I had several experiences last month, which were truly entertaining. Most of the events involve traffic and parking. What a surprise. To protect the innocent, or in some of these cases, the not so innocent, the names have been changed.
I was leaving one condo in Bal Harbour (near Miami Beach), and I had to take Collins Avenue north to the end and go under the bridge in order to turn around and head south. If you are familiar with that area, it is in essence a dead end that ends up as the Haulover Cut, the wide canal that separates Bal Harbour from Haulover Park. I slowed up at the stop sign, and as there were no cars coming, I did not completely stop but did slow to about 1 mile an hour. As there are maybe a few cars that come down that particular road every couple of hours, there was no great danger, especially, as I did actually look to see that no one was coming. Mind you I did this all automatically. As I was turning my car into the position to drive south, a booming voice over a loud speaker pierced my consciousness. He must have been talking to me for at least 10 seconds, but I was on the phone and the windows were closed in my "luxury" automobile, therefore silencing most of the outside noise, which is obviously one of the reasons you have a luxury car! Well, lo and behold my surprise when it dawned on me that it was the police. They were instructing me that I should come to a complete stop at the stop sign and not just slow down to one mile per hour. Of course, they are right, but it did not stop me from being a little shocked at the voice of Big Brother jolting me into awareness, however, I must say I was definitely relieved when they did not pull me over and give me a $250 ticket, which is often the case in Miami.
My next experience was visiting a town home on Harding Avenue in the Surfside area. To be able to park at one of these town homes, it helps to slow down to about 3 miles an hour so you can make the sharp 90 degree turn required to successfully park in the single space assigned to each unit. Of course, you require the skills of a Formula One race car driver to make the 90 degree hairpin turn as you are coming off of a major downtown thoroughfare. Here drivers are going a typical 40 to 50 miles an hour depending on the number of insane "Miami" drivers that are on the road at the same time trying to out-macho each other with stunt driver maneuvers. Of course, both my client and I ended up driving right by the town homes as we realized we would have created a major pile-up had we made the turn. As neither of us are true macho Miami drivers, we had to drive around the block and wait for a break in traffic, which at 4:30 in the afternoon, means we had to wait for 500 cars to drive by until there was a break in the traffic. My client had a very good sense of humor and yelled out the window (imitating the police) that I should come to a complete stop before making any turn. This would have been very funny, but again I had my windows closed and could not hear him. I guess he should have had a loud speaker system like the police.
When I went visiting another condo, which will remain nameless, I had to valet my car as did my client. Mind you this was the third condo that "forced" me to valet my car, which is understandable to some degree; however, it seems that this particular condo derives a decent cash flow by charging us the "mandatory" $20 fee even though we were only there for only 10 minutes. I pleaded my case explaining to them in no uncertain terms that I was a Realtor and that sales are down, but they took no pity on me or my client. Perhaps, it was the "luxury" car, which was the deciding factor. Hey, they need to make a living too!
I would be remiss to not tell you about another incident, which occurred earlier in the month. I was visiting a brokers' open house down in the South Pointe area. I had stopped (a complete stop) at the guard gate and was patiently waiting for the security guard to go through his checklist when suddenly I was rear-ended by another car! Now this surprised even me, a former New Yorker. As I got out of my "luxury" car, I was still trying to figure out how this guy managed to plow into me at a guard gate. When I asked him how he hit me, he claimed that my car moved causing him to hit the gas. It just goes to show you that sometimes it is dangerous even when you come to a complete stop here in Miami.
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