key west, 1991

My friend from Miami was getting married right after our college graduation - so a number of our friends were invited to their "surprise" wedding, planned by the parents of the prospective bride and groom. We were basically told to assemble at their house in Dade County and to expect to spend 3 days on this experience.

 

I was still in DC at the time, living in my run-down student group house with seven of my male and female friends. My friend Wendy and I decided to road trip all the way down to the tip of Florida. I didn't have a driver's license at the time, so she did all the driving and I tried best to keep her entertained. Wendy was obsessed with the soundtrack from Jesus Christ Superstar, so we listened (and sung along) to that tape over and over. She was driving, so I had no choice.

 

We got to our friend's house where we boarded a tour bus. No one knew where we were being taken to as the bus headed south; by then, the only logical destination was somewhere along the Florida Keys. So we got a vacation in Key West along with a wedding. Nice.

 

The guests were housed in a number of bed-and-breakfasts. The parents of the to-be-weds immediately set out to go look for some pot to smoke around the pool, which was funny, because I recalled being completely weirded out when I met them a few spring breaks ago - pot-smoking was a family affair in this household, a completely mysterious culture for me at the time. Revisiting that, I still could not digest the concept.

 

The wedding itself took place on one of those touristy pirate ships. My friends, with their costumed wedding party in tow, were married by Pirate Bob. We spent our few days in Key West soaking in the excess of the Jimmy Buffet vibe of the place, and then returned to Miami for our home destinations.

 

This picture of me was taken a short while after I drastically cut my super-long hair, which was like my signature during college. In the sentimental shojo-manga fashion, I think a big reason why I did that was because this boy I was in love with dumped me. Right before I got it cut, I did some black and white portraits with a friend who was taking photography classes... she did some interesting things with eggs placed on my long hair while I was lying on the floor.

 

In many ways, this wedding trip was the last hurrah for my group of college friends with whom I was close since freshman year. They throve on being different from the pack, in a self-deprecating, satirical way. I went along with most of their bizarre adventures but was not one for the ideas. They were also good-natured people. Since graduation, we all scattered toward different areas of the country, the world, separate callings in life. I am no longer in touch with any of them. I do hope that my friends married by Pirate Bob put together a good life for themselves.

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Taken in June 1991