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  • Mark Rowlands

Good Morning, Atlantis!


I have become very attached to Miami. Both of my sons were born here, a couple of years apart. That probably doesn’t hurt. I never really settled anywhere until they came along. And now, thirteen years and counting – that’s longer than I have lived anywhere since – well, since I was their age. It feels like home. As much as anywhere has ever felt like home. When you come from the UK, you're not going to miss the horizontal rain and hail, or the icy damp that slowly eats its way into your bones. I do miss mountains, I suppose. Or hills. Any sort of gradient would be nice. But I’m quite happy to exchange daily ascents and descents for endless summer.


It’s not hard to love the weather and its trappings – the ocean and the beaches. But attachment slowly spreads and stretches. The sky-high grocery prices, the mercurial caprices of the drivers, the astonishing rudeness of large swathes of the populace: I regard all of these with great fondness. I don’t pick and mix Miami. I embrace it all. I have watched with something akin to paternal pride as the adolescent city in which I arrived in January 2007, has slowly evolved into something more mature, more substantial. Miami now has a recognizable downtown. It didn’t in 2007. There are even the nascent stirrings of an integrated public transport system, although I’m not holding my breath on that. All of this development has been driven by a gargantuan influx of foreign capital, especially from South America, but also Europe, east and west. And sometimes, in the evening when the sun grows long, and a margarita or two has been given a good home, I can almost convince myself of something: Miami is now too big to fail. It must be too big to fail. But when I wake up in the morning, I know this is not true.


I hate the morning. The morning is when I remember that Miami is, in essence, an affront to nature. In the morning, I remember that building a city on a coast that rarely peeks its head more than six feet above sea level in the middle of hurricane alley was probably not one of humanity’s better ideas. I don’t know if it’ll happen in my lifetime, because, quite frankly, I have no idea how long I have left. As the recently disgraced comedian, Louis C.K., once remarked, you never really know whether you’re in the middle of a healthy life or at the end of an unhealthier alternative. But, sometime soon – maybe not tomorrow, maybe not the day after, but soon – Miami is going under. At least, it will if we don’t seriously and rapidly amend our ways. In fact, even if we do seriously and rapidly amend our ways, it will too late for the 305 (not to mention to 754 and the 954).


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