A fortunate temporary assignment to Key West, on a Castro “death watch,” provides the perfect opportunity to experience all that Key West can offer.
It was snowing in Washington, D.C., and after battling skidding cars on the Beltway for an extra two hours trying to get into work, I suddenly decided that it was time for me to head someplace sunny. It was my lucky day after all, because when I hit the office, everyone was in an uproar about reports from Havana that Cuban dictator Fidel Castro once more was on his deathbed. Bad news for Fidel and great news for me. I was a Caribbean and Spanish language specialist and, within hours, I was flying off to our little unit on Key West, the last of a chain of islands dribbling down from Florida toward Cuba.
I was able to hold on to my “put-upon” stoic face in negotiations with my employers over the short-notice, unknown duration assignment to negotiate four days of expenses-paid vacation time on top of the news media death watch on Castro no matter how long it lasted. Time away from snow-clogged Washington at the gay capital, warm, and sunny-beached Key West. How could I have been so lucky? And to add to that, when I called my significant other, Brian, he jumped at the chance to join me on the trip. So, I slogged back to our apartment, and we threw our skimpy Speedos into a suitcase, and we were off.