Monday, April 11, 2011

Yeah, I'm from Miami, what about it?

You know I can't stand it when people knock my hometown.  I know it's not perfect, but it's perfect for me and the 2.5 million people who live here.  I recently went to a neighboring city and got a grimace from someone when I mentioned I was from Miami.  I know what he was thinking: "ewww Miami", like it was "ewww lima beans".  

Miami is beautiful and sexy.  It's one of the world's great cities, ranked 33rd in global cities according to Foreign Policy Magazine. They place us comfortably between Geneva and Bangkok. It's influence far outweighs its relative size, with just 2.5 million residents in Miami-Dade County. São Paulo, by comparison has 18 million residents and ranks 38th in global influence according to that survey.

What those numbers really tell us is what anyone who has ever slept with a Cuban in Miami already knows: that it's not all "hablando mierda" some things just have to be experienced to be understood. Miami's influence radiates far and wide in terms of culture, business and politics. I mean have you ever met anyone who has not heard of Miami?

I think of all the great cities that I've been to, New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Mexico City, they all have one thing in common: they have a sense of place.  Each exudes a confidence of identity. Paris might be the beautiful aloof girl, New York the rich, smart girl and San Francisco the quirky hippie girl wearing a sundress with no underwear, but Miami is the beautiful Latina who won't speak to you until you're formally introduced by her hot Cuban brother.  When she let's you in, Miami becomes whirlwind of salsa, Latin cuisine, Spanglish and cafecitos at 3AM. 

No, it's not the friendliest place in the world.  That doesn't stop 9.5 million people visiting every year. I'm convinced  that people who come here want to be treated bruskly by the hot 20 something hostess/model . They come to Miami to explore their masochistic fantasies and don't realize that all the "safe words" are in Spanish. So the abuse get's piled on, they go back to Kansas and tell their friends how bad the service was, and sure enough, those friends show up for the same treatment.  

You know I could go on about all the beauty here, the beaches, architecture, everglades. I could tell you that the people from each ethnic group contributes something unique to the city's makeup.  I could say that the fact that everyone does business in English but feel emotions in Spanish is what adds to it's unique character. Of course it's this and so many other things that make it so interesting, crazy, fun and exciting. 

Miami is a place where people have made something out of nothing. There was nothing here when my Great Grandfather arrived here from Alabama. Cubans arrived with little more than the few possessions they could carry in their bags, Haitians even less. Like magic, Miamians have created global success out of a swamp, a beach and an airport. It's the magic city.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's the End of the World

Tsunamis, riots, Obamacare, earthquakes, government shut-downs, Beck leaving Fox, all indicate one thing: it's the end of the World. Which is someways is anxiety inducing and in others a relief.  Several times in the last few months I have been confronted by individuals who see all this as a sign of the "end times."   For some it's a libertarian/Christian/Gun-toting utopia for others it's a total apocalypse that extinguishes all life.  

The "survivalist, NRA, Christian" types are very pleased with the idea of anarchy and chaos...because they will have guns and food hoarded so they will be able to do "God's Will" at the point of a gun. They will live high on the hog in their bunkers full of Velveeta, beef jerky and Twinkies and those of us who haven't seen the light and accepted JC as our personal savior will whither and starve. The world of medicare, interstate commerce, and NPR will devolve and whither. Only the righteous will survive in small pockets worshiping god and guns.  Sadly for these folks, their vision of apocalypse is a slow boring one, with progressive degradation over let's say 3 to 5 years. These are people who think Rome collapsed in 20 to 30 minutes and forget that Byzantium lasted for another 1000 years after the collapse of Rome. Who's to say, Mexico or Canada may last at least a few more decades after the "end of American Civilizaiton".  The "sack of Washington" may very well be done by angry Mexicans.  

The second group of "apocolyptians" are the cosmic types. The world will end in a puff of smoke sometime before Christmas and it'll be quick and painless.  I find this vision is a great one, because nothing can or needs to be done.  Basically you can just lay back, smoke pot, not pay your bills and nothing you do will matter. I mean if there's no future, why not post a sex video of yourself on the internet, it's not like you'll live long enough to regret it.  The two twenty-somethings who believe and told me this theory smoke a lot of pot and live at home and don't work.   Apocalyptic visions justifying upper-middle class ennui, that's rich. 

What's funny is both groups think I'm silly.  Living my little life, trying to make people laugh, earning my little paychecks. I mean why would I do matter? It's all going to end anyway.  I was asked: "what happens if the world ends the day after you send in your mortgage payment?" (That's funny coming from a stoner in his parent's basement). Another asked me: "if I had made good with Jesus and was I prepared for the end days?" Which was ironic because this was a client starting a new business. In the back of my head I could hear Cristy Lane singing One Day At A Time over the buzzing.

Does it really matter if the world is going to end?  I mean if you want to withdraw and live in a cave in the Idaho woods or in a man cave in the parents garage you're really saying you don't like the idea of the world at all.  Honestly I don't care. You can't change the world by waiting for it to end or hoping that it does, or worse, trying to speed up its demise.  Besides the world ends for all of us at some point doesn't it? Change the world by living in it, and be the best you know how to be......One Day at a Time....lalalala