If we had more readers, this post might get me in trouble. But we don’t. So here goes.
If you live on a small island in the Caribbean there is a distinct chance that you have some sketchy neighbors. I don’t mean this in a bad way, and I am the first to admit that we are definitely someone else’s sketchy neighbors. What I mean is that living here you meet a lot of people who are…not quite linear. Most of the people we know here are super nice and friendly and we readily throw them into categories and think we know who they are. Like, oh yeah, Scott, he’s a boat guy. Or, oh yeah, the Snyders they’re great, they’re like old hippies. Or, Todd, not sure what his deal is but he seems really classy. They don’t spend much time talking about how they got here or what their story is, which I, for one, appreciate. It makes for an interesting vibe: unbelievably laid back while simultaneously maniacally guarded.
But the other day I started thinking about it. It started like this; somehow, we ended up hanging out with some neighbors of ours who have this amazing house of which I am often somewhat jealous. These are established people who have a finished house that has a name and who don’t sleep on a pullout couch. They’re adults. We went over for drinks, got the tour, went for some dinner, had a blast. Very neighborly. Thoroughly enjoyed myself. Got a glimpse into how the other half lives. Jennifer knows them a bit more than I do, so the next day I asked her what their story was. She said she wasn’t sure, but she thought someone else had mentioned he was in furniture. Huh. Ok.
But, I mean, their furniture wasn’t really…noteworthy. And, like, when does he do this furniture-ing? I mean, I’m pretty sure he’s not furniture-ing anything here and he’s here like 60% of the time. Whatever. Maybe he secretly invented furniture, built a house here 20 years ago, and called it a day.
And what about Scott the boat guy? Late forties. Always friendly. Always helpful. Always a little rumpled. A little sunburnt. Lives on a sailboat of some kind. Always see him at the grocery store, or the mail drop, or the bar. Seems to eat most of his meals out. Not flashy, but not starving. Doesn’t really seem like he has any visible means of support and I’m pretty sure he’s been here for years. I know approximately seventeen Scotts. Seriously. Just off the top of my head. Scott is almost the norm.
Finally, it dawned on me. This is the place where you would go if, say, you figured out how to swipe a big chunk of change from under the nose of the company you worked for and you ACTUALLY DID IT and didn’t get caught. Or, like, if you were a cop and you stumbled on a dead guy in a car with a trunk full of money and only the dead guy got turned in. I think when people do stuff like that, like, take the money and run….this is exactly the place they’d to run to. No passport required, not a lot of scrutiny, just a boat ride away from several other nations. Excellent weather.
I know, I know, I’m being dramatic. Probably you can tell I watch a lot of movies. So, when I had this realization the movie I immediately thought of was My Blue Heaven, starring one Mr. Steve Martin. In this gem of a film from 1990, Steve plays a mob informant from NYC who gets relocated to some All-American suburb courtesy of the Federal witness protection program (supervised by none other than Rick Moranis-you know, Honey I Shrunk the Kids?). Anyway, Steve Martin’s character is a zany fish-out-of-water in a very shiny suit. He struggles to adapt. Until…he realizes the old guy at the pet store is one of his old mob buddies who ALSO was relocated to this little slice of heaven. Eventually, he realizes the Feds have “hidden” so many people there that the idyllic suburb houses more criminals than Sing Sing. That might actually be a quote from the movie (which is fabulous, by the way. Embrace the dance sequences). Sorry, I digressed.
Anyway, that’s how I’ve been feeling here on St. John recently. Like everyone has some crazy backstory I don’t know about. Hey listen, I know that most of my fellow island dwellers are not on the lam or in witness protection. I know this. They are just as boring as we are. But a girl can dream.