Christmas in the Florida Keys With G
If you read my last blog you know how much l hate the holidays, so what better place to spend Christmas as far away as you can get from the traditional holiday than the Florida Keys where it averaged 80 degrees the entire three days of our stay. (Though it wasn’t much warmer than Long Island where my sister lives who called Christmas Eve and told me it was a freakish 75!)
Now let me ask you something. If you had a partner or even a fuck buddy or, hell, a bar fly acquaintance who offered to take you to the Keys on his dime, wouldn’t you be happy? Even if you both were already in Fort Lauderdale?
Ah, but you haven’t met my George, my 78 year old boy, who l drove down from PA to persecute me for the entire winter in my house in Fort Lauderdale (he has a cardiac condition and l felt guilty about leaving him to deal with Old Man Winter) and who l now masochistically took to Pine Key just seventeen miles from Key West to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (He’s even a bigger holiday basher than me.) Any of you who have vacationed here know the Keys are no low rent district, not at two hundred bucks a night.
BTW, without even realizing it until after the fact, the resort l chose, Sugar Loaf Lodge which we had first visited a few years ago at mile marker 17 on the Overseas Highway, and the small airstrip next door, are the sites of the climactic last scenes in my just released book, “Buy Guys.” (Out on Wilde City Press.)
Funny, they say you pick the same kind of relationship your parents had, and my folks fought almost every day l knew them till my father took the easy way out by dropping dead one night coming home from a VFW meeting. Well, ditto with me and G. In fact, bickering is our modus operandi. Guess it beats being bored.
Anyway, l offer all this as background because G is the world’s greatest scooch – that’s New Yorkeese for constant complainer – and l have to say l think he was determined on our little 72 hour junket to outdo himself, asking asshole question after asshole question like he had just dropped from Mars (or maybe he’s been an undiagnosed autistic all his life, ya think?):
Why is the room so small?
Why is the frig in the room so small? (Cause it’s a compact frig.)
Why are the towels so short?
Why don’t they have a microwave? (Cause they don’t.)
Why so long a drive? (I did all the driving, because of his macular degeneration, in my car with my gas.)
Why don’t they offer rolls or donuts with the morning coffee? (Cause they don’t.)
Why don’t they have a restaurant? How can they call themselves a resort with no restaurant? (Cause the Italian restaurant on the property was too elegant for the resort’s clientele and morphed into a pizza/sub place run by two Nam vets.)
Why don’t they sell pizza by the slice? (Cause they don’t.)
Why don’t they have a lifeguard at the pool? What if l was here all by myself and l drowned? (Wishful thinking.)
I usually retort with “You’re the Arab. So why is my dick bigger than yours?” But that only gets his usual, one-size-fits-all refrain, “Shut the fuck up.”
Or when we went to Key West Christmas Eve afternoon – we had been there before – less than half an hour away:
Do we really have to go? (And what else do you wanna do, sleep in the two hundred dollars a night room l’m paying for?)
Most of the time l don’t bother responding at all because with at least one of his five thousand dollar hearing aids out of commission, what’s the point? I either have to repeat myself three times (“You’re mumbling”) or he mishears what l said so that an innocuous comment suddenly is morphed into some kind of insult. “I look like shit.” “Whatyamean I look like shit? YOU look like shit!”)
By pure luck l got a metered space just two blocks from Duval, but G, who was wearing floppies designed by a foot fetish sadist, complained, “l hope we don’t have to walk too far.”
His response to the preponderance of foreign tourists, most conspicuously Japanese: “We’re surrounded by heathens, and of all days on Christmas.”
Yea, you might say my George is the gay version of Archie Bunker, one of his folk heroes.
Our brief moment of armistice came at lunch, our Christmas Eve feast you might say, at an outdoor restaurant right on Duval, two blocks from the three gay bars left in town. (The trio of ancient nursing home bunk buddies probably younger than us exiting from one of the bars was not an encouraging sign.)
“Hey,” said G after complaining about his shrimp kabob, “we’re actually getting along without fighting.” That’s because after a while l tune him out like background noise.
Such complacency disappeared a few minutes later when we passed a posh cosmetics boutique and the super groomed gay boy standing outside the entrance tried to push some cologne sample on me.
“Man, l don’t even wear deodorant,” l blurted out, to which l then held up my armpit, sniffed it and said, “Wanna lick?” I blamed my outrageously delicious behavior on the heavily rum-laced southernmost punches we had just slugged down at lunch, but G was positively mortified. “You’re a fucken embarrassment. I’m not talkin,’ to you for the rest of this trip.” I just shrugged my shoulders. “That’s the nicest thing you said to me all day.”
Later l regretted l hadn’t bought that T-shirt hanging up in one of the souvenir novelty shops that had emblazoned on the front my life’s philosophy, “Go fuck yourself, you fucken fuck.”
Or better yet, my favorite, “Ask me if l give a fuck, go ‘head and ask me.” Betya wearing it on a Saturday night at the Ramrod would get me a trick quicker than trolling around bare chested.
Come that night, Christmas Eve, with only my Bud Lite from the Tiki bar to console me, l listened to his non-stop wailings how nobody said “Merry Christmas” anymore or sang the traditional Christmas carols, this from a guy who uses the word fuck with every other breath (I used to talk like the former Sunday school teacher I had been before I met him) and hasn’t walked into a church in the forty odd years l’ve known him while he criticizes my atheistic view of the world. (On that point he’s right.)
Okay, l know, l know, by now you’re saying, why the fuck don’t l just put a pillowcase over his head? Well, there are two good reasons why haven’t performed the ultimate mercy killing:
I don’t want to end up in prison being some inked, built-like-a-brick shithouse motherfucker’s bitch for the rest of my days though I’m beginning to reconsider that prospect, and
I don’t want to be alone in my rapidly declining years though l have the bucks to “adopt” a true daddy’s boy of say 25 or 30, like the tall, ironing board thin, thoroughly tattooed (front and back) young hottie staying in the room next to ours who George fantasized about a life together (G just fantasizes, l just fuck), at least as long as my money kept him in the meth-induced lifestyle to which he was probably accustomed and distracted him long enough from his iphone to blow me.
Funny, but when you do a junket like this on a high holy day like Christmas, you forget just about everything is closed. So on our way home from Key West, we stopped at a Publix supermarket and bought a rotisserie chicken and some cold cuts and rolls for our anticipated Christmas Day feast.
Balmy, sweaty, sunny Christmas Day, lounging at the pool, just the two of us, G kept badgering me to call the Galley Grill, a restaurant about eight miles down the road that the humpy older resort help at the Tiki bar coffee urns that morning said might be open. It wasn’t, but Boondocks Cafe ten miles down the road was. (That’s why God invented Google.)
“It isn’t Cuban is it?” said Judgmental G. Don’t feel slighted you Latin boys out there, one of G’s many phobias is foreign food or cuisine except his own Middle Eastern. “We’re turning right around if it’s Cuban.”
Now Boondocks didn’t open till 5 and G, not wanting to be the first in the place, suggested we don’t leave until 5:30. So tell me why at 4:30 while l was working on this blog on my AT&T tablet on our little patio overlooking the Gulf of Mexico did G, acting like some menopausal bitch, yell at me, “lf you’re gonna keep fucken around with that, l ain’t gonna!” Is it me, guys, is it me?
Twenty minutes later, we were out the door.
In the end we both had Porterhouse steak. (The rotisserie chicken and cold cuts came back to Lauderdale.) And with a round of potent hurricanes, a grand old time was had by all. That is after l escorted my stubborn, spoiled 78 year old boy with the incontinence problem to the men’s room. (“I’m not gonna make it. Where the fuck is the bathroom in this place?”) Waiting outside the john, l took a text from one of favorite fuck buddies back in Lauderdale as l quietly lusted after all the young, bearded men in the restaurant, a few of which had even given me more than a passing glance that persuaded me from parking my Honda Element on the railroad tracks for at least another week.
Ah, but back to our hurricanes. Back at the resort, not one dagger was exchanged between me and hubby the entire night. No wonder liquor helped solidify young America’s fledgling economy.
In “The News Barometer,” one of the local papers l had picked up the previous morning while we were having breakfast at Mangrove Mama’s, some guy with an obvious interest in selling booze had taken a full page ad entitled “Courage in Marathon” in which he thanked a trio of bros for apparently voting for the repeal of Marathon’s 1500 foot rule, “a protective law designed to stop the opening of any new liquor stores within 1500 feet of pre-existing liquor stores.”
“Free enterprise,” he declared patriotically, “has now returned to our community.”
Just what the Keys needed. More liquor stores. No wonder part-time writer and fulltime alcoholic Hemingway loved Key West’s Sloppy Joe’s so much, and why everybody, if they can’t start the day with a lay, should, at the very least, begin it with one stiff drink.
Pic: G in front of Mangrove Mama’s.