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A New Englishman in New York Part 10: Spring Break In Miami

by Tom Greaney
5 April 2011 7 Comments

A trip down South to the white heat of Miami sees our lone Englishman get dressed head-to-toe in Linen, confused for a member of staff and aurally assaulted by a drug fiend...

Miami Heat

 

I’m heading down to Florida. There is a wedding we have to attend. But first we are visiting my girlfriend’s friend’s place in South Beach for a few days. I’m excited for the trip. Miami, Naples, South Beach. It’s all very glamorous.

Taxi to JFK for the flight. Waiting in departures. The girlfriend takes a trip to the bathroom. Sat alone. This is a good moment. Things are alright. Life’s not all bad. Then I feel something on my shoulder. Look down. Oh no. Look up. Birds. Birds inside the terminal. I’ve just been dropped on by a bird.

The girlfriend returns. She looks at me covered in excrement.

“Tom, Seriously?”

Not so glamourous now.

 

 

Conversation

 

I’ve foolishly got myself into a conversation with someone. I’m sat by the pool at the friend’s house and this fella has started talking to me. I thought staring at my book was enough to get rid of him but he is gabbing on. Worse still he is talking to me about drugs. Few things make me more uncomfortable than talking to someone about drugs. Sex maybe. Their belief in God. But this chap has singled me out as some sort of kindred spirit. He is here for the big music festival. Some sort of trance based thing. He is moaning to me about how his group of friends don’t want to party like maniacs all weekend. He’s one of those people that don’t need anyone else for a conversation.

“Last night we went to bed at 4? I mean 4. Come on. It’s vacay.”

Vacay. One of the worst words out there.

I try to nod and sympathise.

He continues

“Yeah and last night I was all like do you guys wanna go skiing? And they were like no.”

This is where my problem with drug conversation manifests itself. I don’t know the lingo. Thinking back now he clearly was referring to cocaine. At the time I said

“Oh. Are they not the outdoorsy types of people?”

 

The Jacket

I’m in Naples, Florida. For a wedding. Not mine. Girlfriend’s friend. The ceremony is on the beach. But there is an event the night before. Now, the Americans do something called a “Rehearsal Dinner.” Now this isn’t something we seem to do in Great Britain. From my experience a wedding in the UK consists of turning up in the afternoon, quick ceremony in a marquee, overcooked chicken, a disco, the end. But in America there is a push towards making a bigger event out of it. Fair enough. Hence the rehearsal dinner.

At one point I’m stood alone. A man in a pink jacket, handkerchief in his breast pocket and slicked back hair from the 80’s, turns to me and says. “I’ll get two champagnes.”

So it’s the night of the rehearsal dinner. I’ve been worried for weeks. The unknown. My girlfriend has picked out an outfit for me, much in the same way you would a teddy bear or a eunuch. It’s not really me. Linen Shirt. Linen Trousers. Michael Bolton. I’m sceptical. I’m concerned it is not formal enough. The girlfriend does some research and assures me it is perfect. Fine. I want to fit in. I never feel comfortable at these sorts of things. I don’t fit in.

We pull up to the Country Club where the dinner is. Country Club. Alarm bells right? Walk in. Shit. Everyone is wearing a jacket and tie. There are about 200 people there. So that’s about 100 men in jackets and me.

Doing the rounds. Shaking hands. Getting looked at up and down. Judgement. Judgment. Judgement. All I’ve got in my head is the inherently racist. “Tom, you’re British, you are better than these people.”

It’s not enough though. At one point I’m stood alone. A man in a pink jacket, handkerchief in his breast pocket and slicked back hair from the 80’s, turns to me and says. “I’ll get two champagnes.”

I look at him.

“Pardon?”

“I’ll get two champagnes.”

He. He thinks I’m a waiter.

“Ummm.”

It’s simple isn’t it? Explain. Say my girlfriend dresses me. Tell him I’ve never been to a rehearsal dinner before. Point out that I’m British. But I say nothing.

The slick dick, picks up some plates, hands them to me and says…

“Oh and take these plates would you.”

I take the plates. Nod. Now fit in. I’m a waiter. Now I fit in.

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

Neil Ruston 12:33 pm, 5-Apr-2011

You have to laugh at the American grammar - "I'll get two champagnes" means, to me, that he was offering to go and fetch two glasses of bubbly - one for you and one for himself. He was, thus, making a move on you :)

CD 6:52 pm, 5-Apr-2011

I'm with Neil on this one. Although Greaney, you do fetch a KILLER glass of bubbly.

Stuart Webb 7:16 pm, 5-Apr-2011

Lol that was brilliant. Nothing better than standing out from the crowd Tom.

Andy B in Shanghai 6:16 pm, 10-Apr-2011

Tom, you're long gone here but you're still killing me with these. You went to a stranger's wedding and let your girlfriend dress you. Why. Why. Remember the thing about coming home from the club and finding those peeps in your house. Am I the angel on your shoulder or the devil, I dunno. On another note, there was a split in the teacher's room today. An unamed local teacher was disputing that ducks fly. Despite the scientific fact of the matter being a click away, the room actually divided 50-50 over it. Maybe I'm the one who needs to ask myself 'why.'

sylvia holtzman 9:12 pm, 10-Apr-2011

In case you are not aware there are plans for a wedding that certainly exceed any you might attend. I am sure it will be a role model for many an English wedding. Not exactly what you write.

Tom 9:53 am, 30-May-2011

I always enjoy your articles Tom. If only you had treated the Merkin to some good old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon when he commanded you to fetch champagne though...

TK McKenzie 5:56 pm, 28-Jun-2014

Hysterical! It's as if I'm reading my own thoughts (as written by a much better writer than myself). At least you have an excuse for feeling so out-of-place, these people are actually my countrymen. It wasn't until I studied in Britain that I finally felt at home. I suppose that's what happens when one's raised by an Anglophile. Many thanks for the laughs.

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