Miami is a beautiful city, a corrupt metropolis, a straight-up strange place full of weirdos. It's a diverse, messed-up, exotic destination. No wonder the tourists always look so shell-shocked.
Hell, even if you call Miami home, it's easy to lose yourself here. And that's not always a good thing.
Face it: Too much time spent in this city has the potential to change a person. It might change you for the better; you'll probably pick up some Spanish, for instance, if you weren't raised speaking it. But it might also give you a few bad habits -- and we're not talking about just hookers and yeyo.
If you find yourself exhibiting any of the below symptoms, it's probably time to get out of town.
See also: Ten Signs You're a Miami Art Snob
10. You've forgotten where the turn signal is.
It's the number one complaint about Miami drivers: Nobody uses their damn blinker. What outsiders don't know is that to most Miamians behind the wheel, the turn signal is a sign of weakness; alert other drivers of your intentions to change lanes, and they'll speed up to block you. It's a way of life down here.
You can be forgiven for eschewing the turn signal in favor of highway equality. (Hell, the cops don't seem to give a shit.) But if you've forgotten how to turn the thing on in the first place, it's probably time to drive yourself straight outta Miami for a reminder of how roadway etiquette is supposed to work. The good news is you won't have to go far; somewhere between Miami and Orlando, people start driving with a conscience again.
9. You own one or more pairs of Uggs.
Like any other art form, fashion is judged partly by its context. And if you're wearing Uggs in Miami, sorry, but the context is sweaty feet. Even if you grew up in Miami, there are maybe -- maybe -- two or three weeks a year when your feet are comfortably cozy in Uggs. And if you're the kind of person willing to pay upward of $150 for footwear you can't even use for a full month, that paints you a different shade of ugly. Pack up those boots and go to Aspen until you remember how great it feels to wear flip-flops.
8. You have developed boob blindness.
It's one thing to be unbothered, or even turned on, by all the giant, perky fake boobs you see in this town. It's another to be entirely oblivious. Whether you're male or female, gay or straight, you can't help noticing some of the racks in this town. (After all, many of them were built solely for attention-getting purposes.)
Love them or hate them, enormous fake boobs should never fall into your definition of normal. If you've developed boob blindness -- the inability to notice or recognize fake double-F cups -- it's time to get out of town and surround yourself with unenhanced women. Think of it as a refresher course in basic human anatomy.
7. You have a nasty case of verbal bro disorder (VBD).
Bro, did you hear about this VBD thing, bro? It's an inability, developed over years spent in South Florida, to begin or end a sentence or phrase without saying "bro." It's unclear who VBD's patient zero was, but clearly he was from Miami. And the only cure is a quarantine from the VBD-infected herd. Don't worry, bro; if your bros are really your bros, they'll still be your bros when you come back home, even if you sound a little funny.
6. You view people from Fort Lauderdale as foreigners.
Broward and Dade are very different places, it's true. But doesn't it sometimes seem like Miami welcomes people from every land except the county to the north? This city is a melting pot of Latin Americans, Europeans, New Yorkers, West Coasters, and many others -- but if you're from Weston, man, you're just too different for this town.
If the thought of going to Broward gives you the chills, it's time for a little tough love. Open your mind, get in the car, and try to relate. We can't promise it'll be as fun as Miami -- few things are -- but it'll help give you some perspective. Just think: In some sprawling cities up North, Fort Lauderdale wouldn't be its own town at all. It'd just be the suburbs.
5. You have developed pure, seething hatred for tourists.
Look, tourists are annoying. They clog our streets. They meander frustratingly along busy sidewalks. They support an entire industry of stupid South Beach T-shirts.
But if your tourist annoyance has graduated into murderous feelings for anyone with an out-of-state license plate, it's time to get some perspective. Tourists do partly support Miami's economy, after all. And they're still, y'know, human beings with feelings and families and people who love them, just like you. The best way of reminding yourself of this is to spend some time being a tourist yourself.
4. You're starting to forgive Jeffrey Loria.
When Loria traded nearly all of the Marlins' talent at the end of last year, just a year after convincing Miami taxpayers to build his team a brand-new stadium, you probably vowed to boycott the team until, at the very least, Loria acknowledged his wrongdoing. But he's Jeffrey Loria, so of course he hasn't apologized. And you've continued to live in this town, staring mournfully at Marlins Park as you drive by on the 836, your resolve ever weakening. I hear there's some pretty decent food in there, you think to yourself. And the Marlins have actually been winning a few games lately. Isn't it time to accept what happened and move on? Wouldn't forgiving and forgetting make me the better man?
This is not forgiveness. This is Stockholm syndrome. Never forget.
3. You believe you should have your own reality TV show.
Hey, everyone else does: the Housewives, the Bad Girls, the yachties, the models, the Kardashians -- hell, even the jerks who run the tow trucks. Why shouldn't you?
Answer: Because ENOUGH ALREADY. Unplug your TV set and go camping until you remember what reality really is.
2. You have your own herd of feral cats.
It always starts the same way: There's an adorable stray kitten in your neighborhood. But your landlord won't allow pets, so you leave a can of cat food out for the poor guy.
The next day, there are two adorable kittens. Then three. Then five. They're not all kittens, but they sure are hungry. Your cat food budget increases. You've given them all names. They are mangy and fickle, and sometimes they stare at you with those dead, I've-seen-too-much street-cat eyes, and you shiver. Maybe you should buy the better brand of cat food?
Or -- better idea -- you get out of town for a couple of weeks. Those cats are just using you. They'll find another pawn. You'll save money. And the vicious-feline nightmares will subside eventually.
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1. You're bored.
Can't think of anything fun to do? Miami has spoiled you. Between the beach, the clubs, the art, the music, the food, and the beautiful people on every corner, it's easy to get jaded. So pick a place on the map that sounds more interesting, and make plans to go there. But don't forget to book your return ticket. You'll be missing this place in no time.
Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.