Island Packet — Let’s be honest with each other, Lowcountry people: A major reason that we expatriated ourselves here in the swamps — in addition to retirement, golf and/or the realization of our dream of opening a makeshift bar in a storage facility — is so that we could spend no small amount of time gloating at all of the slushy saps who have elected to live in the North, on purpose, despite considerable scientific evidence pointing to the fact that winter has been known to occur nearly every year.
Over the years and in my two separate stays here in the Lowcountry, I have done this a lot. I did it last week. I’ve done it enough so that I have been occasionally disinvited from important family gatherings. Now and again I’ll load up the weather forecast for Chicago, gasp in farcically overwrought Glenn Beck-ian horror at the shockingly low figure before me, do a genre shuffle for “Reggae” on the iPod and sit back and drink my morning margarita.
One afternoon in 1998 I mentioned to my absurdly talented photographer ex-roommate that I was heading out to finish my Christmas cards by our apartment complex’s pool; he responded, “Shovel the sidewalk while you’re out there!” chortling with a good-natured what-ho as we patted each other on the back and enjoyed the sort of convivial laughter you’d expect of very old criminals, smirking inwardly at our friends and family who had, very likely, spent a good part of their morning chucking a Tootsie Roll-brown mixture of slush, road salt and small former animal chonks off of their wheel wells. (Karma being a jerk, three weeks later I found myself stranded in Chicago’s O’Hare airport — I can’t remember exactly how long it was, but I do know I began to make vague plans about which fellow travelers should be eaten first — but that’s probably for another story time.)