Currently, I am off “observing” the Tampa Bay metropolitan area. I have been here for a few days already, and I will continue to be here for a few more. And though I can’t tell you exactly what I’m doing, I can tell you about a few things I’ve learned/observed so far…

1. There is more than a noticeably large number of adult retail stores in the Tampa Bay metropolitan area (which, in my head, includes all this bay area’s cities). Now, this may just be an artifact of where I’m spending my time, but I’ve been fairly all over the place… And there aren’t just a lot of adult stores – there are A LOT of adult stores.

I think this may have to do with shipping. I’m gonna have to start cross referencing zip codes.

2. The driving here is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. A combination of aggressive tailgating and an overwhelming disdain for turn signals, emergency lanes, and lanes in general, all I gotta say is stay on your toes if you ever come visit.

3. In the city of Tampa, “roadside solicitors” are required to wear safety vests. “Roadside solicitors” include folks who collect donations for churches and charities etc, various sorts of vendors, and homeless and/or destitute persons seeking change and small assistance.

I noticed this safety vest phenomenon the very first day I arrived in town and thought is was some kind of fluke. But after seeing many folks wearing safety vests who appeared to be in the “homeless and/or destitute” category, I decided to Google around some. This is how I learned ALL folks seeking X on the side of Tampa city roadways were required to wear safety vests.

Some things:

– This law has been in effect since January 1, 2010.

– From what I can tell, people are required to purchase/provide their own vests.

– People are cited for not wearing vests.

– Further: “In Tampa, city codes say it’s OK for people to ask for help from motorists as long as the solicitor is over 18 and it’s daytime. They only can solicit drivers stopped at red lights and must get out of the road when traffic flow resumes.” (quote here)

– In the time that I have been here, which granted has only been a few days, I have noticed an overabundance of apparently homeless and/or destitute folks wearing safety vests. Put differently, of the roadside solicitors wearing safety vests that I have seen, few of them appear to be vendors and/or collecting for organizations.

This makes me wonder… Is this ordinance intended for safety? Or, is this ordinance intended to target and shame homeless and/or destitute folks? Both? Something else? I have been thinking about this a lot.

More here.


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