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Friday, March 04, 2005

An afternoon in Miami

I love flat-rate cab rides. There's no worry that the cabbie is going to drive you around town, pick up his dry cleaning and bag of meth, then drop you at your destination for an additional $75.

So, when I pulled up in front of the Hotel Victor on Miami's South Beach and fumbled for my cash, I was in a decent mood. A valet in a sharp white suit opened my door before I had a chance to ask for a receipt form the cabbie. He waited while I counted out the bills, asked me my name, and grabbed my bag. What I didn't knw was a hidden microphone on his lapel had broadcasted my name to he front desk where another man in a sharp suit and well-coifed hair was running my name through the computer. In the lobby, a large aquarium filled with jellyfish drew my interest. After a brief problem with the reservation, another man in a white suit and even-better-coifed hair deposited me in my room. It's a room that for one night will cost more than twice my entire hotel bill from my last trip to Vegas.

The plasma TV is nice, although I've somehow left it on TNT and one of Clint Eastwood's worst-ever films. It drove me out into the streets, where heavy bass thumps in the street on an after-sundown Friday night. Joggers run along the beack walk, a young couple draws from a joint as they walk, and a tattoo shop seems all-too inviting. Why, at the age of 31, I find myself wanting to quietly slip into the slop and have myself painted, I don't know. Call it a midlife crisis. I thought about growing a beard, too.

I didn't do either.

After checking in with Mrs. Otis and marvelling at how palm trees always make me feel a little more relaxed (ski lodges, poker rooms, and the mountains of North Carolina all have the same effect)I made my way back to the hotel. The Bat-Light that zipped back and forth across the hotel's tower was as impossible to miss as the double-d breasts on the bartendress that served me lunch (she was six feet tall and I still thought she might tip-over qand drench her pigtails in the bar slop).

If this party was supposed to be a big secret, it's not anymore. The Bat-Light gives it away. The symbol is familiar. Superman wore it on his chest. But with Superman finaly giving way to Kryptonite, a new superhero of sorts has co-opted the symbol. It's not his only symbol. He also wears the number 32.

Today we celebrate #32 turning 33.

And, for some reason, I'm on the guest list.

It's still early by South Beach standards. I'd suspect the harder-core of the revelers are just down downing thier first Starbucks of the day. So, I wait, wishing Clint Eastwood hadn't made this movie and and convinced Angela Bassett, Jeff Daniels, and Angelica Houston to participate.

There's an episode of Seinfeld in which somebody asks Kramer how they look. With almost a frightened look on his face, he can only offer, "Odd..."

I keep mutterinig that word over and over again.

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Rapid Eye Reality is the personal blog of writer Brad Willis, aka Otis.
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