There’s a beach we visit to listen to the buckets of dropping saltwater, our breeze-dulled murmurs, and grainy, muted footsteps. Our closest neighbor probably wouldn’t hear us yell, and our phones are barely functional. It is perfect.
There are other beaches we’ve visited, too. The ones wholly responsible for building a resort city, with a boardwalk to vacuum the thrilled visitors past a cycle of restaurants, neon beachwear stores, and various sellers of sugar and eventually onto a sandy destination. Should you ask, you might find that your beach neighbors have traveled even farther to be there, for all of it. To others, this is perfect.
There’s yet another type of beach we’ve visited. The ocean is muted by background noise, and there is no privacy. I am a tourist, and of course there are other tourists – I just can’t tell them apart. Why? The city of Miami and its kaleidoscope of people built Miami Beach, not the opposite. This, too, is perfect.
The waves, the breeze and the gulls conspire to quell my internal choir, and this is why I love Beach #1. But in Miami, an unusual thing happens: the people – the happiest versions of a world’s variety of people, playing toe-tapping Latin music or hip-hop, sitting too close to strangers while laughing and conversing in between bouts of blissful sprawling across a chair – combine to create the exact same effect.
#3, we will see you again soon.