I hit South Beach running.
The Trashy Class
I met a European businesswoman several years ago in Manhattan. She had flown in from Paris and was about to continue on to Cartagena. She said she had booked a flight without a stop in Florida. Although she had business interests in Florida, she said she preferred to have her agents handle it rather than travel to Florida herself. Why? I asked. Because, she claimed, "Florida is full of trashy people. They disgust me. I don't like them."
Her bias against Floridians reminded me of the Arab attitude when Arabs dominated a large portion of Europe: they preferred to have their slaves and Jews handle their business in Europe. Europe was uncivilized, they thought, and its infidels were too vulgar. I didn't think too much of that European woman, not because of her remark about Florida, but because she insisted that Cleopatra was of African-Egyptian descent. She is a Euro-trashy lady, I thought.
I am somewhat trashy myself. I love being in Florida. I lived in South Miami Beach many years ago, when the Art Deco hotels were run down and occupied mostly by old folk and roaches. Old folks called me "the golden goy." North Beach was more popular with the younger set and mink-coated visitors back then. The run down areas of North Beach have been recently rehabilitated. The coast for miles above South Beach sports many new luxury developments, along with older, more or less affordable condominium complexes. Prices are in fact better north of South Beach, but you had better hurry up if you want to make a good deal and live the good life before the whole coast sinks into the Atlantic from the sheer weight of the swarm to get warm, or is flooded in biblical proportions.
South Beach was warm and cheap in the good old days, the late 60s and early 70s before the sewage backed up and the beach got really trashy. Visitors who had known me in Manhattan said the placid Floridian attitude I had assumed was evidence that I was a lot better off on South Beach than on the West Side. They recommended that I never leave Miami Beach, but I did. I returned a couple of times for vacations since then. But now I have relocated to Miami Beach because of a dream I had in 1997 - some time after pastel South Beach was touched up and became a world-class Kasbah replete with stunningly beautiful models.
I was in Miami in my dream, talking to a German real estate developer named Manfred Cieslik. We we're doing a big real estate deal on the beach. That's all. I felt good about it. I often remembered that dream. Later on I started watching CSI Miami every week, and the show may have subtly worked its allure, adding to my dream wish - perhaps the producers are using subliminal suggestions: move to Miami paradise now move to Miami paradise now move to Miami paradise now. Of course there are other crime-scene investigation shows. Las Vegas crime scenes are all right, but Las Vegas is much too crass and cold for my taste. Manhattan has its brainy appeal if you can stand the crowds, but New York crime scenes are gratuitously gory in my opinion.
Now that I am actually in Miami, Manfred has not shown up. But I am still very keen on Miami real estate. It's going faster than hotcakes, so fast that the laundries can barely keep up with the money velocity. I have a nice place picked out, in South Pointe. My tower has not been erected yet, so my main worry is that it will be sold out before I can make an aggressive bid with the help of a knowledgeable real estate broker. Yes, the unit I want is a bit pricey for me at this time. I am almost flat broke, have no income, and am three months away from sleeping on the beach if I do not get some money. But that is not an insurmountable problem, or issue, as they say, for there is always OPM (other people's money); nothing is impossible; one can make something out of nothing in paradise.
And Miami is definitely a paradise or paraiso, at least as far as many foreigners rich and poor are concerned. The new "world-class" city attracts not only the newly rich but people who desperately want to get rich quick. And there are other, less ambitious folk who just want to serve those for whom nothing is enough. Ambitious dishwashers, milkmen, and truck drivers have in fact risen, from barely speaking English, to fortunes valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Others have risen to high positions in local and national government. Today one usually has to speak Spanish to get a job in Miami. Sometimes it is better not to be a citizen, as many employer prefer immigrant workers. I was just turned down for a job, not because because I do not speak Spanish, but because I am a citizen. One of my neighbors, a student from France with a working visa, found two minimum-wage jobs right away and is doing an excellent job at them, although she is sometimes tardy because she has difficulty waking up after only four or less hours of sleep.
Miami's glittering attractions, some of which can be viewed weekly on CSI Miami, provide the fitting contrast that presents Miami as one of the most impoverished and violent-crime-ridden cities in the country. Yet for those of us who live here and the hundreds more who are flocking into the area on a daily basis, Miami is in fact the place to be, the ambiguous ground zero out of which the eclectic future of the United States shall, as the gap between rich and poor widens, proceed apace. Wherefore we speak about the "miamizacion" of the United States.
Cheap Lodging in a World-Class City
I have a bad habit that I am now breaking, the habit of wanting something nice, then picking something else out, usually because it is easier or cheaper or easier to get to, or simply not what I want. I mentioned the dream that brought me to Miami. Instead of going directly to Miami Beach, I flew to Ft. Lauderdale, where everything went to hell, starting with my arrival at the airport: I made a call from the baggage claim area and was told that my reservations for lodging had been cancelled because Hurricane Frances was due to arrive in two days. To make a miserable, engouging Ft. Lauderdale experience short, I wound up, seemingly by accident but probably by destiny, on South Beach, right smack dab on Washington Avenue and Espanola Way.
I walked around a bit after I checked in to an old Capone hideout, The Clay Hotel and Hostel. My first impression of South Beach? "South Beach is really trashy!" Of course I was used to Honolulu. Should I stay? Well, the South Pointe real estate on the far south end of South Beach is very, very attractive. And more importantly, the bare-bellied women of all sizes, shapes and colors are far more fabulous than the colorful but rigid towers at South Pointe. Manfred had not shown up for the deal - maybe he was delayed? I'd better stick around awhile, I thought, and see what I can make of Miami along with the rest of the people on the make.
After hunting for inexpensive, temporary lodging for two weeks, I found a cash-only deal, a hotel room that many tourists would pay triple the rate I am paying knowing that they would only be there for a week or so. I actually wanted something nicer; for instance, the nice little studio for which an agent for Chrisken Real Estate Management Company, founded by a pioneering South Beach redeveloper was asking $750 per month. I offered him a one-year lease: the first six months at $600; the second at $750 per month. I figured I would find work soon enough to make the rent, and enough money besides to have him to make an aggressive bid for a South Pointe condo.
"No," he said haughtily, as if Miami Beach had just been insulted by a low-ball offer, "Our terms are non-negotiable." "But it is out of season now," I said, "and you will wind up getting more this way." "No," he insisted, "We will get $750. This is a world-class city."
Wow, I thought, this is a world-class city! And, for your information, Chrisken is a world-class Miami company, and can be reached at 305-532-1600.
A nice Jewish landlord from New York got my business. He said a landlord has to be nuts to be in his business. He is a bit of a nut case, come to think of it. I could make a long list of the nutty things but I won't, because the rent is dirt cheap and he does make a sincere effort to keep the place up. The simple key to getting something something right away is to make him feel guilty. Just mention that something is needed right away; he will fly off the handle, then feel guilty about it and get things done. He owns several buildings in the area. My room is a block from the beach, a block from Lincoln Mall, a block from the Convention Center and Jackie Gleason Performing Arts Center, four blocks from the center of the Miami Beach Cultural District, which is home to the Miami Ballet Company, a brand new library, and the residential Artecity development amongst other attractive things.
Lincoln Road Mall used to be trashy and bohemian. It was fun for everyone, including starving artists and writers. The merchants liked it too, but they were going bankrupt. Today, upscaled Lincoln Road Mall competes with Ocean Drive as the virtually perfect place for the sophisticated epicures of the world to lead la dolce vita. There are a few relatively new luxury hotels along Collins Avenue near Lincoln Road, most notably Loews Hotel, which is credited by some with the most recent economic salvation of the area. Most of the older Art Deco high-rise and low-rise hotels have been renovated or are in the process of renovation: many shall be converted into condominiums, hotels or condo-hotels.
Owners of existing hotel properties are using condominium conversion to cash themselves out, hopefully for big capital gains, spreading the new burden of ownership on the small buyers. The selling parties sometimes take lucrative hotel management contracts as part of the conversion deal. The buyers will not necessarily occupy their hotel rooms for a certain period to time as do time-share buyers. For many investors, the conversion is just another investment vehicle on which they speculate for higher returns than other modes. Very few analysts today believe that the properties are being dumped by major holders onto individuals investors while the getting out is good, or that the new pool of money is inflating yet another real estate bubble. Relatively low interest rates, retiring baby boomers with bulging nest eggs, the Republican's stealthy supply-side program favoring the wealthy, the fall of the dollar that amounts to a deep discount for foreign buyers, and the dollar-flight from socialism in Latin America are some of the factors expected to hold the market up, especially on the high end, for some time to come.
Progress and Poverty in Paradise or Hell
Progress and poverty are in stark contrast in my transitional neighborhood. The entranceways of many tourist shops as well as the walkways between smaller hotels double as bathrooms and sleeping quarters for vagrants after business hours. A man with one leg and another man with no legs - probably veterans - get out of their wheelchairs and sleep in entranceways or on bus-stop benches at night. Tourists dole out money to aggressive panhandlers - many panhandlers come over from the mainland because the pickings are good. I have observed a man staking tourists and reported him to a policeman, but he was not interested in my report because he was busy talking to someone on his cellphone. The police did remove a man from the bus at Washington and Lincoln one evening, after the bus driver got off the bus, ran out into the street and flagged down a patrol car. He was a huge, wild-eyed man, sporting long dreadlocks, dressed in camouflage coveralls and carrying an enormous backpack from the bus. The man was not questioned. the police left and he went into the Cybercafe nearby where he proceeded to terrorize the patrons.
The poor fellow did not seem to know where he was - it was as if he had stepped out of a jungle into civilization. A foot patrolman was summoned; he ushered the man into the street and told him to keep moving. A drunken woman happened to be sprawled out on the sidewalk at the time: she had passed out; a stream of urine formed a small creek coming from between her legs - the patrolman walked around her to attend to business elsewhere. Tourists did not pay her much mind either, except to shake their heads.
The dreadlocked man was an alien to our South Beach neighborhood. We have our regulars, most of whom are simply too far gone to panhandle. For instance, the towering blond fellow who wears a blue caftan, darkened by sweat and grime. He is apparently harmless although his shouting alarms tourists who have not encountered him before. I listened into one of his outbursts one day: he was arguing with his superego, insisting that his caftan was "regulation issue." A sight tourists do gawk at is the deeply tanned, muscular man in pink high heels, dressed in a pink flowered dress, wearing a pink bonnet adorned with plastic fruit. He carries a large pink purse, in which he keeps his long-stemmed, pink-plastic champagne glass. He likes to hangout at Burger King, where he pours his soda into his champagne glass, renews the wide swath of red lipstick over his lips, and steps out for a smoke from time to time. He sleeps on the beach. He is usually clean, and appears to be happy.
Others are not so happy. They are beside themselves with grief and despair, moaning and crying and making gestures of profound hopelessness. One fellow who apparently had enough wits to get some public help - he wears his public identification card around his neck - is a real stinker, although the beach and its showers are a block away. He has lately been habituating a particular bus stop near the entrance of Lincoln Mall in the mornings. The stench is noticeable a block away. Those of us who are going downtown to work or to look for work, have learned to avoid the smell by going to the next bus stop. Yesterday morning, just as the prostitutes were going home from work, we found a man half-asleep on the bench at the next stop - he had his hand in his pants and was masturbating. The next bench was occupied by one of the wheelchair men and his baggage. Police cars were passing by, and a Hispanic woman wondered out loud why they did not do something about the neighborhood. I speculated with the usual cliche, that there was not much they could do since the Republicans kicked mentally ill people out of hospitals and the Democrats gave them more civil rights.
Policing South Pointe
Apparently the police can do something in elegant South Pointe, where I intend to live as soon as soon as my broker makes an aggressive offer. Or at least they try to do something. Three cops were recently suspended for allegedly beating up a man who was bounced out of the Opium Garden at 136 Collins. On December 9, 2004, the Miami Herald reported that a long-time resident said the improvements were "amazing", and "now we have an increased police presence." Furthermore, the paper reported that a new police substation will be built in South Pointe, a few blocks south of the main police station. "City of Miami Beach officials see an increased police presence as a way to sustain and enforce safety and order." The enforcement however is selective, since patrol cars are constantly present in my neighborhood a few blocks north, around Lincoln and Washington, yet the area is a troublesome mess - perhaps it is a designated "safe area" used to keep unsightly conduct away from the rest of the beach.
However that might be, South Pointe, the area south of Fifth, used to be so dangerous due to a lack of police enforcement that Miami residents avoided driving through it. But now - WOW! South Pointe is the high end of the world-class, South Beach luxury real estate market. In 1992, German investor Thomas Kramer bought up 35 acres on the south point; after squabbles with locals over the height of his planned towers and the like, Jorge Perez saved the day and bought Kramer out. Where people were once afraid to drive are no lodged the super-rich, and that's the place I want to be, and I thank the powers-that-be for the excellent examples being set for us all to aspire to, such as the Continuum South Tower, the Portofino Tower, and the older, Southpointe Tower. And now New York developer Ian Bruce has broken ground on the 38-story Continuum North Tower. The cabanas alone at the already completed Continuum South fetched $850,000, or $3,148 per square foot, which is, much to the amazement of a New York Times reporter, 4.5 times the price of Manhattan apartments! Jorge Perez, the man who bought out Kramer, will soon begin marketing another tower to be erected soon, called the Apogee. The starting price for a condo is $2.5 million. A penthouse will go for $15 million.
My South Pointe Mission
That's where my aggressive broker enters the picture. I want a unit in one of those last two high rises to be built, if not a unit in one of the existing towers. I will settle for a modest apartment for around $3 million, although I prefer a penthouse or something approaching it, something higher up with an ocean view. I envision myself in my rowboat-bed, waking up in the morning, looking out on the Atlantic as if I were at sea, turning on the ocean music, taking the oars on each side of my bed and doing my morning rowing exercise. Then I will get up and have my usual roll and coffee while studying, write another brilliant essay, then attend to business relative to the further application of My Three Memes. I shall have lunch on my 11-foot deep lanai, where I shall wave at the CSI Miami cameraman in the chopper - finally, after all these years, I might qualify for a Screen Actors Guild card.
I will also devote some time to charitable projects such as the establishment of free paperless libraries for the poor and homeless and for anyone else for that matter. The computer usage policies at the Miami-Dade Public Library are backwards, sometimes referred to as 'anal retentive,' although appreciated for what they do provide, still tend to unduly constrain personal access to the potentially revolutionary information tool to the upper classes, which is the antithesis of the reason that public libraries were established in this country with the help of such pioneers as Matthew Lyon, in contradistinction to the private libraries of the aristocrats, usually Federalists. 'Guests' and residents without identification or proof of address, for example, are not shown much Southern hospitality at the downtown Miami library: there is no paper or electronic sign-up schedule, hence they must crowd around two computers to get a number in order to access four 15-fifteen minute computers.
I shall also devote some time to public physical and mental hygiene by means of the establishment of large free public toilets, showers and bathhouses, perhaps in the basements of the paperless libraries. Public toilets were an important feature of Roman social life, a place to gossip and to discuss local news and politics at length; every citizen was welcome to sit in. Today one has to be a paying customer at the establishment in question to use the facilities: this morning I observed a security guard in suit and tie question a man in the restroom of an office building; the man admitted that his office was in the building across the street, hence the security guard reprimanded him and told him he was not welcome to use the facilities if he had no business in the building. I informed the guard that I was a customer of copy shop in his building, so he let me do my business. Again, such anal retentive policies on behalf of strictly commercial interests are unproductive in the final analysis.
After I move into my condo, I will convert my amazing critical ability into a positive force to save a few people if not humankind from negative attitudes. As for the vast estate, I will not own a bit of it: the foundation will own it and take care of all the dirty details. The only flow in my vision is what to do with the two spaces in the garage, since I do not want to drive. But what am I talking about! Think positive! My limos will be parked there - I hope the spaces are deep enough. My limos will pick my friends up at the airport, all of the friends who gave me a hand up no matter how rich or poor they might be. A foundation airplane will fly them in.
Our current Miami Beach mayor won office in part by opposing such huge developments, but he liked South Pointe when interviewed by the Miami Herald on October 26, 2004:
"It is hard for any mayor to claim that these one million dollar and two million dollar condos are bad things.... It is extraordinarily pretty down there below Fight Street."
Traversing the Continuum
If I were mayor, it would be even harder to complain about such things, especially if I were interested in higher offices in the private or government sector. Alas, I do not have time to hold political office. Still, who's to complain about South Pointe, even if it does have an 'e' on it? Hey, not me. I walk down there every Sunday and on holidays. I love it. That is the place meant for me to live. I feel sorry for the people who live there and are still not happy. A man nearly ran me down as he pulled his Mercedes into the Continuum on Thanksgiving Day. He did not seem to know that I existed, although I am six-foot tall and was in front of his car in broad daylight. He had an awful, painful and angry look on his face, as if someone had hit him with a hammer. What a shame, I thought, that he has all this to be thankful for and is so miserable. He reminded me of a movie I saw: an elegantly dressed woman got out of her limo, went into her luxurious Manhattan townhouse, walked through several elegantly appointed rooms into her huge bedroom, threw herself down on her four-poster bed and burst into tears. What? Hey, get some therapy, or find a new friend, like me, for instance - my few wealthy friends have called me "a therapeutic person."
As I was traversing the Continuum grounds to visit the pier nearby, a "beach bum" passed me by. He was pulling a large cart filled with an assortment of things which can best be described as junk. His dog was running out ahead. The man smiled broadly at me, tipped his straw hat, and said "Howdy." I said "howdy" right back, pointed at the Continuum tower, and said, "Pardner, your quarters are ready for you." He came right back with, "The first thing I'm gonna do is take a hot bath."
Well, times are tough for many people rich and poor, yet sometimes the rich have good reason to envy the smile of the beach bums. Anyway, who's to complain about South Pointe? Well, to be fair we should mention the criminals, the vagrants, and the decent and poor tenants who had to move away - their landlords must have made some capital gains on the properties involved. Where are the former 'undesirables', the ones in the way of development? No doubt a few still live in the old residential area nearby at much higher rents - it is a cute neighborhood. Who knows? Perhaps one old resident lives in one of new towers -nothing is impossible in Miami! Some are no doubt in cemeteries or in prison. Others moved to cheaper neighborhoods yet might be working two jobs to cover expenses. One or two of the homeless might be sleeping in doorways in my neighborhood.
North Beach Neighbors
A few survivors might be recovering homeless people at this time. Perhaps they have income from a job or from the dole, and are willing to sign a lease at the planned new Harding Village, a 46-unit apartment to give the homeless a hand up at the former Paradise Inn in North Beach. In that case we can be glad for them, as North Beach is quite nice. Alas, the existing North Beach residents do not want them there, especially across the street from the school. The Miami Herald publishes a Neighbors section for neighbors who what to know what is going on in their neighborhoods. On December 5, 2004, it was reported that Elena Freire, vice president of St. Joseph's Home and School Association protested against the progressive plan being implemented in her neighborhood without much notice, and implied that the prospective new residents were trash if not garbage:
"Our goal is to make the community aware of what is going on here," she said. "You don't want to wake up and find someone put a dumpster in your back yard. You want to know ahead of time."
St. Joseph, we recall, was declared Patron of the Universal Church by Pius IX in 1870, hence the virginal father of Jesus is the father of the numberless family of Catholics. Indeed, in 1889 Leo XIII declared Joseph to be the modern father of all Catholic families. Pius XI proclaimed Joseph the guardian spirit of the battle against Communism, as well as Patron of Social Justice. Pius XII instituted the Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker to compete with the Communist May Day celebration. Pius XII, whose delicate relationship with fascists and Nazis used to be a subject of great controversy, insisted that personal freedom depends on the proper functioning of three social institutions: family, private property, state. The last, the state, must not sacrifice the interests of Catholics to the common good nor cause them to act contrary to their consciences. Other popes as well as lay Catholics have gone so far as to claim that Joseph is the patron saint of the poor.
Richard Schindler, member of the Biscayne Beach Homeowner's Association, was more politically correct, in a Reaganomical sense, with his public assessment of the situation:
"While we are sympathetic to the plight of the homeless and mentally ill, we are more concerned with our safety, the safety of our children and elderly, and preserving the quality of life we have come to enjoy here in North Beach, as well as preserving our property values."
A choice! Not an echo!
Many property owners of all persuasions including welfare liberalism are sympathetic to the plight of property owners. Of course some (expletive deleted) liberals insist that the preservation of property values and the attitudes associated with the height of those values are in fact the major cause of the plight of homelessness and mentally illness. But have we not learned that, notwithstanding Lady Fortune's fickle touch, American individuals deserve what they have and that those who have are usually entitled by their virtue to get more? As for inheritance, if they have inherited their wealth, then they have inherited the genes that got that wealth hence are entitled to be rich. And have we not learned that those who have less deserve less, and are most likely to lose what they have, for the very good reason that poor people are supposed to be poor? We must have good and evil examples at both ends of the continuum, so that we may choose one or the other, and be satisfied with our lot.
As uncompromising Barry Goldwater said, rejecting the gray areas along the continuum, people should be absolutely certain they are making the right choice, and not be just another echo of the liberal consensus, which he ruptured: "A Choice, Not an Echo!" And, if economic competition is like warfare, as certain Harvard professors claim, Goldwater's statement about keeping our fortunes secure might be aptly paraphrased: "Extremism in the defense of our property is no vice! Moderation in the pursuit of our just distribution of property is no virtue!"
Incidentally I am a liberal. I want to free of a lot of things, especially war and poverty. I am also a welfare capitalist without capital at the moment - a welfare capitalist treats people well in order to get more out of them: people who treat me right are righteous; they're all right because they treat me right.
When it comes to real estate, I choose South Pointe. I am not about to start blaming social ills on real estate market movers like Jorge Perez of The Related Group, Jeff Morr of Majestic Properties, Craig Robins of Dacra, Pedro Martin of Terra International, Alessandro Ferretti of Wave Group Development's Artecity, Louise Sunshine of The Sunshine Group, and others - after providing thousands of people will jobs and homes, they are highly unlikely to heed the absurd claim that they are the cause of joblessness and homelessness. How absurd!
Since I am a late-late bloomer, hence do not have the financial wherewithal to make an aggressive bid at the moment, I must find a backer or a quick way to make a bundle. What better way to make a killing than the real estate business? Mind you that I already have many ways to make three bundles, and without killing anyone a tall. My Three Memes will do the job very nicely, bringing in a net income of several millions within three years. But I need investors or at least signed non-disclosure forms before letting those cats out of the bag. Wherefore I openly speak of real estate for now, instead of hyperealestate.
Seeking Aggressive Brokers
To my prosperous end I began my search for a knowledgeable and aggressive broker. The headline of a real estate article in one of the sidewalk papers struck my eye: 'Those Who Hesitate Are Lost - Serious Market Facts You Should Know'. I was reminded of Kierkegaard's analogy in Either/Or, of the indecisive captain who passes the point of no-return, therefore it is too late for him to steer the ship to the best destination in ethical terms - the artist makes no such choice, but sails for the sake of sailing. The author of the real estate article was none other than Ralph DeMartino, "one of the top 1.2% of realtors in the U.S.", member of the Master Brokers Forum - Miami Dade's top agents - and member of various real estate boards. Mr. DeMartino ran some numbers on the local market and came to the conclusion that the limited inventory is being rapidly exhausted and that most price negotiations are upward; wherefore the market is hot and will get hotter since we are almost fresh out of real estate.
"The smart buyers who want to buy," avers Mr. DeMartino, "decide to buy, then get associated with a knowledgeable realtor, they do their homework together, find their best choice and proceed with an aggressive offer to get that property under contract...."
If you have questions about real estate and want to get a piece of the action before the prices soar, contact Ralph DeMartino at Ocean International Realty, 305-695-1105. He is ideally located in North Beach, on Arthur Godfrey Boulevard, in case you are interested in the golden "corridor." I have invented a little theme for his company based on his article: "Get your real estate facts right at Ocean International." The negative one that came to mind, "Hesitators are Losers" is not advisable, although the fear factor is a great motivator.
Why, Ralph DeMartino might be my man, I speculated, and whipped off this message to him:
Dear Mr. DeMartino:
Your article, Those Who Hesitate are Lost, has haunted me since I read it, and I consequently thought of Kierkegaard's remarks in Either/Or, about the point of no return.
I have been distracted by the scenery for many years. I know I must make a move before it is too late, and I believe the real estate market is the best way to go.
I agree with your assessment of the market. I have noticed some anxiety about the possibility of inflation, yet I believe inflation and the fear of inflation might do more to bolster prices than deflate them, especially on the luxury end of the market.
Within two years, starting from scratch, I want to be a millionaire and to own a fine condominium in Miami. It appears to me that my best shot at that is to sell real estate.
As you said, "smart buyers who want to buy... get associated with a knowledgeable realtor." Your credentials look good to me, and I agree with your take on the market. Whether I am a smart buyer or not is something you might know, wherefore I hope we might get together for a chat, at your leisure of course. Please get back to me and I will call your office for an appointment.
David Arthur Walters
Moving up to South Pointe
I must be aggressive and follow up on my letter soon, drop in on him and push my way in front of his other clients before it is too late. On second thought, he is the one who should be calling me, for the commission on a South Pointe condo is prodigious! Sales is the highest paid profession, and what a lucrative sales business to get into! These Miami properties are literally selling themselves - realtors ought to consider themselves lucky to have real estate licenses to sell them!
Those were precisely my thoughts as I boarded the extended S bus downtown, destination Miami Beach. Alas, the air conditioning was broken; a very unpleasant aroma soon filled the bus as we pulled away. People came forward, vacating the extended rear end of the bus. El Stinko was on the bus! People grimaced, rolled their eyes, cursed under their breaths, held their noses - one man managed to open a ventilator on the roof, but the fresh air rushing in barely diluted the fetid atmosphere within. Liberalism is very much alive in Florida despite the right-wing advance: the man would have been thrown off the bus by the passengers in some parts of the world. No one was paying attention to the gleaming towers of Miami and the ocean liners as we barreled over the MacArthur Causeway. An older tourist woman vomited into a barf bag improvised by a stranger. Another man, getting off at the first stop over the causeway. exclaimed, "This is the most hellish bus ride I have ever been on!" During all the above, the bus driver hardly batted an eye let alone turned up her nose.
"I've got to move up fast and get some air, I've got to dance my way out of this," I told myself, pushing my nose into the crack of the window of the bus. " I need a big break right away. I'm going to the top and ask the big shots for a break. They certainly will not regret it!"