If I hadn’t wandered into a dive bar across the street from my Fort Lauderdale apartment a year ago, I wouldn’t know the very cool owner of that dive bar. I also would not have met the day-at-a-time boy who would break my heart a few months later.
If my life in Fort Lauderdale had not been such an unmitigated disaster last December, thanks to the day-at-a-time boy who broke my heart, I would not have agreed to work a season in the Keys.
If I had not agreed to work a season in the Keys, I would not know how to sling eggs in a dive restaurant. Yes, there is a certain skill (and thick skin) involved to serve ’em up over easy, and I firmly believe it’s a skill I can take anywhere, anytime, anyplace–in the best of times and, most importantly, in the leanest.
If I had not moved to the Keys to work a season, I would not have had a reason to go back to visit the cool owner of the Fort Lauderdale dive bar, because I likely would have avoided the place altogether in order to forever avoid running into the day-at-a-time boy.
If I had not decided, on a last-minute whim, to visit the cool owner of the dive bar across the street from which I used to live, I wouldn’t have met the girl who was moving to the Keys, and who would soon become one of my closest friends ever.
If I had not met the girl who would soon become one of my closest friends, I would not have met her boyfriend or her boyfriend’s adorable dog, and Rouletta would never have found her soul mate.
If I had not run away from Fort Lauderdale and slung eggs in a dive for a season, I would not have known about an opening for a bartender at a locals bar.
If I had walked away from the bartender job–as I was sure I would after that first horrible, weeded night on the job–I would not have gained another hospitality skill that I never imagined myself performing at this point in my life.
If I had walked away from the bartender job, I would never have known the array of local characters who parade daily through my locals bar–it’s a cast no one would believe I didn’t invent. The Keys reality, however, is far more textured and rich and stunning than anything I could create.
If I had not agreed to work full time instead of just two shifts a week at the locals bar, I would never have met my guy.
If I had not met my guy three months ago, I know I would still be quite content here in the Keys, because living the so-called dream of the Keys life has allowed me to finally make peace with my D.C. life’s decisions over the past two years–decisions that have produced much guilt and angst and caused pain that I never wanted to cause to those I love, and always will love. But the pain from those decisions was also the catalyst for me to find strength and resolve I never knew I had.
If I had not taken the huge risk to act upon those agonizing decisions two years ago, I would not have known what it’s like to start over–in all the pain and in all the goodness–or know how second chances and new opportunities fall into your life when you least expect them to, and always at just the right time.
And that, I guess, is the Keys karma. It is very, very good.