A warm welcome to our returning Snowbirds and a quick update as to what has changed (and what has not) since last you’ve been in Sarasota:
(1) The new mascot of Sarasota is now the crane.
No, not this one:
(2) We have several new roundabouts with more on the way. The rules are simple: yield before entering, otherwise floor it; once you enter the circle, you have the right of way—unless someone is texting; traffic flows counterclockwise (think quickly); don’t stop or brake when you are in the circle–unless forced to; when you need to exit, you move to the right lane (but watch out for British tourists who move to the left); if you miss your turn, just go around again; and…well, just try it and you’ll see; at least you’re not sitting at a traffic light reading bumper stickers.
(3) Another driving tip: remember that upon returning to Florida you must stop using your blinker (they may be illegal here), and do not trust them when you see them on because chances are it’s been blinking since the vehicle crossed the Mason-Dixon Line.
(4) Remember back in the day when Main Street had dime eating parking meters; and then they were taken out; and then new confusing digital ones were put in; and then those were taken out? Well, guess what’s scheduled to return to Main Street…Yep.
(5) Nathan Benderson Park continues to improve facilities and host events: but beware of the new speed trap! If you’re coming from the south, you’ll see cars flying at 70 mph or better to your right on Interstate 75, while your speed drops from 40 mph to 30 mph. Yes, bicyclists will pass you in the 30 mph zone, and rowers on the water will appear to fly by, but just in case you’re tempted to catch them, there’s a nice officer hiding in the dip in the road to remind you to slow to a crawl.
(6) And a few words to bicyclists riding along University…we have invented a new challenging bath path for you; it is the disappearing lane. It goes like this: there’s a dedicated bike lane that suddenly vanishes at the intersection of Cattlemen and University. But fear not: a sign clearly states that, from this point forward (yes, as you are entering the construction zone of the “diverging diamond” near the Interstate 75 ramps), bikes will now be “sharing” the lane with cars. No; we’re not kidding. Theoretically, it could work, right?
(7) Tourists sometimes mistake the Red Tide warning at the beach as an advertisement for a local IPA brew. Reminder: if you see this sign, run, don’t walk from the shore, and try not to inhale. Those fish are not lying there drunk; they are dead, dead, dead. (Guess they believe in the old adage, better dead than red. Sorry, I had to say it.)
(8) Another warning: Television viewing here may be detrimental to your health. Swing state Florida has more political ads than Sarasota has cranes. Now’s the time to dvr and zap those ads.
(9) But speaking of television, you may in fact not have to worry. Verizon sold its television and internet service to Frontier. Chances are, then, that when you return, you will have neither. We had to learn to speak Filipino in order to resolve our problems through multiple conversations with “out of country” customer service.
(10) Sarasota has allowed a new exclusive condo to be built on the corner of Gulfstream and Ringling Causeway. It is named for what it has destroyed—the Vue. Future projects are rumored to include: the Quay, the Pedestrian Way, and the Gulf Shore.
(11) Some local restaurants have decided to mix food with presidential politics–a bold marketing strategy that must be intended to separate those with strong stomachs from the weak. Not to worry: these establishments tend to be clearly marked by outdoor signs that specifically invite the business of “deplorables,” “gun toting patriots,” “Tic Tac fans,” and “Russian hackers” (shirts required, except for Putin.)
(12) This election year could be a confusing one for Florida voters. At least two of the proposed state amendments are tricky. Amendment 1, titled the Florida Solar Energy Subsidies and Personal Solar Use amendment, is said to promote neither. Think about that. And the Medical Marijuana amendment is not endorsed by the AMA. Hmmmm, again. Meanwhile, Jeb Bush will most likely be voting for Hillary Clinton, and Billy Bush is now the most googled member of the clan. And remember when you left us in the spring, Marco Rubio declared he would not run for reelection? Well, now he really, really does want to be Senator for another 6 years. (The “Marco!” “Polo!” ad against him is hysterical.)
And we wonder why Florida has the reputation for being “weird.”