By Leigh Pujado
Originally published Spring 2003 The Key West Citizen
Spring Break Key West 2003 was in full swing last week. The air was filled with the sounds of a thousand dainty scooter horns; their young riders dodging delivery trucks on Duval, cutting off motorcycles and heading the wrong way down Southard. Downtown, the Abercrombie & Fitch crowd in their $75 t-shirts searched for the cheapest place to drink. Youthful sunbathers from the Gulf to the Atlantic, lounging pool side all snug in their Victoria’s Secret bathing suits while Rachel from the Galleon ran her ass off behind the bar waiting on a thirsty afternoon crowd.
What a martyr she was, taking each group order with precision and the ability to run 8 separate credit cards for 8 separate drinks. She was godlike, well, almost. She had to pee. She told the thirsty little bandits that she’d be right back. She said, “Hold on, I’ll be right back!” And she ran to the ladies room.
Now maybe it’s because they were just rude and ridiculous. Maybe it was because sorority girls are used to sharing a bathroom with 200 other girls, but one of those college chicks actually followed Rachel into the bathroom and exclaimed over the stall, “I know you’re busy but when you come out, we need a rum & coke, a pina colada……”
Rachel told the girl that if she couldn’t have any privacy in the ladies room, she wasn’t getting any drinks out of the bar.
Who taught these people how to act? Do they behave this way back home in the North? Perhaps we would have to invade one of their towns to fully understand the phenomena of the Spring Breaker mentality.
What if we as locals went on Spring Break? Where would we go? Maybe Toledo, Ohio? How about Des Moines, Iowa? Possibly Pocatello, Idaho? That’s it! I can see the banners now: SPRING BREAK POCATELLO 2003!
Traveling en masse, a large Key West local community would receive a special group rate airfare-hotel combo package on our trip to Pocatello. Of course we would all dress alike in our shorts, flip-flops and antiquated t-shirts that said stuff like, “Keep Peary Court Green,” “Tony Tarrantino for Mayor” or “Fantasy Fest 1992.” Maybe we could all wear clothing with West Marine labels and shrimper boots.
As tourists, we Key Westers would be all over the local attractions; the Mr. Potato Head Museum, the Ted Kazinsky look-a-like contests and the local strip club “Taters.” Perhaps there would be a town square where they sell giant russet potatoes painted up with Northern scenes that we could mail back to our loved ones down south. These “Potato Postcards” might say, “Too bad you’re boiling in hell down South while we’re all cool in Pocatello!
We could all rent giant S.U.V.’s, drive them around at 12 miles per hour and park those big suckers anywhere we please; sidewalks, across driveways, in the middle of the freeway. Oh yeah, and we would honk the hell out of those booming S.U.V. horns. “Yeah Bubba! Wooooo Whoooo! We’re in Pocatello, baby!”
At night we could take downtown Pocatello by storm, showing those Idahoans, as they likely call themselves, how we do things in the Keys. Speaking in our vernacular, we’d say things like, “How bout another Bud, Bubba,” and “Gotta hit the head.”
Hitting the bars in our newly purchased “I Poc’d a Local in Pocatello” souvenir t-shirts, the youngest breakers would try to use their Monroe County Library cards and Green Parrot Tradesman Passes as I.D. Of course it would be our turn ask stupid questions like, “Which way are the mountains?” “How far is it to Michigan?” and “Does the land go all the way around Pocatello?” To each and every bartender, we’d ask, “Do you, like, live here?” and “What do you got to drink that’s kind of outdoorsy and Idaho-y?”
When we get good and stinking drunk, we’ll stumble the streets, arm in arm singing, “She’ll be Coming Around the Mountain When She Comes,” all the way back to our hotel rooms which we may or may not trash.
Sadly, as our Pocatello Spring Break draws to a close, we’ll load our hung over bones and souvenir potatoes onto the plane as our most sophisticated members make a last attempt to hit on the flight attendants. And finally, we’ll arrive home to our precious Key West, refreshed, unscathed and looking sharp as ever in our new “I Love to Fart–Pocatello, Idaho” t-shirts.