Friday, September 11, 2009

Vignettes XXVI

Fausto's grocery stores with two outlets in Key West bill themselves as a social center as much as a grocery store, and the Fleming Street store serves the downtown area in a town where lots of people have trouble driving ten blocks from their home base. I stopped in to pick up a head of broccoli for my wife and I noticed something. The former mayor of Key West, Jimmy Weekly married into the family that founded the store and he is running again, this time for city commission. However he has no campaign signs on his store that I could see. The building across the street did though, which I thought was funny.Jimmy Weekly is a mild little man, often seen slicing meat behind the counter, but he made his share of noise when he was in office, both in his private life and in his role as first citizen. I sort of hope he gets elected to the commission especially if his arch enemy Morgan McPherson makes it back into the mayor's seat. I live in the county so I am a bystander in all the noise making, but I am an employee so one has to hope that city leaders keep things rolling without too much acrimony.
The fourth screen at the Tropic Movie theater is stuck in limbo. Unfortunately they advertised it as probably being ready by July 4th. That deadline came and went and I understand the employees cringe now every time they have to explain that the new 48-seat theater isn't quite done yet.It looks good from the outside though. Further up the street is a coffee shop were a group of regulars meets to play chess. barely visible inside on the left is another mayoral candidate for the city of key west.Sloan Bashinsky has a website called Good Morning Key West and he is an avid supporter of the nude beach concept. His policy ideas aren't all bad but he thinks he gets them from angels in his dreams, which is a concept that may have value but it hasn't got him elected yet.It's all part of the color of Key West, the stuff that doesn't show up at sunset at Mallory Square, the color of Key West that isn't in the tourist brochures. And probably just as well.

I was at Fort Zachary Taylor with a con leche in hand and a half hour to burn before the movie (O Horten, a delightful Norwegian meditation) started at the Tropic Cinema. My plan was a good one, park the Bonneville in the shade, sip my coffee, read a little and watch the water a little form the comfort of a picnic table. Instead a young couple approached me as I was sorting out my Jeanna's coffee and my newspaper. He held out a business card with a pedi-cab number on it. "Puo..." he stumbled trying to think of the English to say "...make a call."
"Of course I can," I replied in Italian startling him half to death.I don't know how it happened but here was another couple of Italian tourists stranded in Key West. His phone was dead and the unpleasant woman at the concession stand wouldn't make a local call for him to get his pedi-cab to take him to his tour bus appointment. So I called Brian for them and made their afternoon.

We chatted for just a few minutes, they were from Sicily and had come to realize they need to speak English to visit the US...He liked this country saying the US is "disciplined" unlike Italy. Giovanni says that all the time too when I go back to see him in Italy. It must be true but it sounds odd to me.Another good deed in the bag.


I threw in this picture of Truman Annex.I was walking back to the Bonneville at the Westin parking lot when i saw this endless sidewalk view. I liked it, so I snapped it. Key west looks much bigger when you see the island from a certain angle.


I was riding into town on Highway One of an afternoon and found myself following a Triumph Bonneville with a Maryland tag. The rider and pillion were obviously enjoying the afternoon and were in no hurry so I passed them and as I did I was mildly surprised to see two women on board. Later I got into town and women were everywhere. I have no idea who is here visiting for WomenFest, the annual week long celebration for women but I did notice pairs of women all over downtown as usual for this time of year:
I find it rather nice that Key West can offer women a place to take a vacation and be themselves.Of course I find it odd that most of the rest of the country gets bent out of shape about the love that dare not speak it's name.I saw in the paper that Vermont has approved a gay marriage law so perhaps the tide of history is turning and this may be a civil rights issue that we close the book on before I'm dead. I have a great deal of difficulty identifying lesbians as they walk down the street.Indeed I've worked with a few for quite some time with no knowledge of their lesbian-ness, so I figured I might as well throw a few pictures of women ambling to illustrate the point. And women riding bicycles could be in town for WomenFest or just because they are on vacation.But I'm trying to get smarter about categorizing people and these look like run-of-the-mill tourists:Whatever. Right now it's Lezzie Week and up next it's Bike Week to keep the tourist dollars flowing during the quietest time of year. Personally I prefer the lesbians to the loud pipes and strutting leather nonsense of Bike Week, but that is beside the point. They all help keep the town solvent,so the more the merrier.


Between waves of tourists the regular denizens of Key West are still hanging out waiting for I don't know what:
I was pretty surprised to see this lot milling around in Mallory Square but I guess the new Sheriff's Deputy patrols at Higgs Beach have moved a lot of residentially challenged along. And here they are:I cannot imagine how boring it must be to sit around all day waiting for the shelter to open, or to go and look for a bush to sleep under.
I thought this might have been the Bonneville i met on Highway One, but it wasn't. It has the same T100 color scheme but the tag was out of Florida. It had all of 8,000 miles on the clock and looked quite well preserved.
I noticed there was one small modification to the Bonneville and that was an extra in-line fuel filter, which we are told is a good thing to add. I've found this things to be a perfect nuisance over the years. They get tired and blocked up, they spring leaks and they need to be fussed over. I prefer to ride and use the fuel rather than let it sit, and so far the myth of "dirty fuel" hasn't interrupted me.
Over the years it has occurred to me that muscles and machines have one similarity: they go to pieces if they aren't used. I haven't quite closed in on 30,000 miles (48,000 kms) just yet but I'm working on it:
I read on the Triumph forum during the long quiet night shifts of September how unsightly luggage is when it hangs off Bonneville. I think a motorcycle equipped as a daily rider is a thing of beauty. I saw this well used scooter and got the same impression: a daily rider.These Chinese scooters get a lot of grief among the Vespa snobs but in Key West they are work horses, always out and about providing basic and needed transportation. Even if they name their models rather weird, them Chinese folk. Perhaps that's what I should call my Bonneville if I wanted it to break down all the time. The "Sickly."

I found three pictures of my recent trip to Anne's Beach i didn't use in the main essay but I still liked the shots. This is the south parking lot at Mile Marker 73:Looking south across the Straits of Florida. This car is traveling north toward Islamorada,passing Anne's Beach to the right: This, more prosaically, is the sink in the men's bathroom. Either it's a simple effective way to shore up a bathroom sink that people really shouldn't sit on. Or it's government inefficiency.Personally i find it smart cheap and elegant, like so much the government manages to accomplish, unnoticed. We toil in obscurity, we government bureaucrats.