#80: The thing about Florida.

If California is the end of the frontier, then Florida is the beginning of it.

If California is the end of the frontier, then Florida is the beginning of it.

As a Floridian, the kind of Floridian who had parents who both dreamed of the place, one as an immigrant and the other as a rosy-eyed kid, it’s been unsurprising to see venture capitalists fall in love with my home state.

But of course, as a Floridian, I also know that they’re conquistadors who think they’ve reached the shores of Singapore, when in reality, it’s just Miami.

What has been strange is the people suddenly defending Florida, willfully forgetting what it is.

Self-important yuppies who’ve been “trying to make a tech community happen in Miami for over a decade,” bitter they’re missing out on the affection from Mayor Suarez andWired magazine.

The out-of-towners’ admonishments about what will surely be a catastrophic wave of gentrification as though South Florida wasn’t already a playground for some of the wealthiest people in the world.

The people who grew up there, discarding what we’ve all always known, that Florida is a transient place. For the rich and poor. For everyone.

Florida is a place you leave. No one and nothing stays for long; even the retirees eventually die.

The one exception to this rule is Cubans, who rule Miami and who may let you move in droves to luxury high-rises in Brickell and Midtown but will never relinquish their power.

Miami is not your techno-optimistic wet dream and it never will be. It might, however, give you what you need to build it elsewhere. (This Floridian isn’t worried about Miami becoming the next Austin, either.)

You know why California makes you crazy? Because once you reach California, you’ve reached the end of the frontier.

But Florida, a state where outsiders love to joke life goes to end, is in reality, the starting line. You can be reborn in Florida.

When my Nonno, a Sicilian by way of South America, first visited Florida he called up my mother and said, “This is America. Not New York, Florida.”

You spend enough time in Florida and you realize just how big the world is. And it reminds you that the world is yours, if you’re willing to take it.