Key West Isn’t for Everyone

Rouletta and I (along with my great guy) were so excited to move to Key West a few months ago. After all, I had a wonderful career opportunity in event planning that promised salary, commission, bonuses! Too bad that $13 hourly “training” pay became my real pay, even after five weeks. But hey, Key West isn’t for everyone….

The neighborhoods are so cute, so quaint. In fact, the best restaurant in Key West is located at this corner. The proprietor was one of the few good people we encountered among the hundreds of not-so-good. But hey, Key West isn’t for everyone….

At first, we thought we should buy bikes to ride around this charming town. But we thought we’d leave that to the tourists and those brave locals brave willing to take their lives in their pedals on the quaint streets. But hey, Key West isn’t for everyone….

Then we thought, What about scooters? Everyone rides them!

But we soon thought twice about those adorable means of KW transportation as we played the game “Stop or No Stop,” during which you guess if the speeding scooter whose whining motor you hear before you see it will actually stop at the corner on which you live. This game worked equally well with motorcycles, street-legal rental golf carts, as well as assorted cars and trucks. But hey, Key West isn’t for everyone.

Parking for residents is a simple thing. The spots marked “Residential Parking” are all yours thanks to your easily gotten parking permit. Remember, you’re the local now, and no one else is allowed to park in these coveted parking spots under penalty of the KW law. That’s right, Key West isn’t for everyone!

From time to time, however, no one pays attention to this law–including the parking enforcement people. You could park your out-of-state clunker for weeks, blocking a spot in front of someone else’s house, and never get a ticket! Well, never get a ticket unless you’re my great guy who parked for 10 minutes in front of our house to unload stuff during our move to Key West and immediately received a $35 fine. You know, sometimes Key West isn’t for everyone.

Unfortunately, many of your neighbors will have residential parking permits, too. One night they will drive home after enjoying some wild KW fun, and they will smash their SUV into the back of your little VW, which is finally parked two blocks away from your house because it took two hours to find such a spot. A witness to this crash will alert the police, but the police will say they have too much to do to respond to such a call. Later, after an investigation for which you have to plead the police to conduct, a nice officer will bring the owner of the perpetrating vehicle to your house, saying the owner wasn’t driving but wants to pay you cash rather than go through insurance. When you tell this cooperative neighbor that the damage to your car will cost $1500 to repair, he is suddenly unable to understand English. The police will ignore your entreaties for help, shrug, and explain, “You agreed to settle with him in front of a sworn officer of the law. Sorry, Key West isn’t for everyone.”

Shopping is a blast in KW. So many Duval Street shops to choose from! Like this one for a cute T-shirt for the folks back home:

And don’t worry if you can’t find what you’re looking for in one place. Chances are, another store just like it is two doors down!Oh, you were looking for something less, um, tacky and more original? Hey, Key West isn’t for everyone!

Key West has plenty of fun spots at which to enjoy a cocktail or two: Rick’s outside bar when our favorite bartender is working, as well as Dante’s poolside bars anytime and Schooner’s Wharf in the afternoon when Michael McCloud is singing. Many good times were had at all three, and during those good times it was easy to think, “Key West isn’t for everyone, but maybe it will be soon for us.”
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An occasional favorite was Cowboy Bill’s Reloaded, where you could watch the sexy bull riding on closed circuit TV in peace and quiet while sitting in a saddle.

Thanks to the cute bartender who was enthralled with my farewell photo project and allowed me one last moment in Key West from behind her bar! “Too bad it didn’t work out for you here,” she said. “They say Key West isn’t for everyone, but it sounds like you had a really rough time.”
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You could say that. After the fourth week of working for a negative, whining boss who continued to pay far less than was promised, you will–as I did–feel the urge to enjoy many such beverages every day! One day, when you have had one too many of these beverages, you will find yourself crying to a sympathetic guy who’s just trying to book sunset sails and snorkeling tours, but he listens to you anyway. When you go back to see him on the farewell photo tour, he remembers you, offers to help you find another job, then wishes you sincere good luck. Key West isn’t for everyone, but nice people do reveal themselves now and then.
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So, it’s bye bye Key West. So long, farewell to living the dream-turned-nightmare at Mile Marker Zero. Sure, many people love living and working in Key West and would never go anywhere else. But, as they will continually remind you, “Key West isn’t for everyone.” After hearing that for the hundredth time to excuse all that is wrong with the place, you will finally agree that you are one of those everyones. You will acknowledge that it’s time to make the long trek north and appreciate all that was a part of your life before you fell this far south. And you won’t have to travel too far north at all. 🙂






14 responses to “Key West Isn’t for Everyone”

  1. Dave Avatar

    Good luck on your travels. How far north are you headed?

  2. savannah Avatar

    safe travels, sugar! ;~D xoxox

  3. Ex-Restaurant Manager Avatar

    Ooh, why don’t you move up here to the Panhandle. You know, the Redneck Riviera? Nah, on second thought, you might want to live where people know why Church and State should stay seperate.

    Good luck on the move, RG!

  4. Kim Ayres Avatar

    Have you done something different with your hair? Suits you 🙂

  5. Mary Avatar

    Woohoo – love it!

  6. Jennifer Avatar

    Oh, wow, if listening Michael McCloud can’t make things better, nothing can. “I’d rather be here, drinkin’ a beer, than freezin’ my ass in the north…”

  7. okcmermaid Avatar

    Great pics and very humorous way to say goodbye to Key West! Good luck in your next adventure.

  8. Annie Avatar

    Love your writing, as always. I’ve only been to Key West for a week years ago. My mother was born there and I wanted to see where she came from. So much has changed, and I can see why it’s not for everyone. Wishing you all the best as you journey north again.

  9. joeinvegas Avatar

    Very nice photo essay. I knew you were short, but not that short. Love the short skirt and sexy legs.

  10. South Florida real estate blog Avatar

    I’m sure you will do very well wherever you end up. Thanks for your sharing. Please keep us posted.

  11. Craig Avatar

    Absolutely hysterical…as funny as your photo tour of a certain DC neighborhood.

  12. susan Avatar

    Much pleasure reading the blog. So glad I could pose for the pictures! Hope it’s sunny where you are.

  13. K Avatar

    That was adorable! Thank you! Best wishes on the next move.

  14. sfexile Avatar

    honey you were looking for the Key West of the 70’s — that’s the last time that place was worth any real fun….same goes for alot of Miami..’cept for that brief window on south beach between 1992-1996 ..oh well..