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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Miami Refugees

There's a pasty young man from Wisconsin who spends all day smoking cigarettes in front of my door. He lives in the unit next door, bunking up with another guy.From the sound of it they are both very hetero. The pasty guy throws his cigarettes into the planter which I clean up.  Three times in the last year there have been eviction notices on his door, but he seems to catch up with the rent. 

A friend of mind has a newly minted law degree. He's brilliant, funny, and outgoing but can't find a job, although he's been looking for over a year. Soon he'll be looking nationally "for anything he can find."

I know a couple who used to live in the 20th floor of a very exclusive building. They now live in close quarters in a nice hotel in Boca where one of them is the manager which is rent free. It's not high-flying but it's stable, which is what is so hard to find here in South Florida.It required them to move almost 50 miles away from their previous life in Miami. One of them commutes to Miami everyday. 

In their eyes I can see that endless optimism that comes from living in America. That somehow a door will open and that they will achieve their dreams of stability, affordable luxuries and of better times ahead. I can also see the quiet desperation of young people who now moving into their late 20s and early 30s who are feeling the oppression of debt, fear of not finding work and living on the edge well past the age that you should be. 

So many of us are digging out of the "great recession" in slow steady increments. I got laid off twice in the course of a few months just three years ago.  I'm seeing signs of improvement near my home. Two construction sites within three blocks of my house, also there are signs of prosperity among many of my friends. In the adjacent wealthy neighborhood of Morningside several very large homes are being turned in mansions with new additions that look to be well over 1000 square feet. "Trickle down" much?

So will these be the end of the "lost years" where our salaries, homes, investments all took a nose dive and we're now beginning to catch up? I hope so. I'm tired of seeing refugees in front of my door.