I was asked a question by a fairly recent Miami to New York transplant regarding my living situation. Out at a bar, the inquiry went something like this: "you're an intelligent person, can I ask you a question?" (Of course!, says me) "Why do you stay in Miami?"
I was sort of shocked, as anyone would be. It's like asking someone one of these questions: you're pretty, why do you have such short hair? You're not poor, why do drive a P.O.S. car? You're not a douchebag, so why do you live in Brooklyn? Doesn't the original question assume that no one intelligent stays in Miami? Are all the people who work, reproduce, grow old, fall in love, take jobs here, are all of them retards? Do they have no common sense? What's wrong with you? With me?
I answered kindly, since I am kind. Miami has a great burgeoning art scene, it's relaxing to live here, it's beautiful here... After a minute, I noted that living in New York was stressful for me, I felt always at the bottom of some pile of people who look better on paper. Since I'm honest, and honestly a bitch, I also I made sure to mention that New York isn't that cool anymore. It's not that edgy, and all in all, it's not for me.
It's hard to be nice when someone questions your life choices. It somewhat assumes theirs are the wisest. I believe that I live a way more interesting life in Miami than I would if I were running from the Subway to work to the bodega to the "next great" band concert to home to back again. I don't want to dis on New York. I love my New York friends, I love eating there, being there for a few days, but it's a hard lifestyle. You get to see your friends once a week if you're lucky. In Miami, I get to see my friends every single day of the week. You see more buildings that animals or plants. That was hard for me living in Manhattan or Brooklyn. It was isolating, and it's difficult to feel isolated, for me at least.
Today, I spent the most lovely day at the beach. The water was just warm enough, the sun and clouds were just so that everything looked clearer out there. The Atlantic's hues were more defined than usual. If I could take this day and pass it around, I feel it would be a lot less intelligent to leave Miami than to stay here. Everyone's priorities are different and it's not that I am completely without ambition. I just don't think New York's THE place to be. Tell me you're moving to Beirut and I'm impressed, but New York, here, please, take my yawn.
A few years ago, one of my best girl friends, who doesn't live in Miami, was casually discussing people, specifically what makes people interesting. And it was what they do, you know, what they're doing. It's not interesting just to live in an "interesting" place, but what you do in that place where you live that is impressive. Anyway, I think every place is interesting in its own way. Adventure is interesting. So are people who follow the unusual, who uncover new desires by following old ones. Those who move to Moab to collect rocks, live in a trailer in New Mexico making art, learn to drum in Morocco.
I am interested in enjoying that bit of life that's been given to me in a way that is peaceful and enriching through the senses in reference to the intellect. Smart people are pretty easy to come by and they are unimpressive if they're not good, giving, and growing. People living in New York are plentiful, but people living in New York that are rabidly interesting are equal in number to those living elsewhere the world that are as well. Maybe I seem like a slacker or complacent because I live here, but I love it here. It's not that I wouldn't move again, because I might, but while I'm here, I'm going to suck all the wonder from it. J'aime Miami, bro.