Key West [11.23.2006]

Originally posted on MySpace on November 23, 2006:

Lately it seems that telling others your personal business is nothing more than telling others your personal business. There exists no therapeutic catharsis, only an open invitation for your personal life to become the topic of public conversation. With what’s being talked about comes fixed perceptions of a person. Unfairly based, but inevitable in the widespread assumptions of others. It’s hard to change what has been said. It’s difficult to alter what has been done. It’s exhausting trying to escape.

Last week when my job asked me to work down in Key West for a couple of days, I immediately jumped at the offer. A change in scenery was very much needed. I have never been visited The Keys, so to experience a completely brand new location seemed enticing. I asked for numerous friends to come hang out with me down there given the abundance of free time that I was going to be facing once my skimpy work schedule was figured out. This was a last-minute trip, so the round of declinations was expected.

I had no choice but to set forth down in the southernmost point alone. Club hopping. Bar hopping. Breakfast, Lunch. Dinner. The beach. The movies. Shopping. Museum tours. All alone.

I’ll admit that being alone bugged me at first, but I was on an all-expense paid trip. I had no choice but to make the most of it. A big slap in the face came when I signed up for an island boat tour. $50. Open-bar. Hors de voir. 3 hours. The deal sounded absolutely perfect. When I went to pay, I was met with the, ”Oh, I’m very sorry. You’re alone? This tour is for parties of two or more. No single riders. Sorry. Anyway… why in earth are you down here in the Keys all by yourself?” (As if I was given other options.)

Eventually I found a boat tour that allowed single riders. Same deal. $50. Open-bar. 3 hours. The weather was beautiful, and instead I’d be on a sailboat. I stepped foot onto the boat with excitement, only to be stepping foot onto the just-got-married honeymoon boat cruise. I swear that every newlywed honeymooning in The Keys was on this boat. And here I was, the intruder on their love boat who only had devilish thoughts and intentions of destroying their open bar. (I never did in case you were wondering.)

A short, old man felt the need to follow me around the boat a majority of the 3 hours. I’m downing a mimosa at one of the tables on the deck. Guess who decides to sit right beside me and smile? I roll my eyes and begin to wander downstairs to check out the cabin. Guess who coincidentally shows up right behind me still smiling? I successfully make every attempt to ignore him, and then venture out to the side rail at the back of the boat. Guess who miraculously arrives 2 minutes behind me to stand right beside me? GUESS WHO WAS STILL SMILING AT ME? I eventually found a seat at the back corner of the boat where I was able to put on some headsets and blast music for the remainder of the time, and lose the short, old man from inflicting any further flirtation. When the tour was over, and the boat finally docked.. I looked at the short, old man who sat at one of the tables and made a gesture that seemed to have made his entire day. I approached him, simply said hello, shot him a smile and walked off the boat. What could the harm be? After all, that may be me in 30 years.

I then grabbed a sandwich and some conch fritters (which are all the rage down there), found a place on the beach, and watched the sun go down. I walked up and down Duval Street, hit up the bars and clubs. Did some shots. Smoked a Cuban cigar. And eventually found my way back to the hotel room.

As much as I initially disliked the truth that I was all alone in a beautiful and romantic location, it only took one phone call to a friend to remind me how much I had it made at that very moment in time. Being alone at that time was actually perfect. People who constantly have to be in a relationship by jumping from one person to the next annoy the ever living shit out of me. I was able to escape everyone and everything that depresses me here in Tampa. I was given the opportunity to experience something completely brand new without having to cater to or be annoyed by anyone. I was free to meet new people without any pre-judged notions of who I am. Why didn’t I realize this at that beginning of the trip?

I told Katina that I felt a tad bit of reluctance in coming back home. She claims that I am, always have been and always will be Mr. Indecisive. Maybe she’s right. I can be a highly indecisive individual at times. Or maybe she’s completely wrong. Maybe I’ll start making decisions that I appreciate from the get-go. I’ve already made the decision to keep my personal business to myself, and to only disclose to close friends when absolutely necessary.

Whatever the case, my weekend in Key West was very different, but fabulous nonetheless. I actually look forward to going back next month for work. Maybe I’ll even work the next time around? Afterall, that’s why I’m being sent down there in the first place.

A gigantic THANK YOU to my special friend Sterling in Chicago who opened up my eyes. One phone call is all it took. The best phone call I made. I love you!

Here I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from one of my all-time favorite television shows…

“Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well… that’s just fabulous.”

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