For some reason though, people assume that in Florida, I don’t have to work or worry about bills and that I would just love to spend a week with old friends I haven’t seen since we ate glue together in kindergarten.
It’s unnerving, really. Some people can go from bold to pushy to downright rude.
First, they tell me how much I will adore their children.
I bite my tongue off to keep from saying, “There’s not enough tequila in the world for me to invite you and your wild offspring into my 740-square-foot shoe box.”
They tell me they would love for me to drive them around and show them the sights (since, apparently, I have nothing else to do).
By the way, that will never happen. I’m not carting anybody to Everglade City to look at half-dead alligators in fish tanks.
Then they tell me they must eat seafood every night during their stay.
Well, have at it.
I can’t afford to eat seafood even once a month. Check out that red-neck fridge in there, princess. Have a bologna sandwich like me.
They tell me they will invite me out for dinner on the last night of their stay.
Are you kidding me, cheapskate? My water bill alone would more than double.
It costs me big money to have guests.
But more important than the bills is the fact that to be very honest, I don’t want any guests.
I’m sorry that it’s cold and snowy up north.
But here in Florida, I’m under the gun. I’m trying to financially keep my head above water just like everybody else in the world. I don’t feel like being the hostess with the mostest. I feel like being Medusa. That’s what I feel like.
Obviously, I am not the only resident of Florida who deals with these very forward new friends from up north. I nicely tell would-be visitors to please stay where they are.
However, a couple of my friends here just go for the moocher’s jugular, “I don’t remember inviting you. That means I have no interest in your company.”
I’m wondering how these vacation beggars would feel if I contacted them in December and said, “I know I haven’t seen you since our days when we wore training bras, but I want some of my friends to come north with me, and I knew you wouldn’t mind putting us up for a week. We’d really love to see snow on Christmas Eve! If you could taxi us around on New Year’s Eve, that would be great. We’ll buy your dinner that night, too, if there’s an open drive-through!”
My life is exactly like the saying on one of my couch pillows, “You never know how many friends you have until you move to the beach.”
A former Southsider and an award-winning journalist and humor writer, Sherri Coner resides in southwest Florida. To learn about her books for women and to join her on Facebook, visit www.sherriconer.com. She also speaks to women’s groups.