First Words — 02 January 2018
Change may be good for you – me, I’m not sure

By Mark Gauert

I don’t like change.

Don’t like changing planes on the way someplace else. Don’t like changing clocks for daylight savings time. Don’t like going to restaurants for the house special only to find the chef changed the menu.

Why should I change when somebody else forgot to shop for truffles?

I don’t even like getting change – coins, that is, instead of folding money. Don’t like change “for change’s sake.” And it’s been awhile, but, as I recall, I didn’t like changing diapers much, either.

So here we are, just over the change side of a big change: A New Year. A 17 for an 18. An Odd for an Even.

Inevitable. Unstoppable. Change.

I don’t like it.

Let me just changeup here and say there are plenty of reasons why I should like change after the year we just exchanged.

I was going to list them all here, extensively and to the point of reader fatigue and possible outrage, but I changed my mind. Let’s just say, 2017 was an Odd Year.

Let me just changeup here again and say there are so many things we wouldn’t want to change in South Florida. Cool sunshine. Warm sea breezes. (Wait – change that.) We offer in this issue pages and pages of good reasons why it’s wonderful to be here now.

But it wasn’t always so wonderful here, for those of us who were here through the recent Odd Year.

I remember sitting in my house last Sept. 9, waiting – based on calm, experienced, well-coiffed weather forecasts – for a possible Category 5 hurricane to make landfall somewhere on my front yard. I remember watching it zig, then zag, all over the weather map before slashing through the Lower Keys, Florida Bay and the West Coast.

I remember listening to the wind scream around my fortress of Miami-Dade steel shutters, even though the storm made landfall hundreds of miles away from my actual front yard. I remember hearing the wind-blown rain pushing through a wall, pooling in the ceiling, dripping through the paint onto the floor – and leaving mushrooms growing from my ceiling. (Still waiting to hear from the insurance company about that one.) I remember the tree limbs falling into damp green clumps in the front yard – then changing into dull yellow clumps, then slimy Death Star gray clumps before a Miraculous Garbage Truck descended in a shaft of white headlight to lift my debris away.

I remember writing the check to replace all the grass that had died a Florida sunshine-starved death under the fallen clumps. I remember writing another check to scrape the ceiling, seal the wall and paint the mushroom room. I remember checking my balance and thinking, Is Hurricane Season over yet? Because, if not, I’m about out of folding money and I’m going to need a second and possibly third job to keep up with this. (Briefly considered opportunities driving Miraculous Garbage Trucks.)

So to my list of reasons why I do not like change, let me add that I especially do not like the Categories of Change that come without our consent. Without asking if we liked our front yards the way they were. Or if we prefer our ceilings without mushrooms.

We were doing fine before, without change. But maybe we would have hated it less if we’d been consulted. Like we would gladly settle for truffle oil if there really weren’t any truffles. (I might even know where to get some mushrooms.)

Change is inevitable.

Unstoppable.

And I may not like it.

But change – and Hurricane Season – will come around again.

Until then, there’s cool sunshine, warm sea breezes – and all the other reasons here we wouldn’t change a thing.

Mark Gauert is the Editor-in-Chief of City & Shore Magazine. Write to him at mgauert@cityandshore.com

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