Things’ve gotten so crazy on South Beach that, as a city that’s technically separate from Miami (I’m not sure how these things work), they’ve declared a state of emergency and implemented an 8 p.m. curfew.
Which is cool.
Because while I don’t have my thumb on the pulse of everything going on in Miami’s business district, I don’t think any business is really thriving with spring break. Maybe hotels and AirBnB, places that are hosting the visitors, but I’m willing to bet that a lot of the money that these guests pay to stay here is then funneled right back into repairing the damage that they cause, cleaning up the messes.
Maybe cleaning services are making a killing. Window repair services.
The “state of emergency” thing gets thrown around so often in South Florida that it doesn’t really register to our ear as anything more than the acknowledgment that there’s something objectively annoying is going on. Most of the time a state of emergency is invoked by the governor because of weather situations, a hurricane or a tropical storm, but, often enough, it’s cuzza shit like this: people getting fucked up and throwing things at windows. En masse.
It is what it is.
But this pairs up with a couple experiences I just recently had, on both Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day.
I should mention, first of all, that I work seven days a week. Three at the college and four at the bar. And thus, at the end of the day, I’m very precious about my personal time. I feel entitled to it. I feel wrongheadedly entitled to being able to spend those free hours exactly how and where I want to. Also, even though my life’s a clusterfuck, the only way I manage to get things done is by adhereing to a pretty rigid routine.
That routine involves Decompression Visits to local bars.
If anything disrupts the routine, I’m fucked.
I get disoriented, huffy, angry.
And on both St. Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s Day, even though there was nothing pressing that I was trying to accomplish by going to one of my local bars in the evening (nothing I really needed to write, nothing I really needed to read), I was–like the Queen herself–”incandescent” with, not rage, but irritation, plain petulant annoyance, to see that there were all these fuckin’ people at the bars where I hang out.
Nobody appeared to really be picking anyone up. They were just standing around, drinking, being lame.
But because they were just standing around being lame, I couldn’t get a seat anywhere. Or, if I got a seat, there’d be some stranger drunkenly coming up to my shoulder, trying to place an order, getting rowdy with thier their crew.
And so I’d leave. Leave and be angry.
I’ve come to realize that, if I feel so possessive of my haunts, I should move to a small town where the stools are more plentiful. Fewer butts to compete with.
(Another thing that’s worked as a constant reminder, incidentally, that this weekend, like the previous weekend and the one to follow, is in fact spring break is that, no matter where I am, no matter which coffee shop or restaurant or bar, I look around and think, “Everyone here is incredibly attractive.” Then I realize they’re out here with their long-planned beach physiques, their lips recently injected, hairlines recently beckoned to the fore…)
Here’s something that inhibits me about moving to a smaller commuity, though: on any given quiet Thursday night, or Tuesday or Friday or whatever, I know that I would look around at the placidity of my surroundings and think, “Fuck. I bet something interesting’s going on in Miami. In all those big cities out there.”
And yet, at the same time, I know that I’ve never really participated in those big city events. I’ve never wanted to go to the farmers market, or the Fair, or the big art show or car show or boat show or whatever it is that’s congesting the traffic, the air, the restaurants of Miami on a given Saturday.
In fact, on those handful of weeknights when I was visiting my high school girlfriend in Gainesville, FL, where the population is fairly small and mostly collegiate, I felt kinda creeped out by the openness of it at night. Looking up at the sky, it was nice to see stars, but a little disquieting to see that every building seemed to end at the fourth floor. That everything was made of brick. The architecture so uniform.
I ask myself why I don’t leave Miami then answere by saying, “All my friends are here. My family is here.” And then I ask myself how often I see them. The answer: “Rarely.” My principal relationships, with the exception of Bob & Lynda and my roommate Laz, are conducted virtually at this point. We speak on Zoom and Instagram, if at all.
I ask myself what keeps me here, in this shitshow. This fucking nightmare city, Miami.
And I answer, sincerely, “Cuz it’s mine.”