Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vignettes XXIV

My wife's shoulder is recovering nicely from her surgery and she is able to start thinking about getting out and about a bit, so it was we were in Big Pine Key looking to order some window blinds. The blind shop happened to be located in a tiny shopping center whose location on Highway One is/was marked by this large tin lobster like thing:Imagine my surprise when I pulled into the unpaved parking lot and found Anchor towing loading up the old clunker that formed the pedestal for the lobster. They wre busy doing their work and the wife was anxious to see the blind lady (the lady that sells blinds, not...oh never mind) so I didn't get to ask them if this was a removal for a l,ong overdue paint job or if the departure was permanent.
It's lobster mini season this week, two days and nights of mayhem on the waters around the Keys when any yahoo with a boat in South Florida invades the islands and has permission to harvest lobster from local waters (outside canals please!) This money raising ecological madness happens every summer ahead of the start of commercial lobster season which opens in August and runs into winter, hurricanes permitting. I loathe the mini season as it gioves people license to rape the waters, they don't give a fig about ecology or habitat and they drive cars and boats like maniacs. But they do spend money so we are stuck with them. The metal lobster sculpture however was another story. By the time we came out of the blind store the space was empty:
Let's hope the real live lobsters do better than this old timer did.
One of my ever popular "kids on a scooter" series, just bcause this is Key West (Stock Island in this case) and everyone rides a scooter in this small corner of America. Personally I think everyone should ride a scooter but that would be silly wouldn't it? I just hope this youngster gets the bug and doesn't let go until s/he has one of their own. A pity Dad wasn't setting the proper example with a helmet of his own. "Do as I say, not do as I do.":These two youngsters striding in the sun accidentally obscured what I was photographing in passing. The Harley rental place at Hurricane Hole on Stock Island has vanished. Oh well, another empty store front to be filled as we all bound into this improbable economic recovery they are telling us about. Meanwhile no Harley for you:
That wise old saying about scoundrels wrapping themselves in flags came to mind when I saw this bumper sticker. I figure if he really were a decent carpenter he could have found a name to reflect that. Yes, you answer, but you are just a cynic. Not a cynic I reply, a sceptic (and there is a difference). Sometimes people confuse Naval Air Service Police cars for civilian police and traffic slows to a crawl around them. The NAS police cover military bases all over Key West and can frequently be seen traveling from Boca Chica to the city on Highway One. In this case I rather wished they had jurisdiction and could have politely told this nice guy on his Harley that following too closely is a) a violation and b) dangerous. I loved his loud pipes though (said through gritted teeth).
We have been having some rather slow traffic jams on Stock Ilsand thanks to much needed roadway repairs. After one spectacular foul up that had traffic backed up for two miles in Key West the state Department of Transportation graciously decided to figure out a better solution. That nevertheless presented a short back up for a while, so that people, caught for three hours in the original major traffic snarl up got pretty fearfuland at the slightest provocation would pull a u-turn to get out of anything that looked like a back up. I wanted this picture to show the "Keep Off the Median" sign in the background: I arrived in Key West after just ten slow minutes on Stock Island. Slow driving that gave me the chance to snap the pictures I showed up above..
I was walking past Moped Hospital on Truman Avenue, which is a major player in the world of 50cc scooters in the US and I happened to see these two products of a bygone age through the window. For older Americans Cushman scooters are what they remember of youthful two wheelers from the past-war years. Nowadays these loud sheet metal contraptions look like something beyond quaint. I liked that one of the importers of Kymco scooters into the US shows them off in their window, albeit with no ceremony and in rather dusty condition. And just up the street from the mouldering Cushmans I saw this sign: Which is a healthy reminder that some people in Key West have real jobs. Other people are reporting that their establishments in the hospitality industry are doing land sale business.I noticed recently that an empty lot on my street which had been for sale for years is now boldly showing a "sold" sign on it. One wants to think the recession is drawing to a close...Summer meanwhile is in fullbloom and the poinciana trees I wrote about earlier are still flaming in the hot streets of key west, here forming a rather fetching arch over Olivia Street:
It was in this area I passed a parked truck somewhat the worse for wear. I wonder why it is people let these eyesores molder way infront of their very eyes. But I suffer from a congenital inability to collect anything. I am the opposite of a pack rat.
My complusions would lead me to dispose of unwanted carpet of course, but I hope not in the public trash cans provided for the temporary relief of passers-by. Perhaps it wasn't a local occupant who abused the city's largesse with this object dumped in the trash. Perhaps there was a tourist out there on Petronia Street that suddenly found themsleves encumbered by some formerly necessary carpet, and finding it surplus to requirements they felt complelled to toss it in a public trash can?But it's not just household trash in public trash cans that caught my eye. I was forced to wonder what this appliance was doing on Truman Avenue, carefully wrapped in a plastic bag awaiting curbside pick up? Waste Management operates a generous pick up service for appliances that need to be removed but when I put out my old fridge they told me to tape the doors closed to prevent accidental suffocation by any passers-by moved to play inside it. They never said it had to be weather proofed:I usedto have a motorcycle once with a dashboard mounted radio. I rode that fully dressed Yamaha Maxim 650 from Fort Myers to Santa Cruz California in 1991 and thoroughly enjoyed the trip, but I never did get to understand the purpose of a dash mounted radio. Underway it was hard to hear, and when parked I was afraid of depleting the bike's battery as already motorcycles wer ebeing deprived of kick starts and the Maxim was a heavy brute with the bags and full fairing and shaft drive made it hard to bump start. At least, unlike this Harley, my Yamaha's windshield was unencumbered and offered a clear view of the way ahead:I did manage to find a motorcycle more spartan than my own, one evening at work.This orange Yamaha 600 appeared in the parking lot at work one night bearing an "Under 21" tag from the great state of Florida, thus letting us know the registered owner is not allowed to drink alcohol or ride without a helmet but is allowed to vote and to volunteer to fight the Taliban if s/he so chooses.It was a study in contrasts, the kid's minimalist cortch rocket with twice the horsepower of my 860, and absolutely no capacity to carry anything escept the rider with a passenger possibly perched high on the back.So much motorcycle evolution in thirty years,and most of it leaves me indifferent. Ah, old age.