Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the weather down here is totally different than in New York. It’s like, a lot warmer; or as the old people down here call it, “Hot like those final moments of your seventh stroke where you think the warm hand of God may finally be taking you home.” (They’re flowery.)
When you meet someone in New York, the first two questions are always the same: Where are you from? and What do you do? Here, when you meet someone they start off with proclamations (not questions), and it’s always the same two things:
1. Leave town on Memorial Day weekend; and
2. You’re going to hate the summer.
The thing is, they all say it while kind of laughing. Like it’s a big inside joke about how hot it gets, and everyone who chooses to live here (them included) is at the butt of it. At its core, it’s nothing more than just another effed-up, southern love-hate relationship: In the summertime, Miami slaps you around with the backside of its humid hand. Then come winter, Miami apologizes and says it was just stressed because of a situation at the office, and it won’t happen again, and it loves you, let’s open a bottle of Rosé and let bygones be bygones. And you’re cool with it – until next summer.
Me? I’m not that worried. The way I see it, you’re getting double-dicked in NY. In the depths of winter, you can’t go buy a gallon of milk without a frosty breeze loosening a stream of snot down your face. Then, come summer, you get to hang out in the blistering subway stations, with 170% humidity. And not just regular humidity, but dirty, smelly humidity – like swimming in a pool with a bunch of strangers, except you KNOW that someone’s peed in it. And it’s the guy on the bench over there with one sneaker and a flag flying off his shopping cart. (Shout-out to homeless Asian guy at Grand Army Plaza station!)
But of course, every time I suggest this to a Miami resident (that I think I’ll be fine with the Miami summers) they laugh. And when they realize that I’m not joking, that laugh turns to anger. Like I’ve offended their righteous indignation; like I’m better than them somehow. One guy went so far as to tell me that people die in the summer. “It kills people,” he told me, with a wild look in his eye, talking about the heat as though it were imbued with a monstrous human soul: “The heat kills people.”
For now, though, the heat isn’t the problem. It’s the storms. Take last night for example. Around 3:00am, I awoke to a scream. I shot up in bed and yelled, “What?!” If I had had a bat, this is the point where I would have started swinging it wildly, but I had nothing, so instead I think I pawed my hands in the air a bit.
I looked over at Brooke. “Puppy scared me,” she said. “The big fraidy cat got scared from the thunder and jumped on my head.” I hadn’t noticed the thunder and lightening outside, but could tell it was rolling in quickly. I settled back down into bed, and just then there was another thunderous boom, and Brooke screamed again.
“Did Puppy jump on your head again?”
“Wasn’t he already on your head?”
“Is it really you that’s scared?”
Puppy had already moved to the foot of the bed, looking at Brooke like, “It’s a low-pressure system. Get over it.” But over the next half an hour, the thunder and lightening got worse and worse. Also, the windows of our apartment (and most apartments here) aren’t that thick. It’s not like they need double-insulated glass to keep out all the blustery winter winds. As a result, sounds come through a bit more clearly. Like, totally fucking in-your-face. Combine this with the lingering swaying feeling from having spent the entire previous day on a yacht out on the high seas (more on that below)*, and for about 10 minutes it felt as though we were in The Perfect Storm.
Finally, the storm passed and Brooke and I went back to sleep having made the resolution that we are out of here at the very first sign of a hurricane forming anywhere. We even resolved to leave for Japanese typhoons, just in case one were to get lost and make its way to Miami. But it’s like my father always said: There’s no shame in being scared – just don’t tell anyone you’re my son.
* It was fucking awesome, and exactly like in “CSI: Miami.” So much so, that I was kind of worried all day long that a dead body would surface right next to us and ruin all our fun. Luckily, we dodged that bullet. (But if there had been a dead body, and Horatio Caine had been there, he would have said, “This guy. Clearly. Did not dodge the bullet.”)