Surviving the Great Florida Cold Front of 2019

This week, in between sweating profusely in 90-degree weather, I began to brace myself for the oncoming cold front that was rapidly gaining traction on Florida news stations. It seemed that every TV I saw featured graphs showing a digital blue layer moving across the state to signify the oncoming cold front that was sure to shock state residents as it moved eastward.

The excitement was further magnified by news headlines such as Finally fall! Cold front brings temperatures in Central Florida down to the 40s and Cold front to relieve Tampa Bay from hottest October in 100 years. As a result of the buildup, I was honestly expecting something that would rival the blizzard of 2014, when over five feet of snow dropped on Buffalo, New York. So this northerner at heart embraced the threat of impending cold and made weekend plans that would capitalize on the weather.

After some deliberation about what we could do to enjoy the massive temperature drop, my friend and I decided to visit an outdoor market on Saturday morning. I woke up feeling thrilled to the core by the thought of the cold snap right outside my window and excitedly rushed to my closet to find clothes that would keep me warm in spite of the plummeting temperatures. I settled on jeans and a sweater that screamed, “it’s November, baby!” and contentedly made coffee while I waited for my friend to arrive.

Before long, she texted to say she was parked downstairs, so I headed out the door. Something felt wrong the instant I stepped outside. By “wrong,” I mean that it was hotter than an AC-free, rural church in the middle of summer (shoutout to LaGrange Baptist Church in Perry, NY for inspiring that comparison). Beads of sweat instantly began forming, and I worried about how I was going to survive the outdoor market. But denial is real, so I convinced myself that it must be a fluke and that the cold front was surely happening outside the radius of my apartment building. With that reassurance playing over and over in my head, I headed downstairs to meet my friend.

We arrived at the market, and I was instantly fascinated by the Petri dish that is an outdoor market in South Florida. While there were some of the expected yoga pant-clad mothers pushing expensive strollers, a majority of the attendees consisted of hippies roaming the aisles, grim women with mullets similar to Billy Ray Cryus circa 1992, and seemingly enraged men in wife beaters striding between the tents as if they were owners of their own personal Walmart.

By the time we made it to the long line formed at the arepas tent, I was sweating more than the time my two fit friends made my chubby self run in college. I did my best to ignore the cloud of bubblegum-scented vape that kept enveloping me from behind while I waited for the reheated arepa to be slid across the counter on a paper plate. And through the redneck-induced smog, I thought about this alleged “cold front” and wondered why the meteorologists hyped it up so much.

In the end, I concluded that the weather might have been considered fall-like in the minds of the Florida people surrounding me. And while I’m glad they got the reprieve they were hoping for, it made me look forward to the next time I experience an actual cold front up north.

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