Folks gather on barstools in towns like Everglades City to gripe about the Miccosukee, or in places like Belle Glade to gripe about the Seminoles. They rail about the money casinos rake in and the taxes the State of Florida will never see, which is a way of lamenting the money they will never see.
As a member of the Akwesasne Kaniahkehake nation, I’m here to tell you casino money doesn’t affect the average Indian. I’m not about to tell hard-drinking white farmers or migrant Spanish workers or the blacks of Clewiston’s Little Harlem that there’s no money train fueled by native blood, no tax-free ride, no scholarships, and no fistfuls of cash, but I will tell you. Just like off the rez, money is reserved for a few. The rest of us just work.
I missed the chance to use the cliché phrase “six-hundred-pound-Gorilla":
That’s Florida’s problem. Once you have a destination city, it becomes the six-hundred-pound gorilla speaking for the rest of the state. I’m from Syracuse, central New York, and I know how folks from New York City dismiss life outside the five boroughs. Miamians are the same, forgetting there’s a whole state attached their multicultural soup which is better classified as deep south than urban center.
Each year, Syracuse vies with Seattle for the highest number of cloudy days in the US. Appropriate that I moved to the Sunshine State.
Different approach to the opening:
When I was in grade school, dad took mom, my sister, and me along on one of his work conferences, the only way we could afford a vacation on South Beach. I haven't thought about it much since then. Looking back, the jokes my sister and mom made about the many men cruising my tall, raven-haired, blue-eyed father have clicked into place.
My second trip to Florida was my first trip to Walt Disney World, and more importantly my first makeout session, with a Spanish girl named Larissa.
Neither experience sold me on Florida. As much as I loved visiting my girlfriend’s family in Miami while we attended Syracuse University, I never saw it as a place to live.
When I first moved here, my friend Amanda told me, “Sometimes Miami feels like a giant party, and it's your fault if you're missing it.” That’s stuck with me over the years.
Unless you’re going out (preferably someplace with waiting involved, be it waiting in lines behind velvet ropes, or with people waiting on your table, or waiting for the buzz to kick in) with fast friends wearing outfits that reveal a tad too much, Miami feels like a giant party you weren’t invited to.