gaah. sorry. i swore i wouldn't make the lebron joke, but i did. yes, kids, as i mentioned yesterday, your humble blog proprietor is on a business trip to south beach. i'm tax-credit-geek-ing it up at the fanciest hotel i've ever set foot inside of in my life, and at the end of day two, with tomorrow morning left to go, i have a few little observations about the town, the hotel, and life in general. (gee, i know it's just shocking that something like this would trigger musings in me, eh?)
first of all, south beach is... well. the beach is beautiful. the water is crystal-clear and this really amazing blue color. this time of year, even though it's the atlantic, the water's not even ice-freaking-cold like it is up in virginia and points north. after yesterday's session, i spent some time wandering on the sand. i must've looked hilarious: dress skirt, blouse and bare feet. the sun soothed my nerves and did me good. but the town? oh boy. basically, all of south beach that's not fancy hotels or snotty clubs is tacky shopping. it's a slew of beat-up art deco buildings that have been tricked out to sell ed hardy and affliction. in fact, the miami beach city buses are all, without exception, covered in ads for affliction t-shirts. south beach: where even the buses wear affliction. that says it all. the whole town's covered in a light layer of sleaze. ick. i was glad to get back to our family condo 25 miles north.
the hotel is beautiful. but i would never, ever, no matter how rich i ever get, stay here. why? two reasons. first off, the staff has all been instructed to address guests in that weird overbearing pseudo-formal friendliness. i don't expect working adults to treat me like they're my hired help and i'm lady of the freaking manor. just be the valet guy/dude who brings pastries/concierge lady. we're all grown here, and i don't need (or, honestly, want) you to suck up to me. but the other guests clearly do, and corporate expects it of them. it's uncomfortable. additionally, the hotel has its own "security staff," designed to keep the icky people out. this in and of itself wouldn't be an issue... except that they station their people BLOCKS off the premises, and they have these bruiser dudes just harass people off the property. off-putting in the highest. i'm sure famous and important people stay here all the time. great. but if i ever get to the point in my life where my wealth and/or status lead me to think i need defending from reality, i give anyone reading this permission to smack me upside the head. it's deplorable.
so what has this experience taught me? first and foremost, i cannot WAIT to start work again! this conference is sponsored by my old/new employers, and even though i don't start for another 18 days, i feel at home again. hell, the managing principal of my old/new office just stopped me in the hall and told me, and i quote, welcome home; we missed you. hell. yes. but i think more importantly, doing these fancy things reminds me that i don't do what i do because i seek material riches. (i mean, don't get me wrong; material riches are nice, and if that happens, so freaking be it.) i'm here because i love my work. i want to be the best damn tax lawyer out there, give my clients and my employer my absolute best, and completely immerse myself in my chosen industry. and i want to do all of this while staying the teacher's kid from the gulf coast.
the louisiana lawyers i met while in school had the right idea about their attitudes towards practice and life. the most important thing in that clique is to do your job well while maintaining your, for lack of a better term, niceness. no one likes a rich jackass, gallivanting around like he owns the world and demanding that everyone kiss his ring. that's what this hotel attracts: over-moneyed and under-classed jerk-offs in tacky t-shirts, acting rude. i prefer to be humble, be modest, be graceful. oh, i will work my tail off, and i will take pride in my accomplishments. but my talents will speak for themselves, and i will not EVER allow the confidence i have to turn me into a monster.
now, if you'll excuse me, there's a cocktail party that requires my presence. time to go get my tax-credit-geek drink on.
Letter 70: Be Louder
5 days ago