Some Miami Evening

This city I live in is so surreal, sometimes. Come along on my Friday night adventure.

We went barhopping with friends in Coconut Grove. The evening started out with typically torrential Miami summer showers, so we drove through the blinding rain, parked, and made our way with umbrellas over to Mr. Moe’s, a bar with a log cabin theme, complete with a giant stuffed bear (the bar is also infamous from this shameful moment in pilot history.)

When the rain stopped, we strolled across the street to Waldo’s, a British pub that was practically empty. They have those adorable bench swings, so we sat and had some more drinks. Across the street, there’s a fancy new building that looks like it belongs in New Orleans. It’s super tall – three stories high — and towers over the one-level buildings around it. Lots of Ferraris and Benzes are pulling up to valet, with well-dressed people streaming in the door. On the rooftop level, we can see fabulous types swanning about with cocktails and cigarettes. After a while of sipping drinks at the unpopular place across the street, curiosity got the best of us. We had to check this place out, and after my husband removed his baseball cap, we were allowed in.

The sign reads Christabelle’s Quarter, the decor reads “we spent millions on this gaudy spectacle.” Glowing aquariums, dazzling chandeliers, illuminated stained glass windows, ornate fretwork and metal fences sculpted to look like forests, complete with spike-beaked metal birds. Crazy.

Downstairs, it’s a restaurant. On the second floor, there’s a ginormous bar, a live Dixieland-style jazz band, and more tables with people eating. Music is booming from the third floor, so we head up the marble stairs to the upstairs level. As soon as we enter, I lock eyes with an instantly recognizable celebrity. He’s surrounded by hot women, and chummy, laughing men who are smoking cigars. Someone hands him a drink. He’s being noticed and feted and celebrated. The Juice was in the house.

This isn’t my first OJ sighting — we actually live not too far away from him, in a very popular suburb of the city. A really good friend of ours once was standing in line at the CVS on the corner of our main street, when he felt someone reading his teeshirt. He turned around, and it was OJ. I know other people who have actually met him. But this was my closest sighting for sure. Once he came to the University of Miami library when I was a student there, and I saw him stroll across campus. Another time I saw him strolling through Cocowalk, holding hands with a willowy blonde. Every time I see him, there’s a similar buzz in the room — OJ is here. Oh my God, it’s OJ Simpson, look. Holy s&*%, it’s the Juice.

Here, at Christabelle’s Quarter, he seemed comfortable with the buzz. He was smiling, laughing, drinking, and being treated like a celebrity. I pointed him out to my husband and we made our way over to the bar where our friends were. Pointed out OJ to them, and they went over to have sightings of their own. We made bad glove and Kato Kaelin jokes on the outdoor balcony for a while until I was ready to leave.

I thought about OJ all weekend, what his life must be like now. How does he spend his days? Who are the women that date him, now? (As my friend Andrea pointed out – do you bring OJ home to meet your parents? Your dad might have a heart attack. I think OJ’s most likely a down-low boyfriend. Your nosy friends would probably give you a real hard time about that relationship). Twelve years after he was acquitted of murder, OJ Simpson is out there, living his life like many famous people do: swigging cocktails at fancy new nightspots, being stared at and whispered about. But the stares often come in the form of wide-eyed shock, the whispers are jeering remembrances of allegations past. I wonder if that bothers him, or if he’s managed to somehow, put it all to rest in his mind.

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Comments

  1. The Beautiful One says:

    I was very surprised that you would publish a photo of this guy on your website.

    Why? I mean, ok, you saw him at a nightclub, then you and or others made jokes about the glove, etc., then you publish a photo of a murderer (my opinion) on your website. Hmm, makes me think about your motives.
    I really don’t read Afrobella to see photos of people who beat or have been known and convicted of wife beating and worse.

  2. Uh, get a grip! As usual, Afrobella will often share her with us who she runs into in her daily life.
    When has she not included a pic when possible?
    She did not post a “Vote for OJ 2008″ sign.
    If you don’t want to see it, scroll down or come back later. That’s what I did and that’s how I came upon your comment.

  3. Monique, thanks for defending me. The Beautiful One – that’s exactly the reaction that I had — that OMG, the murderer! So, on to my motives — I posted the photo and little write-up because I’m interested in how people react to him, twelve years after that trial divided the country so sharply. I find it interesting that you’d be annoyed at me for even posting his photo, but that’s the kind of reaction the man provokes. Thanks for teaching me something today.

  4. TheBeautifulOne says:

    You’re welcome, Bella.

    My comment went way over Monique’s head, but I am not surprised. We live in such a misogynistic society that there are still women, black women, who although are not waving a “Vote for OJ 2008″ sign, as Monique proudly stated, but in a myriad of ways defend violence committed against women. I wonder if she would have been made the same comment if you had a picture of a white man that was acquitted of killing an African-American woman?

    I’m glad that you, Bella, understand why I reacted the way that I did.

  5. I’m hot & cold about OJ. I always thought he did it. There was never any doubt in my mind. However, he was aquitted of murder. I could care less about him. He’s never done anything for the black community. Typical brotha who gets in trouble and starts running about to black folks to help him fix his mess. We gladly support this fool and he ignores us once it’s over.

    That said, I don’t like how the media and white people can’t seem to get over this trial. Yet, they want us to get over slavery, segregation, etc. Which was worse? You’ve got white folks who have killed black people who got away with it. They’re allowed to live peacefully in this country. Double standards.

  6. Good Morning Bella,
    I read your post about OJ and it didn’t make me feel one way or the other. I feel I’m not in a position to judge anyone and that whatever truly happend(because I was not there), that’s something that he has to live w/until the day he meets his maker. I have my opinions of him, but the fact remains he was found “not guilty” and he is free to live his life as he chooses. However, I can only imagine how life is for him…you always have the whispers and the strange looks. What’s important are the children and for that reason alone, I wish him well. Thanks for the post and have a wonderful day!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. as much as we may not agree with it, OJ Simpson will always be on the minds and tongues of people, of all ethnicities. my own prediction is that his daughter, Sydney is going to take revenge for her mother’s death. sorry to be morbid.

  8. jerseybred says:

    I see somebody had an interesting weekend.

  9. Perhaps TOO interesting, Jerseybred…

  10. Bella, I love, love, love, how you shake things up tastefully. Your very right too, he still seems to invoke some sort of reaction even though its been 12 years.

  11. JUstMYwOrD says:

    Monica-

    I agree with you for the most part. I can’t say whether O.J. did it or knows who did it, or not. He was aquitted and that’s that. There’s nothing funny at all though about the O.J. Simpson Trial or his life in the aftermath. I don’t appreciate the comments that white people make accusing him without proof, nor do I appreciate the cheers of African Americans whose only joy was that the system actually worked in favor of a black man for once. Both are completely insensitive reactions that overlook the real victims of the whole case, the families on all sides. I can’t help but wonder, how O.J.’s children feel about him and at the end of the day how he really feels about himself. They know their parents were coke heads and dysfunctional, they know their dad beat up their mother, they know their father was accused of murdering their mother. Having to cope with so many heart breaking facts seem unbareable to me, my heart goes out to the kids. I mean if he didn’t do it, that’s a horrible burden to carry for the rest of your life knowing people will smile in your face and make small talk with you, women may date you for kicks, just to be around a celebrity, or in his case a has-been celebrity, but in reality you know that no one really cares about you or trusts you and everyone suspects you’re a murderer. If he did do it though, no amout of partying or women are going to erase the crime he committed, his punishment is just being delayed in that case. Sooner or later the chickens are going to come home to roost, and every guilty person knows that deep down inside, it’s just a matter of time. He can flatter himself into believing he got off because there wasn’t enough evidence, but if he really did do it, then he’ll have to learn just like anyone else that real justice is not upheld at man’s standard of right and wrong. God executes true justice and when He judges, no one escapes. O.J.’s a tragic case for many reasons.

  12. JUstMYwOrD says:

    O.J. Simpson envoking reactions out of people 12 years later doesn’t really shock me, the case is unresolved. I think most people would’ve expected him to crack or some new evidence or something to surface by now. The point is two people are dead and their lives, however wreckless they were in living them, need to be properly laid to rest. O.J. shouldn’t have to pay for a crime he didn’t commit, but if no one else has been found guilty, and everyone thinks he did it, isn’t he still paying, in some respects? I mean his career is non existant, he does no commercials, receives no endorsements, he’s not in films, and he can’t even walk into some restaurants without being asked to leave…if this man is innocent what kind of life is he actually living in comparison to the one he had before? Then again, I would think that just being freed from a crime that I almost had to pay for would encourage me to appreciate the true gifts in life, and loosing the fame and lime light would pale in comparison to the value of my freedom and my loved ones. Does O.J. act like a free man? Are the parties, the women, the drugs a sign of celbrating freedom or tale tails of an abusive and guilt ridden life? I mean it’s not like he’s out hanging with real friends who are happy he wasn’t convicted. Most of the people who knew him best won’t even speak to him anymore. His ntire life is virtually surrounded by strangers now, so why does he hold onto it so desperately, is he running from the inevitable? I’d think he’d try to work hard at stregnthening the things that remain and matter, like his children. O.J. is clearly not doing this, is it because of a supressed guilty concisous or a symptom of psychopathic behavior? I am suspect, but I still can’t say for sure. I think for all around justice it would be nice to know who did it, so the criminal will pay for his crime, the case can truly be laid to rest, the families can have the closure they long for and in a stretch of possibilities, the innocent be truly exonerated.

  13. what i find strange is that you mention he had an entourage…isnt he dead broke??!!
    cant think of any other reason anyone would wanna be in his presence

  14. I understand how the whole O.J. trial and its aftermath still effect people years later–just look at the reactions posted above to just the man’s pic bein on your site! I think it was one of those moments that was a “racial touchstone” for America, even though the case was simply about a rich guy accused of murdering his ex-wife and her new boyfriend. I never gave two hoots about O.J. Simpson–I was too young to have seen him play football and all I remember about him culturally is the old Hertz Rent-A-Car commercials and the “Naked Gun” movies. For him to become this ‘icon’ of racial injustice is silly, IMO. Do I think he had something to do with Nicole and Ron Goldman’s murders? Yep. Was he deserving of our nation’s attention? No. He was acquitted and by all rights he should be allowed to go about his business as he sees fit–bimbos in tow or not. On a side note, I am amazed that the anniversary of the LA Riots has passed with little comment from the media.

  15. JUstMYwOrD says:

    Whether people actually cared about O.J. Simpson or not doesn’t seem like a relevant statement,IMO…I didn’t follow his career either, but this case brought race issues to a head in America, and this case that is still “unsolved”. That leaves many peopel still silently brewing over the strong convictions they voiced when the case was a hot topic. That is the only thing I would say makes O.J. relevant in our society. It has nothing to do with caring about him personally, it’s about how his murder case put hidden racism back in “plain veiw” as well as a live portrayal of the way our judicial system handled it poorly. I remember the strong veiws that people were voicing and all the controversy the case caused on both sides of the color spectrum. If anyone has forgotten the details of how that case influenced people in America, I’d suggest the video documentary from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/oj/ or you can just read it on there in transcript form. For those of you who are indifferent to the issues of the case, whether he did it or didn’t do it was never really the point. Let’s face it most people feel he did do it, but the race issues that sprouted from this crime is what overshadowed his presumed undeniable guilt. Should a black man be tried without a fair trial, haven’t white men gotten off for more crime and more evidence? It may be an easier choice to ignore the racial impact that trial had on America, but it’s documented history at this point, so I don’t really see how you could ignore the facts. The reason why it just wasn’t another case about some rich guy who killed his wife, is because it he wasn’t tried on that basis alone, and the hidden language of our society, the concealed veiws that people have of one another, is what was exposed. That being said, I still feel it was sad that these issues overshadowed human beings who are suffering because of the “real blow” of that crime, it’s easy to sit back and discuss facts, law and ethics, but to the victims families there’s so much more to sort through, so although I understand the trials importance to the nation, I feel for the families and the fact that their feelings and importance has been overlooked.

  16. I always wonder how his kids react to him –
    It is sad either way, they are all losers

  17. I wouldn’t say that anyone was ignoring the facts or that it wasn’t, as I said, “a racial touchstone” for this country, but the ridiculousness of it was how folks (on both sides) were talking about O.J. like he was Mr. EveryBlackMan, completely ignoring that he had the finest defense team money could buy–a luxury that the Average Jaheim on the street doesn’t have. I think that it was a moment for people to vent their hatred, anger or frustration and in the end, it didn’t lead to any real discussions or lasting change.

  18. Bebroma says:

    I was living in an itty bitty town in the South when that verdict came…as you can imagine, it went over like poo in a punch bowl. I was a little surprised to see OJ, but I totally understand Afrobella’s posting it…this is a place that encourages dialogue and expressions on all kinds of things, and gives people a chance to see opinions other than their own.

  19. Suburbanbushbabe says:

    TMZ.com has excerpts of Simpsons “If I Did It” crap book, and the 11 o’clock news read a section. It’s pretty disgusting. Also I don’t think the people around him merit the term “entourage”. Parasites is more like it. Let them suck him dry. I feel for his children. It’s a sin that they have to live with the results of his actions.

  20. JUstMYwOrD says:

    Well I suppose if you look at hte O.J. Simpson as an isolated issue, it has lttle relevance or purpose when expressing the racial discord in this country. But if you veiw it as part of a conglomeration of several racially motivated instances, it holds more value. Not because it in itself is an answer to a problem, but it does help those willing to combate it because as I already stated, these issues put otherwise cloaked veiws in plain veiw, it shows the thinking that is dominating our evnvironment. If you think that it is irrelevant because O.J. wasn’t worthy of having the system work in his favor, that’s somewhat of a narrow perspective , IMO. Racism is an issue and keeping the facts, strategy and mindset of rasism on the table are vital to working towards ways of eliminating its horrific affects. In the case of O.J., because he probably was guilty, he seems to be justifiable cause for racists to hold onto their veiws, for that I resent him being a centerfocus, but that doesn’t mean I throw the baby out with the bath water, racial undertones were driving the way the prosecutors went about trying to solve the case, if they hadn’t been so blinded by hate for a black man they probably wouldn’t have been so sloppy about prosecuting him , and he wouldn’t have gotten off on a technicality—he’d probably be paying for a crime everyone is sure he committed, so racism was the primary motivation not justice, it’s what caused them to stumble is in thatway still the cause for the ulitmate injustice of the case.

  21. Oh Not So Beautiful One,

    Your rant did not go over my head.
    As I stated, Bella was ~sharing~ not promoting.
    You chose to ~seethe~ which was not cool.

  22. TheBeautifulOne says:

    Dearest Monique,

    I was not “seething” as you put it, but it really sounds like you are. I will pray for you. Let’s move on, shall we?

  23. My only comment is… OJ isn’t broke at all and never was. Far from it. NFL, hollywood movies, tv commercials, lucrative sports casting deal…OJ was probably the first megastar/mega paid black athlete (these days from Tiger Woods to Dwaye Wade… highly paid players are as common as sliced bread). The man was never a sole proprietorship and the extent of his assets will never be known and certainly will never be made public. But, the fact that he attracts that “certain type of women” and has an entourage says that eventhough he may be on the sidelines, he’s still well connected and is still very much a power player.

  24. JUstMYwOrD says:

    Reader-
    I disagree. It doesn’t say he’s a power player or well connected. His “entourage” is really an overstatment that would be better described as Suburbanbushbabe pointed out, “Parasites are more like it”. His company of friends is not made up of important people or heavy hitters, they are a bunch of wanna be’s who want so badly to be a part of the in-crowd,they’re willing to start at slug level and have the hopes of working their way up. O.j. is a trying to hold onto a life that isn’t their anymore. Again, I can’t help but wonder why.

  25. JustMyword-you are right on two counts, 1-the people that are hanging around him are definitely “hangers on” and 2- he is mostly likely trying to hang on to a life he no longer has. But, OJ is not a poor man– that was my only point in response to Che’s comment (but then some other stuff slipped out, LoL)

  26. Red girl says:

    1. OJ is not broke. If nothing else, he owns property, which is exempt from creditors in the state of FL (Homestead exception). He may be house poor.

    2. IMO, OJ is a narcissistic psychopath. Being so, he does not feel guilt!

    I feel very bad for his children.

    And it’s true, I don’t know why I care about him but somehow I do…

  27. bella,
    that place sounds like a hot spot. i will check it out. (the gaudy new orleans.)
    about o.j., i’m a floridian too, so i’ve run into him as well. it was at a boxing event. ppl were cheering him and more people were booing him but everyone was in awe. he is a large man. very handsome and made my heart beat faster. out of fear? out of anger? excitement? all three. i hope he didn’t do it but that is just me being naive.

  28. Hallo. Article is ok.

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