Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mostly Miami

A continuing examination of the unique culture and customs of this Southern Florida city.

Miami time. When you're on Miami time, that means things don't start on time. This is one of the things about this Latin city that wounds my German soul. I was warned early on that I should show up to parties at least 30 minutes after the start time. This is not natural for me; right now I deal with it by getting ready to go, and the parking myself on the couch for 30 minutes to wait until I'm allowed to leave. This even applies to more planned events, in my experience. This week I went to my first concert at my new university which was, presumably, not the first concert ever stage there. The performers were excellent, and the hall was beautiful. But the organizers didn't seem quite so, well, organized. When I bought my ticket a half an hour before the concert started, they told me that they were running a little late with the soundcheck and that the house wasn't yet open. They opened the door ten minutes before the start, but they were still figuring out who should collect the tickets and where this should be done.

People kiss when arriving and leaving events. (Not at work, thank goodness.) This takes more coordination than one might expect, because I haven't quite figured out whether the on-the-cheek kind of kiss or the more in-the-air kind of kiss, and which people I'm supposed to kiss.

They eat late. I'm originally from the Midwest, where we eat the evening meal around 6pm. (What we call that evening meal is a whole other story.) When I lived in DC, it seemed like restaurants would get crowded around 7 -9pm. So, when I wanted to make a reservation at a nice restaurant for our anniversary, I reserved several weeks early, to get the 8pm time I wanted on a Friday night. I needn't have worried: when we arrived, the restaurant was mostly empty, and it wasn't until 10 pm, when we were leaving, that it was getting full.

I was going to spend the weekend thrifting and hanging out at the beach, but my plans changed quite suddenly today. At 1pm I figured out that the car was overheating, and Andrew helped me diagnose a malfunctioning radiator fan. At 2pm he bought a plane ticket, and he'll be arriving tonight for a two-day visit. This seems just a little absurd to me, but it's actually cheaper to fly him in than to take the car to the mechanic.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Last week I had a birthday, and as a gift to you all I arranged for a national holiday so that everyone could have the day off. You're welcome.

Andrew usually plans a day trip for my birthday. This year he had mixed success: both of the restaurants he had researched turned out to be closed and we had some car trouble. So the food was nothing extraordinary, but the serious clanking noise we heard turned out to be a piece of nonessential metal that had rusted off and gotten stuck in the wheel well. I was really glad that Andrew was around to take off the wheel and examine the situation. If it had happened on one of the weeks that he lives in Maryland, I would have had to use the ignore-it-and-hope-it-isn't-serious or the enrich-a-mechanic-being-paid-on-time-and-a-half approach. However, this year's birthday trip was quite a success when compared to last year, when we got stuck in traffic before getting on the Bay Bridge. We sat in traffic for a few hours, ate our picnic lunch in the car, and then turned around and went home. On top of that, I returned my gift from Andrew.

This year we drove to Naples, which is a town on the west coast of Florida and not (sadly) the Italian city known for pizza. I had heard that beaches on the west side of Florida were beautiful, and the sand did not disappoint. It was white, very soft, and the beaches were shallow and very long. Not that many people were around, and there were loads of shells for the beachcombers.

We saw a rainbow on our way home. It feels like Florida has an unusually large number of rainbows. I've seen at least a dozen since I moved here, but I can't figure out why there would be more here. Are the rainbows easier to spot because it's so flat here? Is it because the rainshowers are so isolated? Scientists, please help me figure this out.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

the new look

I gave myself a haircut last night.

This morning, when I style it, I thought it evoked a flapper bob.

Later, I realized I had turned myself into a Romulan.