Fabiola Santiago

Fabiola Santiago: No safe haven in our noisy jungle, Miami

It’s a jungle out there.

The squirrel who made himself at home on the branches of my Tree of Gold is sparring with the stray cat lounging below on the picnic table. I go out to investigate their raucous argument — hoping it’s not over which one gets to eat the blue jay — and twin zebra longwing butterflies come at me as if I were a flower pregnant with honey.

I instinctively close my eyes and step on visitor dog poop, which we all know is not the same thing as stepping on your own darling mutt’s excrement.

It’s a jungle out there — and not just in my overgrown backyard.

At a Miami symposium on the future of our libraries, once hailed as one of the nation’s best, one of the out-of-town experts brought in by the Knight Foundation to illuminate us says that we need to stop being so “bookish” about the topic.

Forgive me for thinking that literacy was at the heart of the library equation and that the need expressed by children for a “quiet, safe space” to supplement school hours wasn’t what our tax dollars were funding.

I stand corrected, me and my passion for books and reading. And of course, with all those Knight dollars dangling in the balance, I agree that what we need to do to solve the library funding problem is to bring in some Starbucks baristas — and brew!

Now, where is that loathed New York Times op-ed writer when you need her? This is a perfect example of why Pamela Druckerman grew up in Miami thinking her life plan was to marry a plastic surgeon. Even libraries have to pass the glamour test. Maybe this is why when prodigal, third-generation daughter Druckerman returns to assess our evolution for the Big Apple, profundity still not her strong suit, she concludes: “There was a lot of pleasure in Miami, but not enough surprising interactions and ideas.”

Ah, the local noise, so much like the cranking sound of overpriced animal feeders at ZooMiami.

But there are bigger birds and louder squawking in Paradise — nothing as colorful and contentious as the beak-to-beak governor’s race.

Why tea party Rick and newbie Dem Charlie made it to … Rolling Stone magazine — and not because there’s a marijuana amendment on the November ballot!

“Come on down to the Sunshine State and see everything that is wrong with American democracy,” beckons a headline — best one I’ve seen in a really long time.

Everyone knows that if you’re not Miley Cyrus, it’s not a good thing when the old rocker publication focuses on your tongue. Hats off to the candidates for playing their part to make “The Florida Farce” reach a new smoky audience. I value good writing more than sanity.

Who cares if/when I watch too much TV, I start to think of the fellow moaning in the Ponzi schemer campaign ad as part of the cast of Scandal?

Ah, the noise filling our heads.

It’s even louder if you consider that everything plays out in real life, real time — and also expands to unimaginable decibels in virtual life, which a prominent New Yorker journalist dubbed during another recent symposium a “basurero,” a garbage dump.

Smoke, mirrors, and noise — the game of our times.

It’s a jungle out there.

Sing, little bird, sing.

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