Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Rotary Maze

I was out riding around town and my route took me down Flagler Avenue which is going through come convulsions at the moment. It's a good thing really, the city is reclaiming its right of way and building proper sidewalks along a stretch of forgotten Flagler between 1st Street and White. Residents are pissed off, especially if they incautiously built their walls and fences on what is in fact city property, and drivers have to deal with a diversion on streets paralleling the main Flagler drag. Which happened to put my Bonneville and I alongside this trailer which caused me to stop and take pictures.
I belong to the school of thought created by Groucho Marx and endorsed by Woody Allen, wherein I would rather not be a member of any club that would have me for a member. The Rotary however is a club that I really should want to join if I had any altruistic tendencies whatsoever. My sister in law is an avid Rotarian which is where I really found out about them and they do try to live by their core principles which seem so common-sensical it's astonishing they have to be spelled out. But they do, for all of us.
A permanent reminder of the presence of the rotary in the Southernmost City is at the end of the White Street Pier.
Underneath the maze of fencing there is a compass rose painted by the Rotary (or at their behest, I know not which) that is looking resplendent these days in its fresh coat of paint: I was out on the pier enjoying a 2 am lunch break ramble and I was attracted to the fencing placed somewhat at random but in a way that put me in mind of a maze. I'm guessing the barricades were put here to keep people off the fresh paint but by the time I got there it was dry and I walked on it happily clicking some pictures.It is entirely legal to be out on the pier fishing all night if you so choose. Sleeping or otherwise misbehaving is not allowed but I got to hang out a while and wonder about the camaraderie of an late fishing expedition. I'm not much of a fish killer in addition to my other anti-social tendencies and I feel bad about my indifference to the sport, as for many men living in Key West would be fishing Nirvana. I enjoy swimming with the fish not hunting them.I remember when I was a child my family went to Hampton Court a royal palace made famous by Henry the Eighth, he of the six wives fame. The palace has a maze on it's grounds and I have had a hankering to go back and see just how complex it really is. I must have been less than ten years old at the time (the Beatles would have been in their heyday, imagine that) and the thick hedges seemed scary and impossibly complex.It was odd, finding myself pondering my distant childhood, listening to the sounds of Cuban fishermen having a night out, while trying to reconcile all the cultural diversity in my short life. It had been a shitty night at work, crazy people calling the police all night long, and here I was out under a velvet sky with a gentle breeze and no one begging for my attention. It was enough to make one's head explode.
I hear the damnedest things in Key West, and frequently from people who are entirely sober. They say there is nothing to do here, that they miss mountains or rivers or snow mobiles or some other such thing. They feel sorry for me that I work nights as though I am in exile expiating some unspeakable sin. I'd like to take them out to the end of the pier one night and listen to the Cubans laughing about their fishing and overhear the residentially challenged talking in loud aggrieved tones about how they hate the cops and how they pulled one over on those fascists.Me? I look out across the water at Higgs Beach and think how much there is to like here, even if I'm not a Rotarian doing good, I certainly don't miss snow mobiles or even the fog of San Francisco. There's too much to photograph and too much to think about just standing here in Key West, on a hot muggy summer's night.