June 7, 2005

The Devil Lives in Miami

She stood at our office door announcing, "The devil lives in Miami!!" I burst out laughing, thinking...oh if we could just confine the devil to Miami that would be great. Instead I replied, "Sorry, he's everywhere, even under that big blue Wyoming sky!

Michelle O is a transplant to Miami and the kind of girl you just naturally like. She's also an excellent social worker who does her job well and loves her clients. Unfortunately she has had some very bad experiences here in Miami, everything from the DMV to the pizza guy. A week never ended without Michelle telling a distressing story. It was wearing her down. I don't know where she found those miserable people.

My friend Johanna had said many of the same things. But she was from Philadelphia, so I rebuked her and said "Of course people are just as nice here as in Philly." I should know, I came from there! She never bought that and I'm sure she is much happier living in N.C. working on her PhD, having shaken the dust of Miami from her sandals, hardly looking back!

Then I went to Philadelphia last week. The man sitting next to me in the train asked the conductor for specific directions for me. He said as we left the R1, "I think you might get the R2 on this track." A polite Asian boy abruptly turned, "Where are you going? Warminister? Oh I'll show you where to get off" A woman my age chimed in,"It will be here in four minutes" That was followed by a lady writer engaging me in a very interesting conversation about Irish geneologies. I was quite overwhelmed by this friendliness, and it was that way everywhere I went.

Hmm......maybe Michelle and Johanna were right, I was having second thoughts. Then my husband told me about taking the train in Miami. It was a first time experience, and not knowing where he was going he approached an ominous looking teen with pants way below his boxers. As he asked for some directions and the kid quickly responded, "Poppy, you stick with me, I'll take care of you!" I smiled when Jim told me the kid never left his side.

People are great in the City of Brotherly Love, and probably in Wyoming...but personally I still love Miami. I love the culture, I love the weather, and I love the blue, blue skies, and sunshine. The children are beautiful, the Cuban coffee is great and I love it that strangers greet one another with a Cuban kiss (kissing the air, barely touching cheeks). I hope Michell O will agree before she goes west for good!

And I still think the devil lives everywhere.

P.S. 6/27/05 - K. who is in training and out of the office most of the time dropped by the other day...he went to school in Philly and we often chat about that. Somehow it initiated a conversation about Miami, "These are the nastiest people here! I even worry when I eat fast food that people might even spit in the food!" Yikes!! On an up note, Michelle O came by and I asked, "Is Miami better since you got a better job, less stress?" She admitted it wasn't quite as bad, but she and her husband will go back to Wyoming to raise a family.

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