I’m used to the absurd news that my home-state of Florida produces. And I’m particularly fine with living in the Mecca of Ridiculousness that is South Florida.
This is probably because I’ve never lived anywhere else, as it was painfully pointed out to me by a wealthy and worldly gay man who was dressed in an unfortunate gingham pattern worthy of a lumberjack. The parts of his face that weren’t botox-injected dropped when he learn that I didn’t emigrate from somewhere interesting.
I tried desperately to change the subject, but it was useless. He had just droned on about how he was three-quarters this type of Anglo and one-fourth that type of White and lived in Amsterdam and then moved to Berlin, before he started summering in the Hamptons and wintering in Los Angeles and now he was here, in his new hometown.
But before I could ask him another question to keep him talking (so I could refill my plate with goodies from the free food spread) he asked me where I was from. I’m sure I could have lied, as it is customary at events held in my city, but for some reason, I surrendered to my truth.
“I’m from here,” I said.
And immediately hated myself for it.
How old was I? I’m from here sounded like I was worried he was going to report me to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, so I immediately followed it with the more appropriate, but still very honest, “I’m from Miami.”
Unsurprisingly, he was surprised. Or maybe his eyebrows were permanently like that and I hadn’t noticed.
He tried to hide his disappointment with “But you lived somewhere else? Like when you went away to college?”
My heart sank. “No, I went to school here too.” And then I just walked away. There was no recovery from that.
Unless I happened to have my passport on me, which only would’ve made things worse, as I would’ve screamed “Look!” after pointing at each stamp and “You see?” after turning each page. And anyway, the only thing that would’ve proved was that I actually had been somewhere, but only for a little while.
While loading up on free wine at the bar, I started thinking about my relationship with my hometown and began making a mental list of why I had never left her.
The list on the pro-side was something like this:
- I love her,
- she’s beautiful (when she gets dressed up),
- she can cook,
- she can throw a mean party and
- Gloria Estefan lives here.
But, when I made the contrasting list, I made an important realization…
My hometown is the equivalent of a hot-mess of a girlfriend that gets shit-faced drunk at your boss’ wedding, gets in a fist-fight with your co-worker, spits at the bartender and pukes inside the bride and groom’s limo. Leaving you to utter the expected and unappreciated phrase, “She’s not always like this.”
Miami is a lot like this in that she’s a little embarrassing sometimes.
I’m a little more on edge about her behavior these days because, well, it’s wedding season. Memorial Weekend is known to be a problematic time for her. This is the weekend when police officers like to kill people waiting to get into Mansion and regular, every day people turn into zombies and chew off the faces of homeless people.
I feel the stare of the country on us, just waiting, salivating for Miami to take off her top and run through a Taco Bell. But mostly, I hear the music. That familiar duuuunnn-duuun.
Just when I thought we were clear, Katharine the Great White Shark has busted a U-turn and is heading back our way. It’s not that I think she’s going to eat the tourists on Miami Beach this weekend. No. She’s a shark, not a shark playing the role of Jaws. It’s that I’m convinced that if she doesn’t get out of these waters, some dip-shit fishing off of his jet-ski near Elliot Key is going to catch her and then try to sell her to a Sedano’s butcher from the back of his Mazda truck. And when her last ping is located somewhere between Westchester and Sweetwater, the county government will declare martial law until the monstrous “land shark” is located and subdued.
Because that’s the stuff that happens here. In my hometown. My one true love. Miami.