Barbidoesmiami

How to Stay Sane in the City of No Shame


4 Comments

The cats of Miami Beach

heading for the cat thicket

Along the beach there live cats. Hundreds, maybe thousands of stray cats. Abandoned cats that bred and breed. Black ones, white ones, tiger stripes, patch-work, ginger, tabby, siamese, persian, sleek, fat, old, young, long haired and practically bald ones. They  hide in the brush of the dunes when its hot , and when at around five in the afternoon the cat ladies arrive with their bags of food, they appear. Dozens of them curling around  lonely old ladies with plastic shopping bags filled with cans and dry cat food. Each tends her own herd  and some can become quite proprietary, like catty, when anyone else tries feeding their felines.

Kiki and Leila and I have become such cat ladies. Several times a week we visit our own gaggle that congregate near the beach entrance at Collins Park. We’ve counted over 24 of them. We have a favorite. Leila calls her  Claire, since she’s perfectly white and quite girlie. She’s our cat. She comes when we arrive and sits with us and lets the girls stroke her. We bring her a can of soft meaty food while the other twenty something get dry stuff that K and L carefully distribute into several neat and even piles.

kiki and claire

“Can we have Claire, Mommy?” They ask each time. And every time I have to say, no, this cat wont like our candyland bachelor pad. She likes being outside with her friends. She’ll claw her way through all DJ Tiesto’s furniture. We’ll lose our small-fortune deposit….

leila and claire

“PLEEEAASSSE,”

“NO”.

And then there are  tears – the tears of disappointment at the crushed fantasy of having Claire at home, snuggling on their bed, playing with catnip toys, purring on their lap while watching TV.

oh claire

No, No, No, I don’t want another cat. I love cats. I love Claire too. But I do not want another cat. No more bags of litter, and changing trays. No more white hair on every black dress that I own. No, No, No.

We are, and will remain, Miami Beach cat ladies…

For now.

the poser

the cleanser

the fighter


4 Comments

look who came to visit…

one manatee, reaching to introduce herself to Kiki’s foot.

then there were four…

frolicking in Indian Creek, by our house…

friendly and oddly pre-historic…

s l o w  but equally interested in us…

the girls said “it was the best Earth Day thing that could have happened today.”

I noticed a plastic Publix bag drifting under water nearby and I prayed they wouldn’t mistake it for a large jelly fish and try to eat it…

Then a huge yacht came by, as they swam away and again I was aware how it easy it would be to hurt them, so laid back and cool, such a contrast against the speeding boat filled with tan girls in tiny bikinis, men with rippled chests, disco music blaring…

if I wanna make a change then every day is earth day… and the Gordon girls give thanks for the manatee…


1 Comment

rabid raccoons and rabbis

Thanksgiving dinner

phew.

It was fun and now its over. The last of the turkey was fed to the cats. and the raccoons, our guests have left, its quiet. Iona misses her friend Amanda and the twins are bummed, they love a full house, parties, action, and opportunities to dress up in glitzy gowns. Yes i said raccoons. And cats. Just up the street, at a large abandoned theater, there live a dozen homeless cats and four raccoons with their two raccundles. and every evening we collect our leftovers, get in the car, and park in the lot and i sneak out, weary of those either maternal or rabid raccons, and dump the food. Usually one tiger-striped cat with huge serious eyes walks out and sits right under our rolled down window. and stares. She stares us right down and we try to figure whether its a grateful stare, or a take-me- home-with-you stare, or a fuck-off-we-dont-need-your-food stare, or a I-remember-the-humans-who-abandoned-me-here-stare. or just a meditation stare before she tucks in. Then there’s the black alpha cat who always gets first dibs, and a ginger  one who lingers until there’s the invisble sign that she too can join the feast. Tonight one raccoon was eager, it may have been the liver laced, wine soaked, cranberry dotted gravy smell, and tiptoed like she was drunk in high heels across the beam from my headlights, dove into the food, found a large turkey bone heavy with meat and carried it, head held high as if she was afraid  to get her loot dirty, into the bushes where one youngster waited for her like a Tim Burton shadow against the white wall.

I have a hunch that this ritual of feeding cats and coons will be the sole reason my twins will finally fall in love with Miami.

Last night we held a small screening here, at our candy-land-bachelor-pad, of the movie that Roland, dear friend and godfather to all our kids, has made. This film follows three of his Bronx high school students over several years in their attempt to escape the ghetto  through writing poetry. The movie is a powerful and touching piece of work, which will be shown by PBS sometime next year. As all twenty of us sat quietly and watched and listened to loud, intense rapping and slamming, another, even louder noise, seeped in through the open windows. Alastair and I looked at each other. WTF? A street fight? On our ultra secure Aqua island? A spousal argument? The new neighbors?

Rowdier shouting and hooting competed with the rap poetry that echoed from Tiesto’s Bose sound system.

Words like: You cant have sex!!! Bounced from the street walls. And no masturbation!!!

I peeked outside and  through another open window across the street I saw ten young Hassidim men and their Rabbi sitting around the dinner table. The ten men cheered as if the Rabbi had just scored a goal.

As we finished Roland’s movie and ate a second Thanksgiving dinner, more loud and explicit sexual warnings about  the pre-marital relationship were delivered across the way, whether we liked it or not, as we wondered what was going on, how long it would last, and where it would lead. (Any explanations? )

Tomorrow is the day before Art Basel Miami launches into its week of over-the-top art events. Alastair and I will be blogging it all. Both here and at his new blog, Alastair Gordon, Off the Wall, so stay tuned for more from rabid Miami….

the godfather

roland, leila, evonne, turkey chef and tom