What Flaco wants more than anything is peace. He wants to be like the shearwater, a bird whom he imagines "live(s) alone, far away from land...no other birds around...very peaceful".
Flaco's whole life has been a struggle, with people fighting and arguing all the time. Born in the mountains of Puerto Rico, Flaco and his family moved to the city when his father had to sell their farm to a power company, but political unrest forced them to relocate again to Miami. Under extreme stress, his parents argued constantly, and in Miami, when Flaco was sent to a school for retarded children because he didn't know English, he began to fight with his father who wanted him to continue his education no matter what. Finally, Flaco got a job in a restaurant, and married Constancia, a waitress.
The couple was happy for awhile, but after their first baby died, Constancia became anxious and fretful. After the birth of their second child, her grandparents came to live with them, and now there is constant bickering in the house on how the child should be raised. Flaco is tired of all the conflict in his life. He wants peace, like the shearwater.
Interestingly, when he finally sees the shearwater in its natural habitat, he discovers that it does not live alone, and that it fights with the other birds too. Flaco realizes that birds, like people, and like the members of the band on the whirligig he sees, must by their very nature live together and learn to get along. Flaco learns to find peace within himself, in the quiet of the early morning on his job, and through the music that he loves ("Miami, Florida").