Donald MacInnes: My first turn at Miami vice became a blur of shiny poles and $1 bills
In The Red
Donald MacInnes writes Tales from the Water Cooler, which can be found every Saturday on page 2 of i. And, although a financial near-imbecile, he writes a weekly column in The Independent’s Money section, also on Saturdays. He writes regularly on a broad range of subjects in i’s Freeview section and occasionally fills in on Simon Kelner’s daily column when emotionally up to it. @DonaldAMacInnes
Friday 08 November 2013
Cast your mind back two years to the first In The Red hosted by me which - with all retrospective apologies - I wrote by my sister's pool in Homestead, near Miami.
Happily, in less than two weeks I shall be heading back to south Florida for the first time since that era-beginning dispatch was filed to the sound of crickets, the smell of sunblock and the buzz of too many banana daiquiris.
And, as our transatlantic trip approaches, I find myself recalling my first visit to the US, back in the day when my relative youth and lack of funds meant I was at the mercy of whatever the family wanted to do.
I was too broke to disappear off and do my own thing, but a little too old to feel in any way happy about being led by the nose from pillar to post (or pole, as it turned out).
I was five days short of my 21st birthday when I stepped onto American soil for the first time, and thrillingly aghast about being in the land of all my TV and movie dreams.
My American brother-in-law Bill, whom I had never met, picked me up at Miami airport. I expected we would then go straight to the house he shared with my sister, but he had other ideas.
After a few twists and turns in one of Miami's less salubrious neighbourhoods, we pulled up outside something called The Cathouse.
This was a squat concrete building which only identified the business going on within by the use of a neon sign featuring a pink cat in high heels wrapped around a pole.
I swallowed my terror and walked in.
At this point, I should say that Bill was a good decade older than me, so I was quite intimidated by his man-of-the-worldness.
As a result, when he handed me a double Jack Daniel's and Coke, I threw it back, not wishing to appear a baby.
Same with the next five and thus the darkened interior of the Cathouse soon became a swimming mass of chrome poles and one-dollar bills.
I found (and still find) table dancing clubs about as sexy as a slaughterhouse and, I can assure you, being inside one with an older brother-in-law whom you barely know is an experience akin to watching a movie with your parents when a sex scene comes on.
You just want to scream.
I was therefore delighted when Bill led the way out of the club and we began the journey home.
I sank into the passenger seat, relieved, but I should have known that things were bound to get a whole lot messier.
Next week, upside down at my 21st birthday in Key West...
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