Ten years ago today.
It was a bright sunny day in South Florida. My red Jeep Cherokee was filled with CDs and paintings and boxes and blankets and a 12 pack of soda (back when I drank a 6 pack a day). Hanging off the back, on a brand new Class 3 Trailer hitch, was everything I owned, which amounted to my musical equipment, a couple small pieces of furniture, my art, and the various collections of papers and trinkets that are customary in the modern age: boxes of nothing and paperwork proving I’m no anti-vaxxer.
My sister spent the ten previous years making a spectacle of her insistence that I “leave Florida and never live there again.” She would apologize to my parents when she said it, in that “hey I’m sorry but this is the way it is and so I’m not sorry” way she had about everything.
At ten am, I hugged my parents, and for the millionth time I pulled out of the driveway I came of age in and into a new adventure. Five hours later, I was sitting still 90 miles north of where I started. An accident trapped all of us on the 2 lanes of road shortly before the sign that plainly stated “next exit 45 miles”. Florida didn’t want to let me go. But time kills everything, even gridlock.
16 hours later, my Cherokee pulled into three parking spaces in an apartment building in Duluth, GA. I’ve never looked back, and never second guessed that decision.
Ten years ago today.
I’ll always be Florida Man in some ways. My musical voice is absolutely defined by the time I spent there, although I’m proud to say I am not a socks and flip-flops kind of guy.
I am an Atlantan now, for better or for worse. Well, I’m one probably of those snobby ITP people who thinks civilization ends at the perimeter. I hate traffic here as much as in Florida, and although Georgia drivers are generally less psychotic than in Broward County, Orlando traffic was definitely not this bad. Georgia is backwards in some ways, but I came from Flah-rih-duh, so I didn’t actually take a step backwards on the evolutionary ladder – I traded one huge metropolis for another.
To be fair, I have made some sensationally bad choices in the last decade, including hitching my wagon to some… questionable… trains. I can laugh about those things now. Time kills everything, even my catastrophically stupid projects and relationships. Everything I’ve done until now has turned out to be a net positive. I even ended up getting the better deal out of all the times I’ve been swindled, which means I’ve never been swindled. Which means after 10 years of living here, I’ve literally changed the history of my life without changing the facts.
Whatever I was trying to leave behind, I can truly say it’s behind me. Whoever I’ve become, this is some flavor of that person I thought I could be and that life I came here to create.
I believe in the butterfly effect. Thank you all for flapping your wings and changing the weather in my world.
So here’s to Florida: The Sunshine State. Where it rains every day at the same time, the left lane is the slow lane, and you can actually get decent Caribbean food. Also, the funk. Hot pajamas, that Florida funk is where it’s AT!It’s a great place to visit (and a super dank place to play shows), but I wouldn’t wanna live there. No offense to those of you who do, mind you. I’ll always be a Florida man. But like so many other things in my life, Florida is something I love from afar.