Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bullshitters I Have Known

I returned home from South Beach this afternoon, and with all that implies. Yes it was warm and sunny there. Yes it was 55 degrees and partly cloudy in Streeterville when I returned. Yes I spent outrageous sums of money, ate in restaurants for days, lounged by the pool, read a mystery novel, ran on the beach, and served as witness to some of the most outrageous bullshit you have ever heard. The sky is overcast and gray at the moment, and Lake Michigan does not look nearly so lovely as the Atlantic Ocean under sunny skies at 82 degrees. Still, the view from the 14th floor is not so bad.

There is a lot of bullshit running loose in the world, but somehow places like South Beach breed a boatload of it. I'd just like to share a bit of it with you today. It helps me, and perhaps amuses me a bit to let others know the degree to which much of humanity is scoring so highly on the B.S.ometer.

Babs and I went for a long walk yesterday. After a brief stop in one of the seeming millions of Starbucks, we encountered a sign that read Open House. We looked at one another and after a consult, decided, "Hey, why not? I'd like to look at a condo on a high floor in what is known as "South of Fifth" in South Beach." Apparently South of Fifth was at one time the only area of South Beach where jews were allowed to live. Then it just became a rundown, seedy area of South Beach. Now it has become a booming new area filled with exclusive condos, with very "exclusive" prices. Without further ado, we wandered into a real estate office to get someone to show us said property. The pretentious real estate lady in the office took one look at us and decided that we were most certainly not going to see said property. I believe it was an ocean view apartment that was selling for something on the order of $6 million. That's right, $6 million smackers. There was a note in some of the literature that if you bought one of the last available units in this building they would throw in a free Lambourghini. My B.S.ometer is still off the scale on this operation.

This lady showed us various units for sale all over the area known as "South of Fifth." They started at about $1 million and went up from there. The killer is that they were not that large. Units the size of my spot overlooking Lake Michigan on the 14th floor were easily $2.5 million. Furthermore, anyone who follows the news knows that real estate in certain locations, Southern California, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and yes Miami is tanking. The real estate lady in question had the chutzpah to deny that she was having trouble selling this stuff. Who in their right mind would pay that much for that little? B.S. reading of 15.5 on a 10 point scale there. Oh there are some who would, mind you. I believe the saying goes, "A fool and his money are soon parted." I have to remind you here of the gentleman mentioned in my last posting who bragged about paying $12000/year in property taxes, and who lived in one of the buildings in "South of Fifth." I don't believe he had an ocean view either. He justified this fact by telling us, "At night the ocean is just blackness. A city view is better." I saw where the gentleman in question lived. A city view from there means that he has a view of the port of Miami and lots of big ugly ships and cranes and assorted ship loading and unloading equipment, with the skyline of the City of Miami in the distance. B.S.ometer reading of 12.2 on the 10 point scale there.

Ah but we have barely scratched the surface of B.S.ville yet. I have to tell you about the Queen of B.S., whom Babs and I encountered at Happy Hour last evening in the hotel. Before heading out for dinner last evening, Babs and I decided to go out back to the outdoors restaurant and bar at the hotel. When we got there, a lady with a small doglet was ensconced at the bar, eating a salad and drinking Chardonnay. The doglet was a yipper and was demanding food from the salad. I believe said doglet received quail eggs for his demands. "Yip! Yip! Yip!" "Jeeesus! Can ya shut that mutt up?" Never said that last part, but thought it loudly.

Anyway, the lady in question, whom we shall call ummm, Sally, was a very entertaining lady, quite the extraordinnaire. We sat and drank two glasses of wine and chatted with her for about an hour. In that time, we were told how Sally used to sing with a band, used to hang out at CBGB in New York, once kissed Joey Ramone, had seen the Ramones at least 25 times, used to be an actress, used to be a ballet dancer, stopped just short of getting a PhD in psychology and had written a book about why people have sex change operations, but had it rejected, had a father who owned lots of real estate in Miami, called Gore Vidal a family friend, knew people who write at The New Yorker and for Slate online, and just now was renting an apartment, had a roommate, and was working as a bartender. I forget which exclusive New England college Sally had graduated from, or where she attended graduate school. All of this, she had managed to squeeze into 38 years. Oh yeah, she was conceived at Woodstock. Her parents were hippy geniuses who scored 1500's on their SAT's and she had disappointed them with a mere 1050. Made up for it by scoring in the top 1/3 in the country on her GRE. Babs and I just nodded and took it all in. I hope she actually was listening when Babs let on that she actually will have a book published later this year, and received a good advance and the whole nine yards. No B.S. from our part of the conversation. The other side of the conversation was producing plenty of that. By 7 PM Eastern Daylight Time, last evening, my B.S.ometer was solidly off the scale, attempting to register 758 on the 10 point scale.

The question is, "Who are these people and do they really, honestly believe that we are going to swallow all of that B.S. they are throwing around?" I am reminded of the saying, "I was born at night, just not last night." Maybe it's because our parents taught us some manners and we're essentially very polite to people. We don't confront them, and the longer we allow them to go on with their B.S., the more encouraged they get. Meanwhile we are rolling our eyes inwardly, and thinking to ourselves, "What a Type A asshole! What a psycho case!" or other such things. The world is full of these B.S.aholics. The only thing I have found to do about it is to just grin and nod and let them go on. It seems to give them pleasure, and on occasion it provides me with a little entertainment.

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