Watch That Florida Person!

For a people-watcher like me, living in Florida is a dream come true. This is the World Series of people watching. Only in Florida will you see an 80-year-old woman in a bikini, and a 90-year-old man in a Speedo; dogs wearing clothes and accessories, and humans wearing dog collars and leashes (although I saw one of these in Phoenix once, too, and the get-up was so kinky that I haven’t felt the same about the Southwest since). And you’ll see more untucked Hawaiian shirts over beer bellies than anywhere, including Hawaii.

The people watching is so good, in fact, that I’ve begun doing themes and games. I’m considering my own late-night cable TV game show called Watch That Florida Person! but it might involve staying up past 10 p.m. and I’m not sure I could handle that.

So just to stay in practice, I play it with myself. You can try this at your own mall or amusement park or car wash. Pick a theme and park yourself in the food court or another crowded place (like far away from the kiosk guy who is operating a remote-control helicopter, since people avoid him like the plague) , and look for people who fit your theme.

Here are some suggestions that I’ve found to be fun and profitable:

Mismatched Couples
Some couples start to look like each other after a few years of being happily married, some people are just wrong for each other, and some people start to look like their pets. But for this game, let’s concentrate on No. 2. The tall girl with a little butterball boyfriend, the princess with the kid who barely passed power mechanics, the nerdy guy with the beautiful blond cheerleader, you’ve seen them. Collect them all!

Girlfriend or Daughter/Boyfriend or Son?
Once, at my daughter’s basketball game, one of the moms was sitting across the way with what appeared to be her older son, maybe a guy who had just finished college and was home to visit mom and see li’l sis shoot some hoops, and, oh wait, why is this boy putting his hand on his mom’s knee? And . . . and . . . oh god, why is Mom putting her lips on his neck. GAH! Yeah, as it turns out, it wasn’t her son, it was her new boyfriend. Here in Florida, you see a lot of that. And you see even more old guys with young blond girls who are younger than their daughters. This is a fun game to play at the mall, but don’t think about it too much or you’ll lose your food court lunch.

Plastic or Real?
This one would be perfect for a competition between you and a friend or neighbor, except that a definitive answer would require asking strangers, “Are those real?” Feel free to play it anyway and just make up the answers. Plastic surgery is as common as eyeliner is up north, so you’re going to find that plastic is the correct answer more often than not. I’ve seen women in the grocery store with face and body parts so swollen, I’m pretty sure they’re on their way home from their appointments. Either that or they’ve been beaten by an angry spouse.

Cover That Up!
I’m torn about this one. On one hand, when I see an older, overweight woman wearing a bathing suit that is any more revealing than a wet suit, I go ew. But on the other hand, a part of me says you go girl. If I squint enough so that the tattoos disappear - they just seem incongruous with the whole my-body-is-beautiful-the-way-God-made-it thing - a normal looking woman really is very normal looking. And I love to see people showing off their high self-esteem. But there are bodies that really do just need to be told, Cover that up! For this game, be sure not to say it aloud. People with high self-esteem are often very strong.

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