Monday, May 18, 2009

Margaritaville

I am not what you might call a barfly. I find my capacity for noise to be limited, and as I grow older my tolerance for alcohol seems to be weakening, perhaps because I don't strengthen it by drinking. The fact remains that sitting at a table, conversation drowned out by noise, staring at a bottle of Red Stripe, does very little for me, though I do like Mile Marker 24 just fine, even sitting three feet away:

When I listen to Mile Marker 24 and compare them to the sainted Jimmy Buffet I have to conclude that to my tin ear Howard Livingston has a much more pleasing voice though Mile Marker 24 sure knows how to celebrate in song the Margaritaville world that Jimmy Buffett's tireless efforts have brought to the masses everywhere. Dave Herzog used to give steel drum lessons in the marina where we lived and it was delightful to be out walking Emma at night and listening to them tinkling away across the water. I was watching him enjoy himself while my wife renewed acquaintance with her former boss Raiette also seated in the front row:

Aside from meeting up with old friends...here is Dave's wife Barb, transformed from marina manager to roadie and camp follower and looking very good for the change:

...Margaritaville (the real cafe not the imaginary place) was offering its services as part of the annual Boys and Girls Club fundraiser, with a buffet thrown in (the one you eat not the one you listen to), Cubanroastporkchickenshrimpsmoked fishhush puppiesandKeyLimepie in the style of Ratty's picnic in the Wind in the Willows:

The food was very good, helped along by insistent hovering waiters pressing free drinks on us. My wife is better at saying no than I am, and she got out with just one Amstel Light under her belt. I belted two Red Stripes and immediately felt the need for a snooze.

There was a crowd all right but it wasn't the crowds of years past and I wasn't the only one to notice that the raffle items were down in numbers and magnificence this year. It's hard to discern how badly the Depression is hitting Key West, because there are foreclosures and people have lost jobs, but this is one of the slower times of year with snowbirds gone and school vacations not yet started.

In keeping with our frugal habits we managed to win nothing at all in the raffle though my wife was bursting to get the $50 certificate to Town N Tavern, the eatery inside the Marriott Beachside. one of the few hotel related places we seem to eat in. I should have preferred the melodies of Mile Marker 24 but I used the break to point the camera around the room, a Disneyesque recreation of some island place somewhere (St Barth's maybe, where the original "Cheeseburger in Paradise" is served at Le Select, I am told):

Whether or not you like the affable Jimmy Buffett, and why wouldn't you, you have to wonder about the cult of personality, whether it's Leonid Brezhnev, Tom Cruise, Fidel Castro, or this dude:

I dated a Parrothead many years ago, a woman who had tried living in Hawaii but who came back to foggy California unable to sustain the dream when faced with the reality of island life, yet she clung to the music and the palm trees and dream of a place called Margaritaville. It was a brief relationship doomed to failure as I am too practical to dream the dream without giving it a shot. And on a more practical note if you start thinking you might need the loo at Margaritaville you might want to get on with it early in the proceedings. Leave it too late and you might not make it because the facilities are miles away down dark corridors heavily festooned with the dream of Somewhere Isle, and you might get caught up checking out the artwork to the detriment of your bladder:

As I was tottering back, relieved to have made it in time, I heard another couple rasping their way up the innumerable flights of stairs, joking between breaths about needing to bring camping supplies for the trek:

Ah yes, the reality of building a bar in a small corner of a small island, a place that would seem indeed to be too small to contain so many dreams, you have to put the toilet out in the back 40 somewhere.

I hope the Boys and Girls got plenty of cash; I was happy to make my small contribution and spend a pleasant couple of hours not making conversation with my neighbors.