Monday, March 20, 2017


One thing I'm learning about Snowbirds is that they are very social creatures. Therefore, it's important to know the proper etiquette required in order to fully participate in your local Snowbird Community. Hint: Alcohol is involved.

If you must know, Snowbirds are, in a sense, homesick. They have left behind their homes, children, grandchildren, friends, Red Hat Clubs, golf foursomes, and beloved physicians. Upon first arrival in their new community,  they usually know exactly one person - their spouse.  This means they are lonely for conversation, which is why, as soon as reasonably possible, they form a condo klatch. In fact, they are so anxious to keep membership numbers up in said klatch that they greet each new person with open arms and great enthusiasm.  "Hello! Where are you from?" they shout from the balcony as you cross the parking lot, luggage trailing behind you.
In fact, shouting is kind of a thing, here. We're all a little hard-of-hearing, some more than others. So, talking IN A VERY LOUD VOICE becomes a habit. It's a little jarring, at first, and I've been privy to some fairly personal conversations held by our neighbors on their porches and patios. To respect their privacy, I close our porch door so my husband can't hear while I pour myself a glass of wine, pretend I'm engrossed in a novel in my Kindle, and listen to every word. Why not? We're all friends here!

Speaking of friendships, they run deep in these communities. Though these folks only see one another for three months out of the year and have almost no contact during the "off season," it's an important three months. For one thing, this is their turf. It is the one place in the world where they (we) fit in perfectly with everyone around us. Sure, there are young people on the beach, but they better get out of the way of the retirees out for their power walks.  Meanwhile, by the pools, in certain restaurants, and all around the neighborhood, everyone is "of a certain age - or beyond." In other words, none of us are spring chickens and, in this particular world, we don't have to pretend to be. In fact, in this world, young people are both suspect and a nuisance.

"Yo! Dad. Don't forget to take out your hearing aides before you go in the water. And wear sunscreen. And a hat."

"Screw him!!"
But, in order for these friendships to work. there is one rule that must be followed:
No complaining! If you dare comment that the 24 hours of rain, wind, and frosty temperatures are messing with your tropical mojo, you will be reminded, "Hey! It's snowing up north, somewhere. Besides, it'll be as warm as you want it by the middle of the week.  Care for a hot toddy?" Want to harp on the heavy traffic? "What's your hurry? You'll get to where you need to go soon enough. Have a beer." Thinking of griping about life, in general? I'm sure there's an app for that, because, here, no matter the severity of your issue, the response is always, "It will work out one way or the other. Things always do, you know. Have another glass of wine." The only two exceptions are a. other people's grandchildren b. weak drinks. You see, in Snowbird Land, life is a parade that is not to be rained upon.

The bottom line is that this is no place for sissies. But, it is a place for neighbors.

Happy Spring!

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