I have a confession to make: I turned a corner last week and discovered a change in myself of which I am not proud. Key West is finally starting to rub off on me and not in a good way. I used to make fun of people who couldn't be bothered to drive five miles across Key West saying it was too far. My wife once had a classroom aide in her school on Stock Island who quit the job a few weeks in as it was "too far" to drive across Key West every day.To commute four miles for a road trip hound like me is nothing. I enjoy my 25-mile commute...and I was always critical of stores that needed two outlets to serve this small town. Fausto's the grocery has one on Fleming near Duval for Old Town residents, and another a mile away on White Street to serve New Town....Absurd I'm sure you'll agree.
What happened was Chuck and Wayne decided we were overdue dinner together so they asked my wife and I to choose a place to meet. I had been missing Cuban food at El Siboney lately and I suggested that to my wife who enthusiastically agreed. She was surprised when I explained I meant the new place, a few months old, on Stock Island. No need to drive "all the way" to the original location on Catherine Street. I caught myself: "all the way?" I was sounding like some homeboy afraid to leave his neighborhood. But the truth is, driving to town from the Lower Keys where we all live was too far. We didn't want to deal with the traffic and all that parking nonsense in Old Town. I have joined the ranks of the absurdist population of these small specks of land.
Dinner was fine and fortunately the former Rusty Anchor makes an excellent venue, clean spacious and quiet compared to the hustle and jostle of the tile floored original El Siboney, all noise and garish lights and loud staff. So now I have an excuse never to eat on Catherine Street again.
Then I had to take my wife to the airport for a flight to a conference and we rounded out a Stock Island visit at Roostica for a pre-flight lunch. I had a ridiculous sausage egg and cheese sandwich in best Italian-American style while my wife had more genteel eggs Benedict.
Stock Island is moving up in the world. Pretty soon we won't need to go to the metropolis of Key West and all that traffic and parking and crowding...I need to get out more.