Friday, November 28, 2008

800 Johnson Lane

The eight hundred block of Johnson Lane parallels Truman Avenue north of Windsor Lane. It's one of those impossibly narrow Key West streets never designed for modern vehicles:And i exemplifies the prettiness Key West is unique for in cities across North America. the fact is, its hard sometimes to remember that not everywhere is like this, narrow impractical and varied. The details make the lane worth noting: The contrasts are vivid. On one side of the lane there is this brand new development, of several units inside the refurbished building. My wife dragged me in for a quick look during an open house last year. Boy, were we shocked when the agent revealed an asking price of one and a half million US dollars. They appear to be sold, too:And directly opposite we have this, on a more human scale altogether:Johnson Lane continues the contrasting themes as it goes. Trim little Conch cottages:And not one but two outdoor toilets awaiting removal. I figured apicture of one would be sufficient to make the point:Houses awaiting the loving touch:Parked next to renovations exhibiting all the refinements money can buy: off street parking......and carefully masked protuberances so vital to comfortable living but so visible in a crass way, normally. Not here:Older key West:And older Key West with a lick of pastel paint:Off street parking is always valuable as you can tell from the narrow confines of a street like this. But what price an elderly tree like this?

The surroundings, be they ever so beautiful can't seem to dispel the inherent testiness of close living. This time with a new twist, a veiled threat perhaps I hadn't seen before in a Keep Out sign. Perhaps an ironic sense of humor I'd like to think:

And if you need it illustrated, life in old town Key West is life lived at close quarters.Imagine your regular American suburban lot then check out these offsets. Imagine washing up the dishes at the kitchen sink and staring out the window at your neighbor perhaps three feet away...

And yet for the lucky ones, there is room enough to keep a boat. Personally I like having a dock in my suburban backyard, with a boat in the water for the summer months (mine is on its trailer now as the waters are decidedly cold):

And having thus reached the other end of the block we find ourselves looking back at the afternoon sun that sets off contrasting shades under the palms:

Johnson Lane was a peaceful place in the late afternoon but I wasn't completely alone, a silent shadow whisked by:

And the inevitable dog walker crossed the end of the lane on a colorful stretch of Windsor:

All we needed was the hum of bees to complete the illusion of summer in November, but we're told even bees are in short supply as our world continues to change precipitously, and disastrously, around us. Not Old Town Key West, that stays the same we hope with just minor variations. Living history.