Story by Chris Shultz
Photo by Mike Marrero
The other night I was walking down Duval Street to get a cold beer, head to the movies and grab a late dinner.
Bopping along the street with my headphones on, a hand reached out and touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a stinky drunk dude tugging at me for change. I shrugged him off, annoyed, and continued bopping my head to the music and walked another block.
Crossing Fleming Street, a goofy tourist in a Hawaiian shirt and sock-filled sandals waved me down in the middle of the road blocking traffic and asking for directions to Sloppy Joes.
Annoyed again, I sent him a down the block and I put my headphones back on.
As I walked to the theater I thought about those two guys and which one bothered me more. Then the revelation hit me: they both want the same thing that I did, a relaxing evening with a beer. Besides the situation of not having a home, I probably wasn’t too much different than that homeless guy asking for change. If you put a Hawaiian shirt on me, I could have been on vacation asking directions for the most famous bar in town.
With this thought in mind I decided to ask locals like myself, random Hawaiian shirt wearing tourists on the street and a few homeless people their opinions about local politics, their favorite bars and advice for people visiting the keys. I wondered how different we really all are.
See if you can guess who is local, who is tourist, and who is homeless. The answers and opinions might surprise you.
At the end of the day when you take away the stereotypes and uniforms that identify us we are all are pretty similar.
Why did you come to Key West?
A) I came here on a job.
B) I came down here for the weather and to be with my friends.
C) It the closest I could get to the zero zone.
What’s you favorite part about Key West?
A) The diversity of the people, and lazy days on the boat
B) To relax and the bars are great.
C) I used to love it for the heat, but not this year.
Do you think there is a homeless problem in Key West?
A) Yes, there are too many homeless people running around.
B) No, not really.
C) Oh, for certain.
Any thoughts about what the city should do about it?
A) Eradicate them.
B) Just let them do their own thing.
C) Leave them alone.
What’s your preferred mode of transportation to get around the town?
B) Park the car and walk
C) My feet
What’s your favorite restaurant in town?
B) Rum Barrel
C) Essies Diner on Flagler.
What’s your favorite movie?
A) The Wizard of Oz
B) Top Gun
C) Being There
What do you think of the local police force?
A) I think they do a good job but they’re over populated.
B) They’re pretty laid back; you can have a beer in front of them.
C) They’re okay.
Have you ever had a run in with them?
A) Police no…Sheriff, yes.
C) A few times.
Where is your favorite place to have a cocktail?
A) The Green Parrot
C) Higgs Beach
What’s you main purpose for walking down Duval street?
A) For business.
B) Shopping and drinking.
C) I stay away from it.
First thing that comes to mind when you hear the words ‘Stock Island’?
A) Do you have any crack to sell?
B) Where the hell is that?
C) Yuck… it’s trouble
How long do you plan on staying in Key West?
A) I’m here for the foreseeable future
B) A week or so.
C) As soon as my passport comes in I’m leaving
Any words of advice about Key West?
A) Enjoy it while you can because it’s disappearing fast, and look both ways twice before you cross the street.
B) Have fun and bring a second liver.
C) Be nice to each other. And bring your condoms.
The gentleman featured on our cover is local actor and lighting director Armando Lodigiani.