I work this entire weekend, every night, Saturday Sunday and Monday and that's okay. However my heart did sink when I went downtown with my wife and we sat at the Courthouse Deli a con leché each and watched the world go by. We were pretty alert so we soon figured something was up with all the greenery.
The plan had been to sit in comfort in the remains of the cold front breeze and listen to the sound check from the Green Parrot but no such luck. The bar was as silent as a bar could be when hosting a St Patrick's Day crowd.
I have to say that it seems to me that the crowds at these events seem to be getting older and older and far from the sun dappled youth of just a few years ago we seem to be getting sun dappled middle aged crowds at these types of events. I am not armed with statistics, just casual observation but it makes sense to me that young people, caught in this endless non-recession, can't afford to spend time and money in Key West as they could in the past.
That is not to say Spring Break isn't happening, that essay is for tomorrow, but things like St Patricks Day, observed on Saturday the 15th(!) people seemed older. Just like Fantasy Fest...This young dude seemed intent on mowing down his elders and intoxicated betters with his scooter:
The city commission has been debating tightening up Fantasy Fest rules for this October, which is already in the planning stages. Some locals, led by former city commissioner and arch-Conch Harry Bethel want to see rules on nudity swept away. Body painting seems inadequate to them even though the crotch and backside crack have to be covered at all times, one hopes good taste makes that obvious but not so.
And one can sympathize with people whose home town gets turned into a display of public bad taste each Fall for a week, but their clamor for toning it down is falling on the very deaf ears of the people who run the bars and make the money. City commissioner Mark Rossi who owns the Rick's /Durty Harry's/ Red Garter complex on one entire block of Duval Street was loud in his condemnation of the rules proposed by the owner of Fausto's Jimmy Weekly. It is weird to me that a city commissioner with an interest in these matters is not automatically recused but to the contrary Rossi told the newspaper he ran specifically to defend his interests!
So far opaque covering for woemn's nipples is still required and body paint at least must be employed to cover everything as usual. For my part I take no joy in most of Fantasy Fest. It is a part of this town's annual series of summer (low season as was) events and there it is. If it went away I would not cry too hard or too long, and these days even what used to be known as the local's parade has become, by my rather tired standards, a bit too popular and thus crowded.
The city's noise ordinance was also up for change recently and the city commission grappled with that for a night. That debate brought to the fore some rather convoluted thinking and unexpected public alliances. Supporters of requiring quieter sound levels downtown found themselves attacked not as saviors of public peace and quiet but as job wreckers. Reduce permitted sound levels the argument went and the town will become a desert, bars will close early each night and people will be out of work.
Never mind that long time residents pointed out they have lived near Duval Street longer than there has been a tradition of noisy bars...The noise ordinance didn't get changed either. It would drive me mad to listen to that cacophony every night I know that.
Things aren't easy to change around here. A few years ago there were proposals to change residential parking rules in Old Town and that debate went back and forth for a few weeks. In the end nothing changed. A few too many permits issued to allow people to park in residential spots were rescinded and that was that. Which is why my car has Monroe county stamped on the license plate. It increases my opportunities to park when I take my car downtown. Open container laws are flexible too, though walking around with alcohol is illegal it takes discretion to be enforcing codes sometimes. As long as people are cool I am okay. I really dislike everyone's need to be annoyed with their neighbors all the time. I try to mind my own business.
We sat for a long while nursing our Cuban coffees and watching people from our spot on the deli bench. It was a lovely day yesterday, fresh, not too hot and with a light cool breeze. No air conditioning needed. We had been to see the movie Omar set in Palestine. It was an Oscar contender me in my opinion should have beaten The Great Beauty from Italy which was a self indulgent piece of fluff by comparison. And. I enjoyed the Italian movie greatly but Omar was brilliantly written, moving and tremendously powerful as a love story, a thriller and a commentary on the Israeli mess in Palestine. If you see one movie check out Omar at the cinema. It's that good.
I always wanted a beach buggy like this when I was a kid. I'm not sure what I was thinking but I saw this one and I recalled that long lost feeling of desire for one.