As your abandoned Florida sweater, these are my demands
While twin cold fronts chill Tampa Bay, pay attention if you want to survive.
It's sweater season, Tampa Bay. Do you know where your single sweater is?
It's sweater season, Tampa Bay. Do you know where your single sweater is? [ Shutterstock ]
Published Nov. 28, 2023

Did you have an amusing summer? Flitting around in your shortie-shorts and flippy-floppies? Did you catch mellow rays courtesy of the bon vivant T-shirts that taste life from the privilege of the top drawer? Did you miss me? Did you think about me even once? Well, you’re about to.

Pay attention if you want to see your children again, vile Floridian. Heed carefully my demands.

It’s me. Your lone warm and cozy sweater, forgotten until the moment you suddenly need me. Well, guess what? That time is now. The cold gusts are seeping into the house because you still haven’t redone the insulation. Don’t get any ideas. Wool costs three times more than fiberglass, so move along. Seriously, stop looking at me like that.

Wait, come back. I’m sorry. I didn’t kidnap your kids. My tensile strength isn’t high enough. But the fact is, I haven’t breathed in one, two… 364 days. I am positively choking, not to mention suffering seasonal affective disorder because it’s so dark back here. You try existing between a peacoat with tissues in the pocket and the patterned pants that look like a Magic Eye poster from 1996. Truth or rude?

If I understand the intel from the gloves you bought for a “cute cabin vacay to Gatlinburg” six years ago, back-to-back cold fronts are about to plummet Tampa Bay temperatures into their lowest range since January. We could see the 40s, a number only Chicago sweaters are lucky enough to count on. I have not harbored such hope since that freight truck kept driving a suspiciously long time, air trending muggier with each untaken exit, until finally arriving at a Burlington store in… Clearwater, Florida.

Look, you have to understand. I hate you, yet I yearn for your touch. I don’t know. Maybe it’s myself I hate. The short straw of it all. My clearance tag. My unfulfilled potential. All those arms, unscratched. All those clavicles, exposed.

We’ve no time for self-pity! Here’s what’s going to happen:

You’re going to wedge me out immediately. I will smell like a mixture of dust, decay and Febreze Fabric Refresher. My shoulders will be molded into two pokey devil horns; I have dangled an entire year off your cheap plastic hanger, the one you got from Target with “MEDIUM” on the hook. You’ll have to get a damp towel and hold it against the points for a few minutes. A few minutes more, maybe. If you feel like it.

Now, as far as execution goes, we’ve got options:

You may pair me with flowy pants and sit on the hood of a car in the beach parking lot, cradling someone wearing their own forgotten sweater. You must both be barefoot and laughing into the horizon. I know your feet are cold, but socks make their own demands.

You may approach a precipice and extend both arms out at your side, as long as someone is available to take your photo from behind. We’re aiming for a look of cold coastal glee, if not unmitigated spiritual revelation.

You may pull the sleeves over your hands and wrap them around your latte mug.

You may sink your chin inside the neck hole so just your eyes show. Now giggle. I SAID GIGGLE.

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We don’t have much time. Before we know it, you’ll be sweating and peeling me off with disgust. I will languish another year unlaundered. You will jam me back on the Target hanger, this time next to some plaid, last-season monstrosity called a “shacket.” Mark my words: I will fray the last of my miserable edges fighting that fate, for no sweater should know the pain of Florida life.

You have 24 hours.

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