Oh, Miami. You’ve earned your right to the “Sunny Place, Shady People” slogan. You’ve got an incredible combo of gorgeous beaches, a plethora of Hispanic food, and even a bath-salts-consuming face-eating zombie under your belt. You’re quite the place. And in my seventeen years of residency, I’ve learned many a lessons from your gruesome awesomeness.
1. Good drivers are rare.
No, seriously. Between the insane taxi drivers, the non-existent blinkers, and the crazily diverse demographic of underprivileged people who were awarded licenses for no clear justification, driving is a fucking trip! Watch out.
2. You’ll probably get hit by a motor vehicle at some point if you stay long enough.
Twice. Once on rollerblades, once on my skateboard. Neither stopped to see if I was alive. shocker.
3. Your cafe con leche is the shit.
No comment necessary. I’m already dreading this breakup.
4. So is every other edible/drinkable Cuban item.
Whether its guarapo, deep fried empanadas, or a classic pan con bistek, Cuban food is a party in your mouth.
5. There’s no city anthem, but there is Pitbull.
If you can’t get down and shake your ass to some brilliantly lyrical reggaeton (Don Omar, Wisin y Yandel, Daddy Yankee, just to name a few), then you’re either a JAP and can’t dance much anyways, or you didn’t actually grow up here. (By the way, Jews can dance, if you’ve been to a Mitzvah, you know this. But there is a whole separate class of them that rather stand away from the dance floor and frown down upon your American Apparel leggings and thrifty cargo boots while you twerk to Gasolina.)
6. Twerking is a way of life.
Okay, that might be extreme, but if you live here, you’ve either observed or willingly taken part in the quadriceps strengthening island dance whilst out at Purdy Lounge or regretfully, Finnegans.
7. If you’re a woman, you will be groped.
I don’t advise strutting your stuff down Washington Avenue past a crowded Cameo in your stretchy Lululemon tights around the midnight hour. I won’t elaborate, just take the advice.
8. Whole Foods is a shit show.
Okay, so apparently this over priced organic haven is developing this reputation all across the map, but seeing as it’s pretty much the only health food store on The Beach (Fresh Market, you aight) this place is a zoo. Between stolen iPhones, psychotic parking lot antics, and your friendly pachouli wearing hippies, you’re guaranteed to enjoy your gluten free cookies in a paradox of emotions.
9. 80% of your big time yoga teachers are full fledged pot heads.
While you’re blissfully basking in the amazingness of your savasana after Hot Yoga, your instructor is taking a shortcut to samadhi and toking it up in the bathroom. Sorry to let the cat out of the bag Miami Yoga Community.
10. Your beach is glorious.
With its crystal blue and eighty five degrees of perfect, this ocean is bound to be one of the most beautiful that I’ve ever seen. Heck, I’ll take the jellyfish and the sharks if I can bake on this lovely island for a few hours everyday.
11. Being heartbroken here sucks.
Okay, being heartbroken anywhere sucks. But when you’re constantly being harassed and hollered at on your tearful walk home, it’s easy to lose a little faith in humanity.
12. You’ll have many a bikes stolen.
You mean to tell me that the local Mexican papi down the street bought that Fuji Altamira with the electric pink crossbar? Puuuhhhlease. And I’m not saying he stole it, but I’m suggesting that he could’ve purchased it for fifty bucks to support someone’s crack habit…
Whether its pot, Molly, cocaine, or some good ol’ Special K if you’re feeling ballsy, you know a dealer or know someone who does. You’ve also seen a handful of overdoses and/or arrests because of said narcotics. Hopefully you’ve concluded by now that drugs really do not facilitate any sort of healthy balanced lifestyle and you’ve had the full realization that you’re much better off without them.
14. Community is everything.
In such a seemingly shallow and fake city, finding a close-knit group of like-minded loving people really saves your ass. You’ll be grateful for these connections and miss them terribly when you’re away.
15. You’ll realize how strong you are.
Whether its learning how to navigate around scooters during Memorial Day weekend, understanding as much Spanglish as possible, discovering how to deal with belligerent drunks in the wee hours while you get morning coffee, or getting way too many parking tickets, you’ll be a master of emotional clarity and you will be able to deal with high-strung situations. Sometimes it takes leaving to know just how well you can “cope with crazy”.
Miami is an insanely bizarre, cluster-fuck of a place. But it is also a beautiful, hot, sub-tropic paradise. And while I can’t say growing up here has been terribly easy, I can say that it’s been worth it. I might not speak so fondly of you, Miami, but I will indeed, rep the the 305 till I die.