Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring Break 2009

Spring Break has struck Key West, and during the day the hard studying students refresh themselves at Smathers Beach on the south side of the island. Parking is a monstrous problem, but all those lovely meters, and the associated fines help relieve the city's $1.2 million dollar budget shortfall projected for next fiscal year.I am completely unsuited to the study of young people and their mating, drinking and recreational habits, so for me wandering along South Roosevelt Boulevard this time of year is an alien experience:One is supposed to find these youthful exuberant teenagers objects of desire, lost youth, innocence, unbridled lust, the capacity to suck down alcohol and remain upright in the burning Florida sun. All attributes lost to a 50 year old man wandering the sidewalk in long pants, a motorcycle jacket and an attitude of bemusement:Even when I was their age (I was once!) I found no joy in sitting around on a beach getting drunk and obnoxious, you can imagine that these days I'm even less inclined to spend my time in the company of those desperate to be cool. On the other hand even a curmudgeon has to be able to appreciate certain things, and Jack Riepe notwithstanding, I offer these simply as a counterpoint to the gray and overcast and cold they have fled Up North:Smathers Beach doesn't strike me as the finest beach in the world to relax upon but it is the best Key West has to offer and the youngsters take full advantage of it:This year it seems like there are more Spring Breakers in town than in recent years past. Perhaps the funky economy works in Key West's favor over further flung, more exotic locations in Central America or Mexico. The fact is, the city is packed with young people chasing around on scooters, and the Overseas Highway is lined with small cars filled with bodies chasing the sun south. At work we've been busy with good old fashioned drunkenness on Duval street late at night, but there aren't the law enforcement support of years past, the special court at Old City Hall, roving patrols of State Alcohol enforcement types and such. I spotted a stretch of Smathers beach sidewalk that looked like it does much of the rest of the year, not crowded, and it was reminder of the rapid approach of summer:Summer, is my favorite time of year, hot but not as hot as Arizona, humid but not too humid ( for me) and quiet. But not completely quiet. One has to hope Europeans will continue to visit despite the weakness of the Euro, last year 1:65 to the dollar, this year 1:25. But we have palm trees and a modicum of sand:And lots of pictures, of which more tomorrow.