Opinion: Floridian Species Seasonal Spectacle

Normandi Tapia

The Floridian species is a spectacle…

Florida Man for example. 

You could call these men a club of sorts. This elite and exclusive club is made up of Florida men that attract a ridiculous amount of news coverage by committing abnormalities constantly outdoing the last. The media attention on these guys and their shenanigans has turned the phrase Florida Man into a huge meme that I am sure you all know, creating a funny yet negative stereotype of the people of Florida.

Before I continue, this isn’t going to be a hard-hitting piece attempting to break down the walls of stereotypes (that’s for another time). This is a hard-hitting piece on what makes Floridians funny. 

Our ridiculousness isn’t confined to Florida Man. As a Floridian I have witnessed the foolery we all seem to play out on our peninsula, and I feel there has to be a vocalization on the funniest yet least talked about “Florida Thing”:

How we act when the temperature drops under 65…

If anyone from the New England area was on campus last Thursday they would’ve definitely said, “Are you kidding me?”

I’m not saying I’m any better than the rest of us. When I swung open the doors of my dorm hall and stepped outside I had the same reaction, damn. And you know damn well I went back upstairs and put a jacket on. 

And that’s the main rule to play this Floridian game, drop the 7 to a 6. 

Everyone seemed to want to play that morning. It was a variation of games like Jumanji and Zathura. The University of North Florida students were playing Plymouth, and its’ student became the Pilgrims on their rock. I was transported into something that felt straight out of the First Thanksgiving. There I sat with Pilgrim girls with their sweaters and scarves and fall jeans and knee-high boots dusted off after not being worn for almost a year. The Tribesmen sat on my other side with their flannels and their beanies and their not-so-winter jackets making that annoying shii, shii, shii sound. And around the table was the true hallmark of the season: the Pumpkin Spice Latte. The festivities were in full swing, everyone getting up to dance to Spotify jazz music. The music grew louder and louder until I realized where I really was: The Café.

I’m sure for out-of-state and international students this day seemed a bit whimsical. Whether or not where they come from a place that has these kinds of under 65 conditions, the behavior has to be something they’ve never witnessed. And for them I’ll give my best attempt at an explanation

Floridians go into a fever to embrace the closest thing to cold that they can get. This is why last Thursday our campus (probably the entire North Florida region) pulled out the sweaters, the boots, the rustic flannels, and chump change for the PSL at Starbucks. I’m sure someone’s grandmother woke up in Jacksonville and put blankets over her flowerbeds and offered her neighbors some hot cocoa. 

It’s fun to join the rest of the nation and feel like we have more than one season, even if the temperature just dropped like 5 degrees. This is how we celebrate our fall and winter season; a frenzy of participating on “cold” days and waiting for the next ones. Wearing tees Monday through Wednesday and throwing on wool sweaters Thursday morning through Thursday evening. Although the leaves won’t fall on our 65 degree days, last Thursday was our first leaf falling in a more poetic sense.

It’s one of our quirky traits, and admittedly it’s very funny. We all know we look silly and we’re reducing ourselves down to the foolishness of a Florida Man, but that’s what makes us Floridians and goes to show even in the Sunshine State there’s a little bit of Pilgrim in us.


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