As each day of the pandemic straggles – and threatens at times to expand and ignite its virulence further abroad – we await, immobile and with increasing anticipation. The insufferable inertia hasn’t us yet talking to imagery friends but the imperturbability and frozen filming are palpable. Because Americans have – rightly or wrongly – succeeded to adjust more quickly than Canadians to social distancing, shut-downs and isolation, the Floridian winter resort market has already been sopped up. Availability for prolonged periods such as 3 – 6 months is gone. And prices are rocketing.
Subject to opening of the border and settlement of medical insurability, we’re currently developing a scheme for a shorter period of holidaying such as a month. This addresses not only the strategic fall-out of the pandemic but also the changes wrought of aging. There is a line I have never forgotten in one of John Mortimer’s books about Horace Rumpole of the Old Bailey. Rumpole levels an assault upon beach lounging in Florida by overweight and static retirees. Rumpole’s stated purpose is instead sleuthing and legal conundrums.
This disturbing and moderately conflicting image opens the door to a reality of wintering on foreign soil. There is no escaping the blunt and everlasting truth that “there ain’t no ship to take you away from yourself, that you travel the suburbs of your own mind“. Apart from that ornament of personal sterility the imprisonment of oneself by daily mundane habit and routine also soon embellishes the real estate. It is a small compliment to sculpt luxury as idle backyard or poolside status with no purpose or result.
This rather arid picture of wintering is energized by an altered path. Instead of devoting ourselves to a half-year of removal from one condo up north to another condo down south, we’re presently considering a similar venue but one for a shorter time and characterized by a resort or club atmosphere. We’ve discovered for example through the Resort at Longboat Key Club that hotel resorts have adopted the emerging concept of residential suites which is to say seaside condominiums privately owned but managed for rent by the hotel. These accommodations are generally short-term; but for people who wish to remain for more than two or three weeks there is the advantage of having private cooking facilities. We appreciate this option because as non-drinkers we find repetitive restaurant dining in the resort atmosphere becomes prosaic. On the other hand the availability of the other resort facilities and maintenance is a continuous plus. It practically invites Epicurean exorbitance; viz., massages, manicures and pedicures, salons, limited shopping and room service.
There is indisputably evolution of a new preference when it comes to being an erstwhile Snowbird. It may simply be the Old Man’s way of regarding the once select privilege of vacationing, prescribed as it historically was by fewer stars and less weeks but lots of frivolity. We have no wish to recast the youthful holidays; but the underlying themes are winning!