Here’s one of the awesome evergreen things about Key West: go into your favorite local restaurant in season (not to mention names, Azur) and they still let you hog a table for hours and they keep the wine coming (note: tip generously for this). Of course you are sincere in your offer to be kicked out if the table is needed but you really really hope you can stumble out in your own time.
The kindness, and the wine, get just the right buzz going to make your bitch of a week seem almost funny.
I would have said the motherfucker who skidded his rental scooter within an inch of my car at a red light (let me point out that I do not have a backseat, let alone a trunk), was middle aged. But then it hit me: fuck, would I be considered middle aged? At least a generation older than me, which kind of enraged me more, the Sunshine rental scooter gang laughed their asses off for the length of the long light at the near miss.
Drunk, no doubt. At 11:00 a.m.
I was rushing off to an appointment to meet someone who kept me waiting for 25 minutes. It is an understatement to say that I hate to be kept waiting. I usually wouldn’t have stayed for more than 10, but I wanted to get the whole thing overwith. He showed up with his take-out lunch in hand. No apologies. I was fuming. Then he had the nerve to ask if I minded if he ate his lunch during our meeting. I said yes I would mind, despite his explanation that he needed food in his stomach so he could take his prescription medication.
Next up I had to go to Old Town. I get heart palpitations at the mere thought of driving near Duval in season, but still, there I was, looking for a parking spot. Circling around, I found a residential spot on Olivia, between Duval and Simonton, right at Center Street. Then I noticed the hotel employee, clipboard in hand, and despite the gunning of my engine, she would not move her ass from said space (note to self: tiny cars are not that intimidating). She was holding it for a guest. No apologies.
That’s right. The vacant residential space was being held hostage for a non-resident. We had words and I really wish I had just forced my car into the spot, but you do not want to get into an argument with someone and then leave your vehicle behind. You learn that one the hard way.
I couldn’t really win. The afternoon before, I was biking THE RIGHT WAY down Petronia when a van from A&M Scooters comes barreling towards me. Yes, this van full of tourists off to pick up scooters they are ill-prepared to navigate on our little streets was driving the wrong way. This explains a lot. Why should tourists obey the laws of common sense, let alone the laws of our city, when the people who live here do not?
All the windows were down so naturally as the van neared I had to shout, “Don’t you know this is a fucking one-way street?” Now the driver slowed and shouted, “Yes, I know this is a fucking one-way street.” So then I yelled, “So why are you driving the wrong fucking way, motherfucker?”
The passengers seemed to be laughing a little nervously and the driver started to reply but I kept pedaling on. Holding my left arm high, middle finger in the air, I felt I had put the appropriate punctuation mark on the interaction. Mofo.
And before you start crying: yes, I work in the service industry. I do not agree that tourists are the lifeblood of this island. But regardless, spending your money in ANY town does not entitle you to act like an asshole. Obviously I bitch about people who live here, too.
There are plenty of out of town visitors that I look forward to seeing again and again. I would share a glass of wine with them any time. Others, I would waste a glass of good wine if I could throw it in their face.
(This column originally ran in Konk Life February 23, 2012)