Thursday, December 18, 2003

What's My Line?

I posted a couple of weeks ago about the boyfriend and I dining at our new favorite restaurant and learning that they had a new executive chef from Louisiana. A couple of days ago, boyfriend came home at lunchtime to discover a message from one of the restaurant's owners asking if he could put together a band (on extremely short notice) to play for Chef's birthday tomorrow night. He managed to hustle up a couple of players for a jazz/blues trio, and Tuesday after work we went to the restaurant so he could discuss details with the owner and Chef. (That's what everyone calls him: "Chef.")

That same day there was a "Holiday Dining and Entertainment Guide" supplement in the newspaper which featured a nice profile of the restaurant and some background on Chef. It said that he's from Lafayette, Louisiana, lived in L.A. for 9 years, owned several restaurants there, and did green room catering for events like the Grammys, Oscars and American Music Awards. When I read that, I thought, "Hmmmm...and he's here on our little island because...?" I was recounting the highlights of the article to the boyfriend as we dined on our comped meal after his meeting with Chef. And I added, "Maybe he did...maybe he didn't..." Boyfriend laughed and replied, "That's the great thing about St. Thomas--you can come here and re-create yourself."

I've written about this before, but I was really thinking again this week how this is a place where reinvention seems to be the norm, rather than the exception. Of course it matters if you choose a desirable new persona. We had a dear friend who was inspired to re-create himself in the mold of Jeffrey Wright's character "Peoples" in Shaft. Needless to say, he was basically run out of town on two islands and is now, well, god knows where. We had another friend we worked with our first year here--someone we spent a lot of time around and who lived upstairs from us for part of that time--who later vanished from sight having burned his bridges on every front.

This is a small place...filled with people with big ideas and dreams. There are a lot of real characters here. It's what makes it sort of a wacky place to live...with a world of possibilities. After all, don't a lot of people dream about moving to "paradise" and livin' the good life? So if you're ever down this way, take a look around...the person right next to you just might be somebody you'd least expect.


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