1. You think of Las Olas Boulevard as the height of culture.
Fine dining and galleries filled with art you don’t “get.”
2. You struggle with parallel parking along the one stretch of A1A where it’s actually necessary.
Nobody taught you this! They said you wouldn’t need to know this!
3. You took at least one class field trip to the Museum of Discovery and Science.
You were mesmerized by the clock and ball thing at the entrance and had your first panic attack in the IMAX theater. They should really warn you about the 3D jellyfish.
4. You have a pool.
If you don’t have a pool, there’s a good chance your house was built on an ancient Indian burial ground.
5. You know the Everglades is right there, but you’ve never really seen it.
It is still there, though, right? Someone’s keeping an eye on it?
6. You were no one if you weren’t at the Sawgrass Oasis on a Friday night.
Your adolescence was spent between Gameworks, Ron Jon Surf Shop, and Regal Cinemas 23.
7. You get angry when vacationers are at your beach.
I live here, you fair-weather snowbird! Get your pasty skin off my beach!
8. You’ve taken in a show at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
It’s the Broadway of the South. Or at least of South Florida. Or at least the part of South Florida that’s north of Miami and south of Pompano Beach. This is where you’ve seen Rent, Wicked, Hairspray — or perhaps you just accompanied your grandma to witness the musical prowess of Dudu Fisher.
9. You never used public transit until you moved away.
Is there even public transit in Fort Lauderdale?
10. Any place over a 15-minute drive away is too far for you.
True, places are too spread out to walk to in the crazy Florida heat but still close enough that if a 15-minute car ride can’t get you there, you’re probably not going to go. This is why you haven’t been to the Everglades (25 minutes away).
11. You know it’s winter by the influx of Quebec license plates on cars driven by people who don’t seem to understand the concept of a turn signal.
12. You’ve never been on a Duck Tour.
But you’ve grown accustomed to sharing the road with a bus with a beak.
13. You always have a beach blanket in your car.
Just in case.
14. You always have an umbrella in your car.
Just in case.
15. You’re a little too familiar with the legendary Swap Shop.
“Where’s the bargain?!” At the Swap Shop, a gargantuan flea market filled with furniture, electronics, clothing, antiques, art and some pretty dodgy-seeming people. It’s also home to amusement rides you threw up on as a kid and a drive-in movie theater which you’ve always wanted to go to but your parents won’t let you (even as an adult!) because it’s “not safe.”
16. You’re caught somewhere in the middle.
Despite being in the south of the United States, Fort Lauderdale is home to many transplants from the Northeast. That said, there are still parts of town where you’ve line-danced the night away and have to beware of people merging into your lane on horseback.
17. You’re apolitically aware of the famous annual Gun and Knife Show.
18. Your idea of “alternative” is Hollywood Beach.
19. You know the true pleasure of shopping at Publix, and your childhood was filled with free cookies.
20. You’d get hot while trick-or-treating and had to take an AC break halfway through.
21. You’ve seen Santa arrive not by sleigh but by pickup truck.
22. You don’t understand the concept of layering.
People who live in places with four seasons practice the art of layering their clothing, like onions, to adjust for temperature changes. Floridians are more like, well, oranges. Give us a coat and we’ll bundle. Otherwise, we’re more or less peeled to the skin.
23. You’ve learned how to swim on land.
100% humidity can apparently exist even outside bodies of water.
24. You see the Intracoastal Waterway as something to aspire to.
25. You’ve gotten drunk in Himmarshee Village or at Riverfront.
26. A grassy swale, a palm tree, a Spanish tile roof…
And you’re home.