You will love the weather in Key West, especially when the cold fronts blow through and you can open your windows, hunker down under a blanket, and forget about the AC for a few days.
You will hate the bad moods in which the cold fronts put the tourists, and you will grow weary of hearing the incessant phrase, “I thought it was supposed to be warm here!” Simply smile and remind them it is 24 degrees and snowing in their hometowns.
You will love the quaint neighborhoods of Old Town, especially the stately structures emanating history and tales of ghosts.
You will hate that you will never, ever be able to afford living in one of these stately structures. You will come to accept that paying double in rent above what anyone would consider reasonable for the tiniest space is actually a lucky find compared to what your friends are calling home–until you find out that said friends say they can’t take it anymore and are moving away, this week.
You will love the neighborly, welcoming feel of being a local in a tourist town, especially the local discounts given in the bars, restaurants, and shops.
You won’t hate this part of living in Key West.
You will love the ease with which you can walk to city hall and get a Key West residential parking sticker so that you can park your car in any one of the so-marked parking spots in a town where parking is at a super premium.
You will hate that your neighbors put scooters, trash cans, and pretty much anything else in the few residential-marked parking spots in front of your house so they can save them for their out-of-town friends who will park there for weeks on end, collecting tickets they will never pay, while you have to park multiple blocks away.
You will love the rain on the odd day that it falls, especially because you know that it never lasts that long, well, unless there is a hurricane, but so far you have avoided being in South Florida during such a weather event.
You will hate that there is no drainage after even the slightest amount of rain and will soon discover that the mosquitoes multiply in numbers like the tourists who flood Duval Street when a cruise ship is in town.
You will love the easy-going banter you will have with your neighbors, how they ask if their music is too loud and offer you a glass of wine now and then.
You will hate how your easy-going neighbors start putting their trash in your can when theirs is overflowing because they keep forgetting to put their can out for pickup.
You will love the ever-occuring festivals and special events that add even more spice and life to this happening town.
You will hate special-event nights when you come home from a job to which you have to drive and cannot find a parking space–even an illegal one–anywhere. You will double park next to a bike rack and keep watch from your front porch until 2 a.m., when you will finally be able to park two blocks away, only to discover the next morning that one of your easy-going neighbors has smashed into the back end of your car in a drunken attempt to park in front of their house and has now fled the scene, which will result in thousands of dollars in damage to your car and a plea to your insurance company not to raise your rates. At this point, you will wonder how it is that the new year can start out in such a challenging way.
You will love taking your dog to the dog park and just about anywhere else in town.
Actually, you will hate nothing about the dog friendly aspect of Key West.
You will love having so many friends and family who want to visit you in Key West.
You will hate hearing from random people you don’t even know because a friend of a friend’s boyfriend’s cousin knows [your great guy, you, your kids, your co-worker from three jobs ago] and heard it would be okay to crash for a night or two in your tinier than tiny place.
You will love having the easy availability of sunset cruises and scores of snorkeling and kayak tours.
You will hate never being able to take advantage of these cruises and tours because you will have to work two jobs or doubles every other day or never take a day off in order to afford living where such cruises and tours taunt you with their easy availability.
You will love living here with your significant other.
You will hate that your work schedules never coincide, even on Christmas Day when you scarfed turkey between his morning and your evening shift, and beyond that you only have an hour here and there off together.
You will still love your significant other because he knows living the dream in paradise is great for making money in season, after which you will likely find a more permanent “paradise” to call home.
Visit here. Enjoy this unique island, because everyone should at least once in their lives. Marvel at the sunset. Have a frozen drink or ten. Hear some great music. Be amazed you are this far south in the United States. You will love it. Really.
Live here? Only if you are without a care or responsibility in the world. And only if you hail from independent, recession-proof wealth.