Sunday, January 31, 2016
Key West - No Tea, No Sympathy, No Sale
After we left the theater and headed up Duval Street. It was 9:30 PM and Duval Street was filled with people. Noise was blaring out from every bar. People carried go-cups on the sidewalks making their way to the next bar. As we approach Sloppy Joe's I told my friend about my walk up Duval Street last year after seeing another play at the Waterfront Playhouse. I was approached by a young lady hooker who asked me if I would like to party to which I replied "You've got the wrong guy" upon which I crossed Duval and headed east on Front Street to Simonton to avoid any more encounters. You see I'm gay and the thought of getting approached by a female prostitute cracked me up.
As we weaved our way up Duval Street I told my friend about an English couple I had worked with in the spring of 2004. They fell in love with a cute as can be two-story carriage house condominium located on Peacon Lane. The place was part of a larger project on Eaton Street where a grand old house was made into several first class condominiums. The project had just been completed. Everything looked great. They made a written cash offer on the unit that priced somewhere in the $700,000 range. I had hand delivered to the listing agent on a Thursday night. (This is in an age before Docu-sign existed and pdf's were not then in use.) It's twelve years later and I remember this deal with clarity.
I followed my regular routine the next day. I went to the gym around 6:00 AM, worked out, and rode my bike back home. That's what people who live here do: they follow routines. That's what most people do no matter where they live.
When I got home I had several messages on my phone - all from the English man. I called him. He said his wife had been up all night crying. She was upset about the offer. He asked if I could come over to their guest house to discuss things. I dressed and drove over right away.
We met in a private space on the north side of the building. I asked what had happened. The lady said something to the affect "Gary, I can't walk up and down Duval Street all my life!" I asked again and she responded with a question "What do people who live here do?" as if people who live in Key West live alternative lives that only evolve around walking up and down Duval Street every day like characters in the Star Wars bar.
I responded similarly to the English lady. I asked her what she does in England. I told her that we have three great local theaters - the Waterfront Playhouse, the Red Barn Theater, and the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center. I told her about the opening night after parties where they could meet lots of new friends many of whom have rich personal histories from all over the world. I know a lot of retired and semi-retired folks love going to the gym or doing yoga every day. I told her we have a great public golf course and said there are lots of boat slips if they are into boating. We have world class fishing. I told her whatever she does in England she could do here.
The gent told me he still wanted to buy the place but she had made up her mind and it was useless trying to change it. Key West was too foreign for her so we withdrew the offer.
My office is located one-half block east of Duval Street. I rarely walk on that street. The noise and throngs of tourists drive me crazy. Most locals avoid that street as well. There are some locals that hang out in the bars, but they are the exception to the rule.
Duval Street provides a novel setting for tourists who need something to look at and someplace to go. Locals live their own lives in personal spaces. Some spaces are small and funky. Some places are grand. We have a wide mix of people from all over the world that make this little island their home. I sell houses. If you are looking to buy a place here, please give me a call. I will show you there is life beyond Duval Street.
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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell
- Gary Thomas
- Key West, Florida, United States
- I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.