It was on this day in 2006 that my life in Florida ended, and I moved to Kentucky. It is 10:30 PM as I write this, and at that time I was at the halfway point between Orlando and Lexington, spending the night in a run-down motel in Forsyth, Georgia. I won’t say I’ve been in Kentucky for seven years, though, because of the job that took me to Connecticut for ten and a half months.
Today it felt a lot like Florida. With outside (and inside) temperatures in the 80s, it was about as ideal as it could get for Leive and I, inasmuch as that was the kind of heat we were used to in the old country. In the morning I had a doctor’s appointment. Don’t worry, it was a routine checkup, and I got a clean bill of health.
But while I was in there, I talked with one of the nurses; I happened to mention that I used to live in Florida, and she said she was there once. But oh, what an experience she had! It turns out she went to visit her cousin in Gibsonton, and that is the only part of the state she got a good look at. For those not familiar with Florida, Gibsonton is a small town southeast of Tampa, a retirement community for circus freaks. She claimed they treated her well, because she is black and there were no blacks living in Gibsonton; that surprised me, because in the rest of Florida, the population is about 1/5 African-American. Still, a place full of freaks was too crazy for her. I told the nurse she should have at least visited Tampa, because the people are more normal there. A few months ago, I wrote an essay on why Florida appears to be the weirdest state; from that nurse’s perspective, Florida must be even weirder.
On the other hand, Kentucky has its weird moments, too. The above picture of a “math lab bust” appeared on a local TV station last week. In other messages on this blog I told how Lexington is an overgrown college town; the University of Kentucky owns a big chunk, maybe a quarter of the city, we are preoccupied with UK sports, and another school of higher learning, Transylvania University, is based here. Still, a news story about cops arresting people for dabbling with math should confirm the suspicion outsiders have of Kentucky, about how we don’t consider education very important.