• Courtney Kirschaum

Key West diary: mistakes were made

Key West Monday April 12, 9:00 a.m.-ish If you’ve been watching the Hemingway documentary on PBS, you may be thinking of coming to Key West to visit his house. Or maybe you're thinking of going to Cuba, because he lived there longer and arguably, more happily.

Key West is prone to bad storms and hurricanes. One devastated the island in 1935 while Papa was still here.

I’ve lived all over the island, yet only one dwelling has offered a practical response to our stormy reality – a generator. FIRST THING TO KNOW ABOUT GENERATORS IS THEY ARE LOUD. (This is me yelling to be heard over the din.) If King Kong and a lawn mower had a love child, it would be a Briggs and Stratton generator.

I will openly admit to looking on this thing with suspicion, because...

...it’s hard to believe this steamer trunk-sized device can keep a pirate in cold beer and Christmas tree lights for four days.

Allegedly, this will.

You could set your watch by its kicking off for a 5-minute test run every Sunday. But, damn this thing is fussy! Lately, it’s been kicking off randomly. It’s so loud, nearby renter’s asked what I asked for the first six months I was here:“WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?” After explaining all of the above, I told them I’d, “do something” about these random starts.

This morning, at the un-Godly early hour of 9:00 a.m. (No circadian rhythm shaming, please!) It kicked off. LOUDLY.

That thing is grumbling like the steam drill that took out John Henry and I'm thinking, “We have electricity, why is the generator on. WTH??” I texted the landlord... My landlord was kind enough to leave a space for me to realize that the electricity was on because... of the generator. Said generator was not malfunctioning and wreaking hellish noise pollution during my precious sleep time out of cruelty, but obligation. Because whaddaya-know, it was actually working as it should. And here comes the part of the email where I'm supposed to tie this neatly together and give it meaning. I’ll try to do a better job with this than I did with generator troubleshooting.

We all make mistakes. King Kong-sized ones. Here are three ways to cope with your mistakes:

  1. Make them in front of a gracious person with a great sense of humor

  2. If at all possible, get a post out of it

  3. Ask yourself, “What would Hemingway do?”

I know what he’d do because he did it. He went to Cuba. And I'm considering it. Hope the lights are on where you are. Have a great week.


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