Today started out as another crappy, cold day in Gouna, Egypt.
It was 64°F at 8am; 74°F on the Treasure Coast in Florida where I own a house. The humidity in Gouna is around 35%; on the Treasure Coast it is around 80.
(In all fairness, it did warm up to the mid 70s by noon; and the sun was shining in a clear blue sky, such that I am considering swimming in my private pool for the first time since I moved into this villa, over 2 months ago, particularly since the loud Spaniards with their shrieking small children next door seem to have left!)
The almost constant wind in Gouna is full of desert sand, which dries out your skin and fills your lungs with dust particles; the breeze on the Treasure Coast blows in from the Atlantic: it is full of moisture, which is great for the skin and lungs, and free of dust or pollution.
(Again in all fairness, I went this morning to the hospital pharmacy to get 2 bottles of saline nose drops, which at Publix would have cost me 6 dollars; here it cost 75¢. Then I went to Zomba in downtown Gouna and had two magnificent pita sandwiches, one felafel with lots of tahina sauce, the other a foul medames with eggs, and a tall glass of freshly squeezed orange juice; cost was 2 euros, or 45 LE when I left a good tip for filling up the sandwiches to the brim, because I am a loyal customer. This fare and price structure is simply unavailable in Florida. Then I went to the Ebaid supermarket, got Sandie her 1kg bag of Top Cat, made in Egypt, and a huge chunk of delicious feta cheese, 2 rolls of TP, a small bag of Turkish coffee with cardamom, and 3 tins of plain, ready-to-eat foul medames, or Egyptian fava beans, a bag of whole wheat Egyptian bread, but alas forgot to purchase a miswak. Cost? 125LE, or $7 US. Again, these prices are out of the question in Florida, which is why I settled on El Gouna as my expat destination.)
In the summertime, the Treasure Coast is hot, but only in the 90s, and the summer afternoon showers and the wind off the Atlantic do much to make it a tropical garden paradise. The summertime in Gouna, which lasts 5-6 months, is an inferno.
So why did I come to Gouna, after living for 17 years on the Treasure Coast? On paper, there is no comparison: the Treasure Coast is head and shoulders superior to anything Gouna has to offer, though far more expensive.
Call me slow on the uptake, but after living in this state for a decade and a half, I have come to the conclusion that the state of Florida is largely populated by mentally ill people, and ruled by a mentally ill legislature that is controlled by the terrorist organization known as the NRA.
All right, maybe I’m veering into Russkie bot click-baitish territory, but bear with me.
The street where I live is full of old people. And by that I mean ancient, “flag-waving bumpkins.”
Most of them own weapons; most of them are not what you might call well-educated, which in my book means a liberal arts education from a good college, maybe supplemented with some form of graduate level studies. Trump University does not count.
All of them watch FOX obsessively.
When Obama was president, some of them plastered decals on their cars that pulled just short of calling for his assassination. No one called the FBI.
The vileness of the racism in the high-end gated community where I still own a house is nothing short of a form mental illness: the idea that you, just on the basis of the color of your skin, are superior to another human being is a sickness and a symptom of deep tribal insecurity.
But by God are these loathsome geezers ready to take on Obama’s blackies, or those rapist Mexicans, or those filthy Arabs who want nothing more than to impose “sharia law” in the Sunshine State.
These rascal driving sharp shooters are even ready to hit the fox holes against the deep state FBI or Hillary or maybe it’s the Man on the Moon, all of whom want to strip their 2nd Amendment rights away from them. Mental illness, dude. Mental illness compounded by Alzheimer’s and rage against being old.
(Pardon the interruption, but when the weather got nice and warm and sunny, I went by the pool with Sandy and did a lot of moob and fat stomach exercises by the pool. It was fantastic! Now back to the rant.)
The legislature a few years ago passed a law known as Stand Your Ground. The net effect of this law is that if someone in Florida “feels threatened,” then they can shoot down another person with legal impunity. Many murder cases in the last few years have used this defense. In my opinion, this is insane.
The small town where I live has five gun shops. A few years ago, someone had a problem with the pizza at an Italian pizzeria. So he went next door, bought a gun and came back to shoot the pizza maker. Would you call any of that sane?
Moreover, the state of Florida is full of sick people who enjoy getting dressed up in Village People macho camo outfits and going out into the woods to kill defenseless animals. They call it “hun’in’,” and think of it as a sport. I call the dark psychological drive to feel compelled to needlessly kill any form of life a mental illness.
My wife has a wealthy snowbird friend from up North who thinks of herself as a liberal. This friend claims to loathe Donald Trump; yet had her rich lawyer husband fork over the $200,000 initiation fee to join Mar-a-Lago, and continues to pay the annual 14K membership fee.
That is mental illness of another sort, on the liberal side of the spectrum: that is to say, the need to affirm one’s belonging to a perceived upper class social strata that is demonstrably rotten to the core, one whom, irony of ironies, you profess to abhor, all while playfully or perversely flirting with anti-liberalism.
(This is roughly the same trope that allowed supposedly liberal mucky-mucky New Yorkers to permit David Koch to pollute Lincoln Center with a filthy endowment to renovate the New York State Theater, rather than ban him from ever stepping foot on the premises for all the harm he had done to our country’s politics and environment — such false liberals fell compelled to rub elbows with the rich, no matter how right wing and vile, at various evening soirees that are held at the Lincoln Center and the Museum of Natural History and elsewhere, where the presumably Libertarian Koch would take offense if not be scared shitless at guests showing up open-carrying AK-15s.)
The state of Florida is notoriously full of low lives who make a living off the suffering of the others.
The other day, I watched a movie called 99 Homes, directed by Ramin Bahrani. As I watched the ruthless viciousness of defenseless older homeowners being stripped of their only tangible asset and thrown out on the street, I thought that only a mentally ill state would allow this sort of thing to happen, by abetting bottom-feeder predators in preying on its own citizens.
And then today I read this in the Miami Herald.
The creepy Republican legislature just used a procedural ruse to deny any discussion of a proposed bill to ban semi automatic assault weapons in advance of the arrival of the High School kids from Broward County where last week’s mass murder occurred.
That degree of vileness — which is surpassed only by Trump’s own insane, possibly collusive overall assault on America — is a form of mental illness. Sane people do not ordinarily think that what are in effect M16s in the hands of civilians is in any way normal or desirable for the overall body politic.
The legislature is now talking about turning schools into police fortresses. Some have suggested that drones patrol the school skies looking for mass murders. There are many other loony ideas being floated by the extreme right, such as having teachers give classes to children while armed to the teeth: think of it as The Man with No Name teaching your kids math.
Not only are these proposals unhinged, but as a property owner in the mentally ill state of Florida, I would have to fund these crazy ideas through the inevitable taxe increases to come.
Florida has a law on the books that prevent individual counties from passing their own gun laws, or using public funds to protect any court challenges against such laws. Is this sane?
(Sorry for the interruption, again, but I have to mention that Sandy is tearing through her package of American-made cat food like there’s no tomorrow. Now back to regular programmming.)
None of this is exactly news.
I could go on and on to list all the evidence that Florida is a racist, mentally ill state, a state where despite the fact that I have lived there for 17 years, I was threatened with physical violence by my neighbors who despise me because I am an Arab-American. When I called the police, the authorities of course did absolutely nothing.
The most prevalent form that mental illness takes in Florida is always the same: it is an unstated yet widely-held world view that is absolutely paranoid and deeply deranged, one that implicitly believes that in many cases, the only final resolution of conflict must be allowed to occur at the business end of a semi automatic assault rifle.
If that’s not Bellevue flight deck mental sickness, I don’t know what is.