I’m in Miami for one last summer. Guess where I spend most of my time? The law library.
I’m not doing any intense prep for law school.. Although I have read a few law-related books, I’m not frantically outlining horn books or briefing cases for practice. No, I’m not that boy.
I spend most of my time reading novels.
Yes, in the law library.
This may seem bizarre to people not from Miami, but the crystal blue skies and beautiful beaches are only travel brochure fodder.
Do not be fooled. The reality of Miami is heat, humidity, and mosquitoes.
I’m working at my undergrad university (U Miami) this summer. UMiami has a scenic campus,but I can’t read outside because of the raging hordes of mosquitoes.
I’m not exaggerating. Raging hordes. Seriously. These are Genghis Khan-level mosquitoes – I have to reapply the bug spray every 20 minutes to prevent severe blood loss. And those mild bug sprays don’t work. I have to buy OFF! Deep Woods, which smells faintly of rot.
One of my coworkers was bit so badly yesterday that she resembled a smallpox victim.
And reading at the beach? No go. Miami Beach is miserably crowded with tourists, joggers, winos, coke dealers, and etc. It’s also expensive. The parking garages charge $15 if you are over 4 hours. Gas on the beach? $4.41 for regular. No, mam.
I generally go to Virginia Key, which is an island/nature reserve off the coast of downtown Miami. Virginia Key is only a $1.50 toll and $3 entrance fee the park/beach.
The problem with Virginia Key is that it’s a nature reserve so you have to deal with, well, nature. Which includes hordes of mosquitoes from the mangrove swamp.
The mangrove swamp in question…
There are also looming predatory birds (including vultures) and the occasional dead shark,
For those who thought I was kidding…
Oh, and the locals (fishermen + bratty children). So, for summer reading the beach is out.
This is why my summer reading ritual consists of a stop at Starbucks and the law library.
And the Miami law library is a bit intense.
Books, tabs, highlighters, and a freakly, strained quiet that makes me nervous to blink.
Coughing? Out of the question. I’ll choke it down until I can creep off to the bathroom or stairwell to hack.
The worst part isn’t the quiet but the faces of the law students. The expressions are variations of miserable, angry, or sickly.
Yesterday, the ‘angry’ variety was dominant.
A couple left their belongings unattended on a table. The table was part of cluster surrounded by study carrels. They left their laptops, books, papers, everything.
There were a lot of people around, so theft seemed unlikely, but these people were gone for a while.
And then it happened: a cellphone buried somewhere in the pile of crap on that table went off.
EVVVVVVERRY BODY IN THE CLUB GETTING TIPSY!
Tension, gasps, and it rings again, EVVVVVVERRY BODY IN THE CLUB GETTING TIPSY!
And then there was that moment typically only seen on National Geographic; You know, the moment when the zebras realize something is amiss… the scamper of a predator, a cracked twig, a dart, something, and then all the zebras freeze in a collective wide-eyed “oh shit” moment before deciding what to do.
Well, about half of us had the “oh shit” zebra stare down. The phone kept going off.
EVVVVVVERRY BODY IN THE CLUB GETTING TIPSY! EVVVVVVERRY BODY…
Then the Jackals came out.
Heads popped of the study carrels. People shot hateful glares at the unattended table. The phone wasn’t visible because it was somewhere under the papers and books, but it rang, and rang, …and then finally stopped.
But of course the person called back.
EVVVVVVERRY BODY, EVVVVVVERRY BODY, EVVVVVVERRY BODY IN THE CLUB GETTING TIPSY!
The Jackals slammed their books, sucked their teeth, and walked single file to the bathroom. Some muttered dark threats under their breath. One guy just twitched and said “Fuck! Shit! Fuck!”
The phone stopped and the happy couple returned. Guy and girl. With Subway bags. They seemed glad that their stuff hadn’t been swiped. There were so many people around. It’s safe. Go on, take as many half-hour subway breaks as you want…The no food policy in the library? Whatever. It’s about as important as that whole silence your cellphone jig…
The hilarity ensued when the 5-6 jackals returned to the study area and shot hateful, hateful looks at the couple. The couple probably thought it was because they were eating.
No, not probably – definitely, because they exchanged a look and then LEFT AGAIN with their food, supposedly to eat it outside.
And yes, they forgot their phone…because 5 minutes later… EVVVVVVERRY BODY, EVVVVVVERRY BODY…
I left after that because I was pretty sure the twitcher was going to cut someone.
20,000 mosquitoes would be less stressful than these law students.