Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Panic At The Clevelander

The view from the rooftop of the Clevelander set like a swank 80’s movie scene. Clientele mixed from dark skinned French bombshells to Caucasian broughams, you didn’t have to fit it- Miami did it for you. Blake, my host for the stay in South Beach, was nowhere to be found. I either had the choice of finding him and sticking tightly to him, or making the breathtaking base jump into a social oblivion of Spring Breakers from around the globe.

Retreating back to a sofa Blake and I were just at, with hopes I’d run into him, a group of guys & gals had already occupied it. Sitting at the edge of the couch, I made a small gesture I was just going to sit and text for a moment. A tall European woman from the group gestured back that it was ok. Turning before I could receive the "ok" from the European woman I flipped open my phone. Yes, I have a flip phone and love it. It draws more attention than polka dots on plaid and doesn't occupy every second of my livelihood with email alerts. Thought to say something to the group for entertainment, but couldn’t tell if they spoke English or not- my thoughts tunneled to my phone. When in doubt, text. I shot a sentence to Blake just to get a feel for where he was... if even near South Beach. This could be awhile.

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing better than getting lost in a tropical climate filled with travelers from around the world, liquor flowing like KRS-ONE, and a dance floor the size of a gymnasium- it just never struck me that I'd be fending by myself throughout the duration of this trip. Meh, at worst I get chops for creating my own scenario- might as well start with Euro woman right behind me. 

I make a quick turn towards her to make sure I wasn't intruding on their sofa space, she again gave me the ok. "Excuse me, I'm curious, where are you all from?"- Horrible opener, please don't ever use this. It gets you nowhere unless you actually have something to follow it with. I was feeling venturous at the moment with really not a thing to lose but time until my flight departed at 6am in several hours, so what of it. "We're from Boston." answered the European woman... not so European. And all of a sudden it clicked. From the looks of her crew I had made a total sweeping judgement. Euro woman was sitting with 4 other people; an asian guy with quaffed hair and shades on looking like he was coasting off kind bud, 2 asian women dressed in threads that could qualify for a charity gala or vip section at a rock concert, and then the last woman who kinda gave it away- racially ambiguous and smiley sitting in the corner with no intention to speak much but just to simply wave and smile. 

"So you go to Harvard" I said. Euro woman went dumbstruck looking back to her friends. Shit, perhaps I had totally pigeon-holed this people, weirded them out and now they were going to seek retribution by- pause, the worst isn't close to the worst I can imagine. There is no such thing as failure in socializing, only learning moments. "Did you see us earlier, or over hear us talking?" she responded. "After you said Boston, it struck me that you all went to Harvard- or at least that's how you know each other"I said.

Still perplexed, "Ok , how did you know that?". I edged my position on the couch from back-turned to slightly turned toward the group to respond. It was too easy, so easy that explaining it to them would prove more a task than guessing their college. "Well, look at you all- this might sound crass, but there really aren't too many interracial circles of friends in Miami. Colombians hangout with Colombians, the French hangout with the French, etc. Whereas with your group, you look like you're only brought together by either a company or a college. You could be a group of friends from high school, but what're the chances you've stuck together 'til 21 and willing to meet each other in Miami for spring break?" Ahem, I've already said too much- but for good reason. The way Euro woman turned towards me was almost as if she'd never been contended in years, dawned the title like Jon Bones Jones, and wasn't willing to let this one slip by her. She looked as if she had to prove me wrong. 

"Ok... ok... But there're almost a dozen colleges we could've been from in Boston-" she retorted. I cut her off "Yeeeeaah, but where else are ya comin' from? BC? Nope. None of you have Boston accents- at least from what I've heard- and BC is mostly comprised of locals to the east coast. Also, their is an eire of confidence with your group. Less than half of you are drinking, you're not looking to jeopardize your future any worse than it looks at the moment, annnnd- well, that's it." I staved away from telling them that they're the only group of people at the Clevelander that look like they wouldn't ditch each other. Miami is comprised of individuals constantly breaking and reforming about- perfect for meeting people, exchanging numbers, and escaping your culture for a moment. These kids looked like the New X-Men, wouldn't break away from the circle even in the face of certain death or chaotic evil.

Euro woman and I went on to guess each others names, spar with wit, and converse for the next half hour- too long, keep in mind, this is at the biggest nightclub on South Beach with clientele zooming in & out like central station. An hour at the Clevelander passes by like a montage from Rocky. Blake and I have been known to step into the club and walk out by the time the sun is coming up. Caution: enter the Clevelander on a Friday, dance with a beautiful woman and chat afterwards, next thing you know it's Thursday, you've missed your flight and lost your job. By the end of the conversation I though I had already missed my flight, we bid adieu and marched separate ways into the night. Blake and I would meet up later, I'd introduce ourselves to a group of Indian women from Tennessee who thought me to be Indian as well- just didn't have the heart to break it to them later on that I wasn't. Simple omission.

Back to LeBlanc's pad, phone now full of foreign area codes and texts that would vie for Texts-From-Last-Night's top ten, there was a mere 1 hour of rest to be had before I had to get on the road and catch my 6am flight back to Minneapolis. 

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