This is your chance. I'm about to inject abit of stream of consciousness. Flee this delusional paradigm. It's long and jaded. There are plenty of other forums to read. Okay then, have it your way...
I moved down here over 12 years ago for a job where I am still happy employed. Yes really, this has been my only job in Key West! Granted I moved to Key West without ever having been to Key West. This place is not for everyone as I found out, but it was for me. First tip: just because the bars don't legally close til 4am doesn't mean you have to be there every night. I only mention this because of the person who recruited me for my position lasted only 6 months in this town because he did not adhere to the aforementioned rule.
I only discovered this Trip Advisor Forum four months ago. I will be the first to admit I read more than I write. And what I have noticed is that there are an abundance of Key West diplomats (do you need to be personally named: Arnie,Seabus,Flattop, Jaywep, Ohio, oh there are dozens of you- I apologize for not naming you all) praising or even trumpeting the virtues of this fine city. Quite often I have found that people want to help you for their own benefit, disguising it as your benefit. So many of you take time with no personal agenda to lead people in the direction to have a positive experience where they believe you would have. Who does this in the real world? I find that some people only want the bad dirt. But Taking the time out of your own life to benefit others? I wish I were only so pure! Example: some people love Irish Kevin's- others would think sending them there would be like receiving a case of migraines. These Key West Trip Advisor Tour Guides are here so often, no matter how redundant the question may be-only to give proper response. I applaud all of you. People try to help you in this town to help you. No reason except that they want to see you succeed. How pure is that!
I grew up in Massachusettes but have lived most of my life in different parts of Florida: Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando, Key West, Sugarloaf. I will say this: I have never met a community such as this that would not judge on appearance. The first week I moved to Key West I happened to meet Shel Silverstein. On his physical appearance alone, one might have thought he had just roused himself from a park bench. It was as if he was wearing a hand me down toga. He had a distinct aura about him: everknowing. He was Bald but bearing a scruffy beard. And the thing is; no one judged him. Ah to be sterotyped...Case in point; my older brother who happened to be a math professor at the age of 21- (thanks for setting the bar bro) was looking for an apartment on a Saturday- granted he has long hair no beard, no toga- shorts and shirt- He does not receive eye contact at all. His application could have very well been written on invisible ink. He returns on Monday after school attired in his suit that he is required to wear, is met with apartment managers stumbling over one another to grant approval. This happens in Jacksonville, not in Key West. In Key West it is not even face value, it's human value. I walk through my neighborhood in Sugarloaf Key and people I have not officially ever met wave hello to me. For no reason other than to say,"Hi neighbor". And I reciprocate. Living in this town is like living through the 1970's again. I have lived in cities when walking down the street means that some individuals are sizing me up to try to jump me. No I am not exagerrating. This town will have our occasional scandal,(political or otherwise). But hey,what do you want- we basically have a week out of the year where we celebrate pushing public nudity to its farthest regions- but by and large this city is full of love and compassion. This is the life. This is desire.
We are Key West.