Friday, December 19, 2008

American Boy

Riding my bike home from work, Estelle's American Boy streaming into my brain via my Iphone, I get a sense of peace and serenity in the knowing that it's all gonna be alright. The Golden bomb of light setting before me over Biscayne Bay helps the zen moment encompass my being completely. I'm living proof that the recession is here. I may be suffering but I'm not doing too shabby. My credit is still intact, I haven't foreclosed on my investment properties or my main residence in Midtown condos. I have had to give up some luxuries and for the first time since i was 15 i am making do without a car. This is no big deal to anyone from any other country in the world or even someone from Manhattan but in Miami a car is a necessity since it is a city with a very spread out layout. Being an "American Boy" I realize how tied we are to our toys, our blackberry's, Iphone's, cars, the latest trend in clothing, etc. I always try to take the good out of the bad and it seems that there is a new dawn upon us, one where we are pushed to find a new way of living, of thinking, of consuming. A more conscious way, more awake, more in tuned to the earth and it's limited resources. A consciousness that at any moment, oil can run out or get too expensive and the shit can hit the fan, affecting all of us in every country, in the millions.

We are living a global recession. With that, comes a new, worldwide awareness that hate us or not, America is a keystone in the world economy, without us the rest of the bridge falls. To maintain that keystone's strength we must now think of alternate ways to consume, to put it simply, consume less and more wisely. Recycle more, trim our local and federal governments, trim the fat from our corporations and homes.

I am a victim of this recession. I am a gay, latino son of Cuban immigrants, a college graduate, a professional with a solid career. I am America. I produce and consume for America, paying my taxes along the way. I give to charities and help my fellow man whenever I can. I am the American Dream come true, what my parents risked all for leaving their homeland, just so I could get a piece of this "pie". Im not a victim in the way my Republican friends like to describe it as if I got in over my head with a bad loan because I was greedy. No, I invested in a condominium after 10 years of schrewd investment decisions and flipping properties. I didn't plan for the bubble to burst so quickly. Stuck with a duplex that won't sell, I now have my property taxes choking me to almost foreclosure until I can cash out on my duplex. I've had to take on a roommate to offset this added cost. No twice a month maid, no dining out except for special occasions, worst of all, no more 4 door, electric green, 2007 Jeep. The wonderfully unorganized City of Miami conveniently denied my property tax transfer relief because i left my move in date box empty. They, as a result can charge me the full tax value for my condo until the appeal date is set. That could take over 10 months to resolve. Government inefficiency at it's worst. The fact that I could lose my hard earned investment as a result of an empty box and now forced to pay $400 extra per month in the meantime, is as contrary to the purpose of government as it gets.

Giving up my Jeep forced me on to a scooter to get to work. That was a good plan until I got hit by a car and got a free ambulance ride to Jackson Trauma center with a concussion, scraped face and broken nose. The important thing is I survived and now ride my bike 5 miles each way to work. Since then i've healed from my accident, finally have my short term memory back, no more migraines and have lost a good 7 pounds, making me trimmer than I've ever been. The abs I've always wanted have finally arrived!

American's have "moxie". We will get through this. We just have to get off our comfortable asses and work together to find more creative, earth friendly solutions to survive a world with ever limited resources. Who knows maybe a new wave of Americans riding bike to work can cure our nation's obesity epidemic? It'd be nice to trim that fat. I was given a second chance at life and now for the first time since junior high school, I can ride my bike without handlebars and I feel lighter and freer than I have felt in a very long time. Cue music here:

Article on new wave of American's commuting via bicycle:



Eric, great read. I didn't realize you were so in over-your-head financially, especially with the property tax transfer. You'll get through this. Todo tiene su tiempo. :)
I'll see you in MIA in a few days and we can hang. (I've got my parent's good old reliable 1998 Nissan to drive around town in so I'll pick you up.) :)

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