Barbidoesmiami

How to Stay Sane in the City of No Shame

I Don’t Want To Go Outside

7 Comments

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I don’t want to go outside. It’s too hot, ten minutes is the max before sweat starts pouring down my back and I feel faint. But it’s not that, the heat is superficial compared to the chaos around me. Our small suburban neighborhood, one of the few left on the beach that is still of mid-century proportions – small lots, small houses, parents pushing baby prams, pulling dogs, unsupervised toddlers riding bikes down the middle of the street, self-appointed seniors in safety vests waving at cars on short-cuts to slow down.

But they are all inside too. Post Irma. Post evacuation.

The only ones out are the county cleanup crews and Jewish families on their way to temple, walking to the other side of Surfside, across from Saks at Bal Harbour Shops. It’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah. They’re all dressed up in their best togs and move with determination, as if nothing can stop them. Nothing has changed. As if they are not picking a path through brown mounds of devastated nature that have been dragged out of each and every yard, into the street to be collected by whom? To be taken where? Is there enough to make us a new planet? I wonder. I fantasize.

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Inside, at my computer, I wage war with my landlord and his Baby Huey property manager. They say that disasters bring out the best in people, adversity brings them together. Not so with our landlord, all the way in Hawaii, acting like we’re annoying guests who overstayed their welcome and now have the audacity to ask for things like boarding up the house — why should he protect our possessions? How about trying to protect your 2.5 million property? I ask, but since the house did not blow away, this seems like a rhetorical question to him. Hindsight, as always, being the argument of the obtuse.

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I drained the pool. I sucked the hose like I was stealing gasoline, and funneled the green, slimy water into the lake behind the house. This worked until the level of the pool was lower than that of the high-tide bay. Science I thought, wishing it were a scam and I could blame the Chinese. The remaining water sits about a foot deep, a putrid breeding ground for mosquitos. When I ask what the owner wants to do about this and the 60ft tall palm tree that is top heavy with coconuts and leaning dangerously over the fence, Baby Huey writes me e-mails the likes of Trump Tweets:

“… don’t create extra work and problems [for us].”

 Seriously?!

The girls, back at school, after the Irma-Cat5-coming-right-at-you and YOU WILL DIE news flashes, the closures, evacuations, cancelled flights, power outages, are asked by their teachers “did you have a nice vacation?” I guess some of them follow their students on social media and our escape to Milford looked too idyllic by the Miami-Dade criteria of hurricane evacuation anguish.

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Oh Miami. It’s not even October and you’ve already worn me out. I count the days to June, when I can leave and not come back. Never live through another hurricane. Never again be told that I’m a bummer when I bring up climate change during a dinner party while water floods the streets below us.

Never again feel like a stranger, a misfit in a place that is alien to me in its upside-down culture of Whatever. Where gravitas and context and consequence are the lexicon of Debbie Downer and her tribe of party poopers. Where everything I try to do feels like grasping at a hologram as people shake their heads and say: “What did you expect? This is Miami! Why don’t you just let it go. Life’s a beach, just have fun.”

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But the sand on the beach burns the soles of my feet. The ocean water is strangely warm and filled with hurricane debris and plastic – bags, cups, straws, lighters, bottles – and surfers are coming down with nasty infections. Two more hurricanes passed by Miami Beach, a few hundred miles out in the Atlantic. Barbuda, Dominica, St.Maarten/Martin, Tortola, St.John, Vieques, Puerto Rica, Cuba, the Keys and Houston lie destroyed. People are homeless. Cultures gone…

I don’t want to go outside.

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Author: barbidoesmiami

Barbi is a stupid model, fashion designer, writer about women and beauty, repurposeur of ocean plastic garbage into jewelry, mover from milford to miami, mother of iona kiki and leila, lover of alastair

7 thoughts on “I Don’t Want To Go Outside

  1. Bravo!! So good to see your blog again … please, more to come..?

  2. I have been unkind to Florida a few times in my writings but never with such eloquence and such sincerity. I truly feel your pain, Barbara. A great (if painful) post.

  3. Thrilled to see your blog appear on my computer once again. I so enjoy reading them and have missed that opportunity. Sorry for the problems you are incurring with your home and all of the devastation surrounding you. Look forward to seeing you back in Milford.

  4. I could not imagine what you returned to when you went back to Miami after your event in Milford (which I hope went really well)!! Well, you certainly expressed your feelings splendidly in this blog entry. Cannot wait until you move back up North! We miss you guys!! Hugs…..Vicki

  5. Yes. Real images from the ground and the right and humane reactions. From the gut. Scarier than the destruction, the abdication of many who could help, but who hide because they can.

  6. Piercing words like sharp-edged debris flying by us. I’m not in Miami but your words transported me as I learn about yet another national disaster where the hand of man is denied by many. Through Francesca Belloumini, I am hoping to meet you in NY when the time is right. We share some not so common interests regarding the environment, architecture and the resolve to seek out solutions. You’re a gifted writer reflecting on the human condition as impacted by our environment. Looking forward to reading much more of your work.
    Thank you, Carolyn Ancona Crook, Partner, Weston Wright Architects http://www.westonwrightarchitects.com 🌿

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