The Morning of New Year’s Eve in Key West
Not surprisingly, Key West guidebooks don’t tell you that if you stay at an oceanfront resort near Mallory Square, you might very well wake up to a docked honkin’ huge cruise ship blocking your view of sunrises until evening sunsets. It’s not like these floating cities are indiscreet or small, they take up the space of 3 city blocks. Yet, the party goes on and on, just like Peter Gabriel’s ghost likes to travel. It’s a good time to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Key West.
This New Year’s Eve morning in Key West, the cruise ship is gone. Herring gulls are screeching, flying back and forth near our balconies; and I can only imagine that this behavior is due to some hotel guests either deliberately feeding them or thoughtlessly leaving food scraps where the birds can reach. It’s like gulls are yelling: get up, it’s 8:00 a.m.; where’s my bagel? The sounds of birds certainly beats that persnickety baby whining down below, and I’m so relieved his parents had the good sense to pick up their bottles of beer and chocolate doughnuts and wheel the kid off the pier.
If that doesn’t wake you up, Room Service will. We could leave a note on the door-hanger order that asks the deliverer to quietly open the door, deposit the cart and leave, like I have done on other occasions. There is no reason I need to meet face-to-face with a food-service cart pusher when my hair looks like it got caught in a blender on the way to the door, with one arm in my robe and the other sleeve over my leg dragging the tie.
After one is up and retreats to her balcony to place laptop in lap because the table is too low to type, unless one wants to plant fat butt on hard cold ceramic floor, there is no going back to sleep. The hotel guys are busy pushing out all of the carts, grills, tables, folding chairs, cut-out palm tree stands and other important decorative accessories to the pier, clanging, jangling. Tonight, all of Key West will descend on this place to watch the Key Lime Ball drop and celebrate New Year’s Eve in Key West. Our bellman — who told us “we do not judge in Key West,” yet some fool pushed our tutu-wearing bellman off his bike and gave him a gash on his forehead — will be there, no doubt.
Elbow-to-elbow bodies, spilling drinks on each other, shrieking, hollering, dancing, bumping and grinding, singing at the top of their merry little COPD lungs and having a helluva good time, which they will not remember the following morning. I wish I could show you a photo of the Key Lime Ball drop, as I am in a good position to do so. But that would require staying up until midnight to enjoy a proper New Year’s Eve in Key West, and that just ain’t gonna happen.
Photos: Elizabeth Weintraub and Adam Weintraub