This is just one of those moments I have to share…cause it was hilarious.
I get off the plane from Montreal to Miami after two hours of sleep and still recovering from working our farm through the most horrendous winter in recent history. I am told I have to take a SUPER FAST rail train, which is probably a half mile walk away, through the serpentine corridors of MIA – Miami International Airport – after a grueling 3 and a half hour plane ride where all I did was try not to drool on myself or the distracted businessman when I feel asleep. I love travelling – but I hate flying. Not DOING anything for hours on end makes me restless and easily irritated.
Disembarking in Miami is a visceral experience. The climate change is almost too much for the few seconds. I could feel my entire body soaking up the sun which was just outside the strange birth like canal they have us walk through to get into the airport. OK I admit it, I find airports pretty creepy. There is no airport, except maybe the African ones in Conakry or Boke, that I have ever liked. Those didn’t have walls. They make me tired and angry.
I’m an energetically sensitive person, and airports are places where everyone is in a rush to get somewhere. There is no real “enjoy the journey”, as humans are possibly at their worse when travelling. Tired, bedraggled overwrought and frustrated humans form endless cattle slaughter like line ups, only to end up having to take off your belt, shoes change necklace, wedding rings, hair thingies…whatever. Get xrayed by an angry looking man with a magic wand in his hand and then get redressed, all the while stressing that your holding up the line from the others who didn’t pass through looking like a hippie making all the customs people triple check me for pot. Seriously..? I’m not a dumb hippie 🙂
Even the guy who has no particular job but to look at your boarding pass after security, waving his dreadlocks prpudly looked at my hippie skirt an dmy guitar and said
“eh mon, I just wanna sit back withchoo and smoke a fatty and play some toooons…”, he smiles at me.
Upon arriving in Miami we are ushered out of the plane through some weird artsy tunnel that makes me think of a birth canal the way it is all weirdly painted and stuff. Then I realized this was INTENTIONAL. Who does that? Walls laden with some bank doinmg a series visual advert on the tunnel walls finally declaring declaring EMERGINING INTO A NEW WORLD WITH “_____” BANK NAME. I don’t even remember the name of the Bank – that’s how stupid this ad was. Suddenly POOF! You’re out in the middle of golden star studded fish floors an dfish art and things on the walls and hanging from teh cieling. I reminded me of a big terrible museum full of soul-less art. It’s the most nondescript ambivalent shit I have ever seen, and we are SURROUNDED by it. My mind begins to wonder what it is I should expect after coming out of life on a 22 acre horse-farm.
Suddenly I am bombarded with advertisements, and smells and people, and pushy people and eye avoiding people and busy hurried and harassed people. I get pushed around a little as I try to manage two enormous bags and a guitar. I am running like a penguin up to moving sidewalks to get to the rental car place, to which I have to then take a train to get to. In fact I discover it is a fast moving monorail train. My stomach doesn’;t feel so good. I am tired, lost, alone, disoriented and my hair has gone suddenly terribly fuzzy – … I remember thinking “I MUST look like a Calgon commercial…”
I remember I didn’t pack a brush.
Now I am in the rental car line-up, again we are set up like a cattle field. I am listening to the incomprehensible banter of the people in front of me and behind me. I can’t identify their language. That’s weird. I have a little “stand in line” game I play to keep my mind from going insane, and that is to identify people’s accents or dialects. I have traveled allot, and I kinda get a kick out of this. But for whatever reason, I couldn’t understand or figure any of it out. Not even the continent. In the past the hardest to identify are ALL the french dialects. I mean, french in Quebec, other parts of Canada, and in Africa and Haiti and Switzerland are all SO different, they could almost be considered their own separate languages.
I finally arrive at “Vincent”, and stout and funny very black man with a wide open smile and honest eyes. I’m relieved.
He sees my name and all of a sudden he is practicing his french on me…
“Mahree-Jowsaaay Braww…” he says, drawing out the fact that he didn’t call me HOSAY which of course would mean I was a Hispanic man. This has happened repeatedly to me but that’s OK.
“I speak 4 languages fluently”, says the smiling black face and gentle eyes.
“Wow – that’s amazing”, I smiled at him.
“I like when I have the chance to practice.
“Tu sais – si tu ne l’utilise pas – tu le perdreras”. And he smiled and winked.
Oy – If you don’t use it you loose it”
I JUST LEFT QUEBEC.
Apparently God DOES have a sense of humour.
So, after much friendly francophone banter, Vincent and I part ways, with a kiss on my hand (…it was adorable) and a friendly wave of his co-workers. I felt like I had entered the Wonderful World of Disney. I was motioned left some half kilometer from the counter and to an elevator to the first level. Hauling my enormous gear, guitar, knapsack, suitcase etc… dragging behind me panting like a wild animal I am bleary eyed by the time I get to a very friendly fresh-faced young rental agent speaking with another woman who welcome me and says in assumption…
“Are you here for a mini van ma’am?” She asked friendly and compassionate.
OK I have to admit it..I was insulted. It was ALL ego folks. But she was right. I looked like a bedraggled middle aged mom just hauling gear just heading up a gaggle of kids and red faced husband. I realize I have looked this way for a few well earned years.
“Um, No”, I said, handing her my contract, “I believe my husband reserved a convertible”, I said smiling at the woman. The agent looked down at the contract, and the random woman standing t her left asked me
“You’re here alone…no kids?”, like somehow she couldn’t believe it because I looked so bad.
“Yup”, I said a little smugly now, rocking on my heels.
She smiled and winked at me conspiratorially, like we had a girl’s club or something.
Yup, a few days completely alone without my husband or kids.
Her smile widened. Not that we don’t love our husbands, but time alone to a mother is an extremely precious commodity.
The agent turned and smiled pointing in a completely different direction away from the mini vans and said,
“well then, please go ahead and pick any one of these that you want”.
There in front me me stood a line up of absolutely awesome sports cars. ALL convertibles. I don’t really know or care about cars I felt a tingle of excitement kick away my fatigue and I took my time, savoring the amazing choice I had before me.
Sometimes choices are hard and ponderous. And then, sometimes they’re just fun.
“Pick any one?”, I said over my shoulder still unbelieving.
“Yes ma’am, keys are in there. let me know and I’ll show you how to work the convertible”.
I have always had a soft spot for all things black, not in a morose way, but because black is a colour that doesn’t mess around. It can’t be, in any way, mistaken for something that it is not. Black is black. I like how it just is what it is. Plus, black is sexy.
So, I picked a sexy black Chrysler 200 with a fully automatic convertible roof.
Oh holy cow did I have fun with that roof! The weather between Miami and the Keys changed about 6 times and I kept getting lost, so i had to put it up and down and up an d down. It tucked into the truck automatically like the Bat mobile It was just awesome. AND all the radio stations in the Keys don’t suck like they do here in Montreal. The rain came down in torrential buckets one second and the other it was sunny and clear and then there would be more rain. It was really confused and unpredictable. And something in me refused to drive with the roof up if it was sunny. I had just lived through Hell Winter 2013, and I was not going to waste one bloody second of sunshine on any roof. Oh Hell no.
Let me explain now that getting lost in the Keyes takes a special kind of talent since there is only one way in and one way out through the Everglades. Absolutely NO ONE walks the Everglades, sober that is. But I manged to get lost. Allot in fact. And this caused me to have great adventures 🙂 I met a very nice Hispanic girl at a seven eleven who couldn’t tell me where the highway was. At all. That was cool. Then outside a woman who told me she was a fortune teller, I asked if she could foresee where I would find the highway, she giggled and gave me great directions. Predictable Win?
These encounters set the stage for the rest of my wacky vacation, meeting people in unlikely places, and sharing wisdom and wonderment. laughs and parts of which I will share with you.
In this picture,
This was actually taken after my husband joined me and I looked much happier and relaxed…not quite as “cat on a hot tin roof”
Convertibles are fun. 🙂
It’s good to be silly sometimes.