It’s funny how we get so accustomed to certain features of our own daily landscape that a change seems foreign. When I first moved to Florida from Philadelphia, the way locals dressed seemed odd to the point of bizarre. Women wandered the aisles of supermarkets in bikinis with thin cover-ups thrown over them, men and women went to church in shorts and flip-flops. Now that has become the norm.
A couple of weeks ago, I spent ten days in Houston where I lived for over thirty years. It was lovely to be back to a place where everybody talked like me and where friendly smiles were the norm, wonderful to eat honest-to-god Tex-Mex again. But the city has grown so much since I left in 1991 that I barely recognized it, and everywhere I looked I saw women in high heels and shiny knee-tall boots. They were dressed up, too, in sleek suits and silk blouses that I vaguely remembered wearing when I lived and worked there. Not a flip-flop in sight. No shorts. And no bare legs. I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland.
When I came back to Sarasota, my white linen pants seemed outrageously out-of-season, never mind that the temperature was in the 80s. I found myself pawing through my closet for something black and stylish, something that said it was autumn. I didn’t find much, and what I found was hot and uncomfortable. It seems strange that it’s winter already in many parts of the US, but still summer here. That’s why I moved here, of course, because I love the eternal sunshine, but seeing all those snazzy boots and dressy suits made me a bit nostalgic for weather that goes with panty hose.