It ain’t pretty, but there is a certain poetry to working at the Sunset Grill. The tin roofed, cement floored patio. The antique wood patio tables. The rolls of paper towels set out instead of napkins. The palm trees waving in the flowery breeze. The traffic whizzing by on 30th Avenue.
A customer told me why he likes the place. “This is old Florida,” he said, and I think I understand. It’s about hot days and casual food, people who stay when others end their holidays, shorts and tank tops and flip flops, old-timers, alligators, huge live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, vegetation growing mad, and the wild, weather beaten corners of life. It is not strip malls and corporate chains.
I never thought I’d be living here in Florida, but life has a way of twisting and turning and here I am. It kind of feels like a hiatus from the real world, a semi-working half-vacation… but then again, it doesn’t.
Maybe the step back from my old life in New York City allows me to really take stock. Maybe waiting tables in this place that really, is just a simple place with a long history, is allowing me to move towards what I really want to do with my life. It’s a place and a time to redefine who I am, and remember who I was before the world took over and had its say about where I was headed.