Florida has a lot to answer for. Nascar. Real estate swindles. The 2000 elections. Even if you balance that against Jimmy Buffet music, fresh citrus products and Poodle-eating Alligators, the state would do well to be mindful of a righteous God's wrath.
Even with killer hurricanes and a collapsed housing bubble, it still feels like they're getting off easy.
I spend hours driving between two endless walls of identical strip malls. Can there possibly be enough people to buy all the useless junk, eat all the crappy food and hire all the shyster lawyers from billboards along the local highways? Judging from the number of vacant storefronts and foreclosed shops, perhaps not.
The landscape is one vast, unbroken plain, showing the same weary succession; swamp drained, citrus grove abandoned, housing and retail development thrown up and sold at extortionate profit, post-bubble slow decay. Everything was built with one eye on the next hurricane that will surely take it all out to sea. Why knock yourself out?
Heat shimmers off the pavement and thunderheads boil. Even the black buzzards look defeated as they pick over some over-ripe scrap of road kill.
For lack of a better plan, I head for the beach. Crossing a scalding quarter mile of blinding white sand, I stand looking out at the sea. I know it's too early for hurricanes, but I stare out anyway, watchful for any sign of the coming storm.