent to jail that day, so he could plan his meetings accordingly.  It’s hard to get into too much trouble when you have a first-grader and a 9-month-old baby hanging on you at all times, but I still found ways to make our little gated, golf-course community despise me.

I believe I was known as: “The one with the sensible husband, the one that likes to cause trouble, the one that insists on educating her children, the one that brakes all the rules of Magnolia Plantation gated community, the one that had to be escorted out of the Club House because the waiter refused to give her a regular iced tea instead of the red neck iced tea, the one that doesn’t let her children near the alligators that come up on shore “, and my favorite: “the one that refuses to spread gossip around when we all gather at the bus stop every single day because we have nothing better to do!”

I really thought I was leaving Orange County, and all the fakeness that California is known for behind.  But apparently, in the middle of poverty, hickness, red-neckiness, (yes, I know those are not real words) swamp land and Disney World, there lie many abundant and beautiful Golf courses that are supposed to shelter you from all the harm, ignorance and stupidity of living in Orlando.  All you have to do is marry rich, hope he doesn’t get bored with you and move on to a younger version after a few years, make him buy you an over-priced house in a gated community, have an affair with either your gynecologist, your next door neighbor, or join a swingers club, and never leave the inside of the gates!  Sounds like a wonderful life, I wonder why we couldn’t make a great life in Orlando?

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