It is an inconvenience to live twenty five miles outside Key West when your dentist is in the city. Perhaps but another way to look at it is that living outside the city gives me the opportunity to go for a ride on my motorcycle. Which can be an inconvenience as there is only one road between islands and those of us with places to go have to share the highway with people who think "island time" is an invitation to force everyone to slow down to their vacation languor. As it happens the Triumph needs a valve adjustment so I am borrowing my patient wife's Vespa 150 which I actually enjoy riding. Soon I hope my own refurbished Vespa will arrive from Iowa, but that's another story. This is an essay about living the dream - ahead of schedule.
I had an easy ride into town behind some rather slow cars so much so I arrived early for lunch with my wife on Stock Island. The Vespa's top speed is around 65mph on level ground and while that makes passing an iffy proposition unless cars are excessively slow, it also means riding the Vespa doesn't take any longer than driving a car. Buzzing along on a 70mpg 150cc scooter alongside full sized trucks and huge SUVs puts the cry for "energy independence" into perspective! Home Depot did not have the peculiar lightbulb I was looking for, nor did Keys Electric, nor did ACE Hardware on Summerland. Check the Internet was the best advice I got. I tried to shop locally.
However I can't brew my own con leché on the road so I bought a two dollar non-recyclable styrofoam cup of coffee and picked up the Blue Paper to read Rick Boettger's reflections on the elections. You can read them online http://www.kwtn.com/ if you have the patience for the download. Republicans are out of touch he says and have become so by bowing to the radicals on the right who have dumbed down their message to persuade unlikely allies to get together to vote Republican and exclude the majority who don't like radicalism.. Jolly good and next week we find out how Republicans can claw their way back to power. Now why would I want to read that?
My whole day was running ahead of schedule so I decided to try a barber's shop/hair styling salon on Southard Street just around the corner. I had an hour and I expected I might need half that to get my shaggy head shorn.
I walked onto a room that reminded me of my teenage years in an English boarding school when I was senior enough to get my own room. There was a stars and stripes pinned to the far wall with 45rpm album covers pinned next to it. A TV screen on the far wall played inconsequential images to a room that was busy ignoring the message. A tall thin blonde dressed in black was wrapping a seated woman's hair in tin foil while two languid men, possibly employees, studiously ignored me. I sat. "Haircut?" the older man asked as though I might have wandered in to buy a loaf of bread. He approached me with a pair of sheep shears and attacked my excessively long hair with a ferocity that actually made me nervous. Usually I figure the hairdresser is the expert and I tell them simply "not too short, please," and let them get on with it. I worried this guy might have misunderstood and I braced myself to appear in public shorn like a sheep. Bald is fashionable I am told.
Even after a helmet-free ride across town I thought the new look was quite good. All I had to do now was find my dentist and get the old tooth scrubbed. Still ahead of schedule I took a ride around and about chasing Waldo. The Vespa is a lot of fun in town, light and handy and with lots of pep it squirts through everywhere. Truck blocking the lane? No problem! Traffic jam at a four way stop? A quick squirt of the gas and leave the zombies to figure out their own mess. The 150 rides the way the uninitiated expect a 50cc scooter to ride. Seen here on little known Calais Lane, a short cut behind First State Bank on Simonton.
A small cluster of badly parked scooters marks the guest house across the street from my dentist's office. My scooter is the one parked properly with rear tire facing the sidewalk. Sniff.
I breezed in expecting to see the same receptionist I've seen for years at the office. Boy, was I surprised by the frigid reception from a total stranger, and instead of the cheerful young Conch I met the steely gaze of an irritated middle aged wo,an. Oops. My tooth cleaner was the same as usual, a cheerful Mom looking forward to Thanksgiving. We passed a pleasant twenty minutes as she cleaned my ivories. My genes gave me good health and strong teeth so I left ahead of schedule once again.
A nice ride home under the sun over the water on the Overseas Highway. Cheyenne was glad to see me and I took advantage of my early return home to give her a long second walk of the day. No better way to use the time saved than to walk my Labrador.