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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Miami: The last Coca-Cola in the Desert

I learned this wonderful Cuban expression which to me encapsulates the essence of Miamians. The saying in Spanish is: "se cree que es el último  Coca-Cola in el desierto" which directly translated means: "he thinks he is last Coca-Cola in the desert"   Which really means something like "he(or she) thinks he's all that".  I like that saying because to me it says things on so many levels about the conceit that exists in Miami among its residents. 

Anyone in the desert might be happy with the last drop of water.   No, not something as mundane as H2O would do for Miamians, but a sweet, gassy, brown concoction with a famous trademarked label attached.  Not "all that and a bag of chips", no for Miami it's: "all that and a can of Pringles."  What's interesting is we Miamians really think we're all that, a bag of chips, fries with shake and the value meal all rolled into one hot tropical package. Literally, the last Coke in the desert. 

In my daily experience I see the most completely self absorbed populace on the face of the planet.  Cart left in the middle of the aisle at the supermarket while person chats on cell phone: check. Two guys talking to each other from different cars, windows down, on the 95 expressway, driving 35 miles an hour(I guess so they could hear each other); saw it this morning.  Cell phone conversation during mass on Christmas Eve, during the sermon...yeah every year. Cell phone conversations anywhere, anytime, any volume. Lowest rate of volunteerism in the nation...yeah that's us: Miami. 

Miami is the only place where you can sit at a table with ten people and ALL ten are texting or on Facebook  communicating simultaneously to someone else at a table for ten in another restaurant ten blocks away. Clearly whatever you have to say, in situ, is nowhere near as important as the overdone steak at some other restaurant, gossip or dinner invite for tomorrow.  Miami is not the place for fun in the now....it's the place for potential fun that is just one text, ten blocks, fifteen minutes and a velvet rope away.  Miamians are forever chasing that rainbow to the "ultimate" experience. At the end of that texting rainbow the pot of "amazing party" gold is just out of elusive reach.   It's like that movie "Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist", eventually the texts will lead you to an awesome Fluffy Bunny concert. 

I don't know if it's the high rates of attractiveness, scarcity of mirrors (there are not a lot of them) or just that the members of the 1% like to play here, the self absorption is epidemic.  It's a kind of willful ignorance that despite high rates of poverty, illiteracy and corruption that people breezily turn a blind eye to. It's like we're all  Sarah Palin: confident, pretty, looking great in a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti platforms, what the hell else matters when you're wearing great shoes? I mean who couldn't conquer the world if they were wearing a $700 pump? Or live in an incredibly sexy town? So like that last drink in the desert, no not water, but the sweet one in the sexy curvy bottle. Miami: Pensamos que somos la ultima Coca-Cola en el desierto. We just think we are the last Coke in the desert.