In Miami, it's all neon lights and scooters, waking me up with her electric blue flashes and small engines. The clouds move in at midday, every day, just in time for a lunch I'm too stuffed to eat. The Art Deco district feels reminiscent of someplace I've never been, like maybe Cuba; at the beach, our sunblock doesn't work and seemingly everyone smokes. On the horizon of the ocean are massive, iron-and-slate fortresses that move slowly from left to right and right to left; languid sailboats with white sails that run too close to the shore for my liking. Oh, and the cruise ships; always the cruise ships, docked and departing and embarking and moving. It's not the beach view I am used to. Here, I can't imagine what's across the water the way I can at home. There, I picture Ireland, geographically impossible Ireland, a holdover from when I was bad with maps.
(I am still bad at maps.)
We took a tiny commuter plane home, flying over the barrier islands where I unsuccessfully looked for surfers. I had just finished reading a Hurricane Sandy article in the New Yorker, during which I cried, and I wondered which islands below us would be next, which blocks of Miami would eventually be underwater, how will we all deal with those inevitabilities.
Here's a crazy experiment, though: go on vacation and turn off your phone. Try to retrain your brain so that when there's a moment of silence at lunch, or you're waiting in line for your iced coffee, instead of reaching into your pocket to see if anyone new has tweeted at you, just look around. Just see things you didn't think to notice before. Just be.