Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Vignettes XVI

Today is the day:
He is popping up everywhere even on a little scooter decal on a Key West city street. As I write Barack Obama is President-Elect and as you read this most likely after twelve noon eastern time he will be the 44th President of the United states. I hope he can meet our expectations, which are limitless at the moment...
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I was on the parking garage of an afternoon, recently at Grinnell Street and I was enjoying the blue sky. I suppose a poet might have called it cerulean but the names for shades of color leave me confused. Then a plane came crashing through heading for the airport:Looking down I saw Finnegans Wake, the Irish pub enjoying the last of the evening sun along with a couple of cyclists:And on the other side these evocative, old Key West tin roofs proudly displaying rusty marks of the passage of time:And then I photographed the sewage plant for the Whalton Lane essay and walked back down to my motorcycle.
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I was in the Tax Collector's on Big Pine Key paying the annual motor tax on the Nissan and the Sebring ($172 for both for two years, quite the bargain Florida) and I saw this which looked like a nice juxtaposition: The Big Pine Key Tax Collector's office is a part time operation with clerks from Marathon staffing this office on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday, and as it is a small office (next to the Library) it has a very small town feel. I was too embarrassed the day before to snap a picture of the hand written sign If you need tags come back at 1:15pm. I liked that- I wonder what people in Miami would do if they encountered such a sign?
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I had some leftover pictures form the working scooter essay, carefree people riding scooters, including this passenger with some geometric tatooed writing on her back: I hardly dare speculate what it might have said.Working scooters, someone's main transportation, parked ready and waiting to go:And that other symbol of key West transportation, the working cyclist:And then there are the visiting land cruisers, huge machines lumbering around town hauling the kitchen sink in their multiplicity of bags and stuff, like this BMW outside the Courthouse Deli on Whitehead Street:It's a style I've always liked but it seems like overkill in a community a hundred miles from the nearest freeway. Not to mention the purchase cost equivalent to two Triumph Bonnevilles...
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Someone asked for prices on real estate in the Keys and though this isn't a real estate site, like so many blogs trying to sell stuff to strangers, I did have reason to notice this sign on Flagler Avenue:So the dreaded auction is coming to Key West gradually. I have heard of numerous properties headed towards foreclosure but so far house prices are nowhere near collapsing. Home sales have dried up compared to the boom years but I heard a rumor a six million dollar Old Town home was recently snapped up by singer Kenny Chesney who probably isn't short a buck. For others though the prospect of forking over three quarters of a million for a home might seem a bit much these days. I saw these listings for middle Keys homes:I expect 2009 might bring a few more bargains to the market.
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Highway One, the bane of my life lately became the scene of severe personal embarrassment last week. The wife and I were leaving Key West in the car with a load of fresh vegetables to take home and plant when I spotted a bunch of half wits riding in a clump up ahead:
They were a dozen motorcyclists riding in a gaggle of discombobulated idiots, blocking both northbound lanes on Boca Chica and holding traffic down to less than 50 miles per hour in a 55 zone. The white van was fit to be tied trying to persuade them to let him pass but they droned along in a mess of 46 mile per hour weaving bikes holding back a dozen impatient drivers. I hung even further back anticipating a disaster.They fumbled their way through Big Coppitt and the sewer installation roadworks and popped out in the Saddlebunch Keys where the limit goes all rural and gets back up to a heady 55 miles per hour. Not us. We were stuck behind the morons still weaving and and out amongst themselves, still facing sudden death from the white van caught in their midst. A couple of them dropped out of the pack suddenly slowing and stopping on the shoulder for reasons known only to themselves and their women perched high on inadequate pillions. We passed them by at a funereal pace only to find the extra lame slow pokes suddenly bobbing in our mirrors:We were moving so slowly I was tempted to ask my wife to get out and stroll alongside and take a few pictures as we rolled through the sunny afternoon... but eventually we got closer to home with me wondering if all this talk of wanting to see more people out on two wheels is really a worthy goal for advocates of motorbikes and motorcycling.As I turned off the Highway to go down my street the last I saw of them was a slow moving procession dawdling along towards Big Pine Key, and happy to see the last of them. There will be more I'm sure.
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I have no idea what this was doing leaning up against the perimeter wall of St Paul's in downtown Key West. It would have been a better conveyance for some people who think they should be out riding motorcycles.
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I just can't resist a full moon especially one setting on a cloudy morning over the night lights of Summerland Key:
Night night.