Livin’ La Vida Loca in Miami

Oh shit, my blogging is all out of whack. I never wrote a recap of Miami…

My college bud J and I had a great time catching up in Miami. He flew in for less than 48 hours, but we did and saw a ton. And that’s kinda how he likes to roll. Several years ago, John and I met up with him in Austin for a 3-day weekend. We travel very well together: a lot of hanging out over meals, walking around, checking out parks, and then finding local food joints and music spots. Incidentally, J was telling me how this trip was oddly meant to be: in March, he had entered and won the NCAA bball office pool, and Duke won this year, so this last minute splurge was our little toast to Duke! Haha, who knew the alma mater would pay us back this way?

So Thursday night, he got in pretty late. We hit up a local bar and scarffed down uber greasy mac and cheese and other unhealthy bar food. Then we chatted all the way home. Eventually, he crashed but I was still wired, up til 4a!! The next morning, I was sooo tired but I was up at the crack of dawn doing work remotely. Some huge donor announcement where everyone at the school was freaking out for no damn reason. Seriously, I did my parts and then all morning long, while I was trying to pay attention in the sessions, the boss kept sending me text messages and this and that. I was getting so annoyed, again, with this feigned importance. 

The sessions wrapped around noon; I went back up to the room and then J was stressing about not working Friday afternoon. See? I told you we’re both fucking workaholics. I ended up taking a nap, bc I was so damn tired. And he was glad to squeeze in a few more hours of work. Finally, at like 5p, we were ready to hit up South Beach. Except that the front desk told us rush hour traffic across the bridge was no joke. Ugh! So instead, we decided to walk from the Financial District north towards the bridge (7 miles). We stopped at a park or two and then grabbed happy hour bites along the waterfront. The funny thing about J is that he works for a tech/software company, but he’s super low tech. Never once when we were hanging out did he ever bust out his Blackberry. It was initially a little weird considering phones are so damn ubiquitous in Silicon Valley, but after awhile, it was refreshing to actually have someone’s undivided attention. Wow, imagine that.

We talked a lot about work and life. He hates his work, and yet many years in, he’s still there doing patent law. He’s terribly unhappy, and the high stress and long hours have taken a toll: he appears thinner than the last time I saw him, and he looks tired. It really made me wonder: why is life such a goddamn conundrum for so many people? I feel like we’re all smart, driven, and resourceful individuals, and yet we just can’t seem to get this shit right. And while we procrastinate and flounder grinding through day to day, we only prolong the damage and self destruction. I know money is necessary for survival: it affords us security and flexibilty and freedom, plus so many material comforts. It’s critical, but how much and at what cost? Meanwhile time just keeps ticking…

I worry about my friend. At times, I listen to him and I see this miserable picture. He’s single: paid off his school loans, doesn’t have debt, no spouse/sig other, no kids. If ANYone could up and leave and try something entirely new, it seems he would be that person. But as he explains, being an attorney has exacerbated his already worrisome and neurotic nature. Working in law, he’s constantly planning against things going wrong, protecting for worst-case scenarios. Consequently, risk is now something that is scarier than ever to him, bc he has to zone in on it and obsess over it in his daily work. J has always had an enormously high threshold for pain, but somehow I feel like he’s nearing a tipping point. I am hopeful that he will break the cycle soon.

Other incidents in South Beach: we arrived around 7:30p. I threw off my shoes and walked on the beach, headed for the water. Aahh, so much warmer than back West. There were lots of hard bodies in SB. I think there was a CrossFit class going on also. Take it easy, meatheads. For dinner, we hit up a local Cuban chain restaurant, where I ordered a super tasty chicken special. The meat had been slow cooked for like 30 hrs. 

Interestingly, my entire time in Florida, I wanted to try Lyft, the Uber competitor. My buddy D recently used the service and loved it. He sent me a referral link with a $20 credit. I’ve never actually used Uber myself. I don’t like their vibe: the CEO is an asshole. I read something recently where he gave some inappropriate/lame response to an incident where a female passenger was driven somewhere remote and raped by the driver. So yeah, I was stoked to try Lyft and I figured having a buddy would be the perfect opportunity to give the service a try. Nope, J flat out refused on grounds that it was not legit and too risky. Yup, a total glimpse into what he had revealed earlier. No Lyft for me this time.

On Saturday, we got up early to hit up Vizcaya House and Gardens, some part-time home for a wealthy agriculture industrialist from a long time ago. I really like historic mansions with gardens. The architecture of this one felt a little on the creepy, decrepit side, but the property location was stellar: right there on the water. As I prepared to leave for the hotel then airport, I received a message that my flight was delayed 2 hours. Fine, we walked around a bit more and then instead of cabbing back to the hotel, we took the free Miami trolley. Yeah, we figured out the route and schedule NOT by looking shit up with our phones but by reading the posted schedules and guidelines at the busstop!! Kicking it old school.

The rest of the day was pretty long. The delayed flight was even MORE delayed (no explanations from AA and we sat on the tarmac forEVER), causing me to arrive in SFO too late to get Marty. Yup, another night with the sitter.

Overall though, Miami was a productive and fun trip. I learned a lot at the conference; I made some contacts; I got shit done; and we squeezed in a ton of fun activities. Oh, I almost forgot to give a shoutout to my bud E, who met up for dinner and drinks my very first night there. E and I met two years ago at the BlogHer conference. She runs the genius MommyMafia blog, which btw has taken off crazy in two very short years. E is originally from southern California, but she’s been in Miami for a decade plus (??) now. We’ve been in touch on and off since we first met (we met up for BlogHer last year in San Jose), so when I was on her turf, she was sweet enough to meet up for dinner at a Peruvian spot (where she was sweatin’ our waiter Ramses), and then she showed me around the famous Delano Hotel in South Beach. That’s where we sipped champagne sitting at a table IN the pool. I also admired the beautiful flowy white curtains in the hotel lobby and imagined that I was in the Ricky Martin video that was shot there years ago. :) It was so fun seeing E again. I can honestly say that the Vicky from a few years back would never have reached out to someone I’d met at an event and asked her to hang out. But I’m glad that I adopted some new game-changing practices from my yearlong sabbatical. We had a great time, and I hope the next time she’s in the Bay Area, she’ll hit me up!

As for my buddy J, we’ll see how things go for him at work over the next several months… Who knows, maybe he’ll surprise me like he did by agreeing to meet up last minute in Florida!

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