Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wandering BPK

The only goal I had when I set off from the house was to drop a Netflix disc off at the Big Pine Key Post Office and get some exercise along the way, so I rode my bicycle.
I like to ride against the traffic on the highway which gives me a chance to see who might be losing control of their vehicle and about to run me down. Which put me in the path of a broken down Mitsubishi Montero on the shoulder. I got the chance to discover just how complex changing a tire on one of these SUVs can be, but luckily she was an organized woman and she had the manual. Which didn't stop me putting the tire on inside out (erg!) and squirting myself with hydraulic fluid when I released the valve on the jack. Which made it impossible to raise the car a second time and put the spare on a second time, right-side-in. Well, at least she got to drive home to Marathon to get her wheel done right by a pro. I can change the tire on the Maxima in ten minutes flat but that Mitsubishi was some kind of Chinese puzzle. I'll do better next time.I decided to ignore my crotch full of hydraulic fluid and pressed on with the program. I dropped off the disc and took a circuit through the neighborhood behind the post office. I wasn't planning on taking any pictures, but then I passed a couple of abandoned mattresses and I thought: look at this lovely little street... and some ass couldn't be bothered to pay five bucks to drop these off at the dump on Blimp Road? Grrr.
This gravel pit got red tagged. It looked weird. The permit was on the telephone pole and underneath it, a month ago, it got red tagged saying it didn't look right to the inspector. Wow, I thought, nice neighbors! Such a peaceful backwater, so much drama!
So I took another picture. Then I remembered a rather pretty little bench sitting under a tree further back on Sandy Circle. I turned around; my wanderings had a purpose. I passed a man walking his beer can, and we exchanged a cheery remark about the pleasant temperatures. I looked over my shoulder and he, and his beer can, stepped into the bushes and vanished, like Alice in Wonderland's White Rabbit. I photographed what I think is a giant magnolia, instead.
Guarded by an elderly, weather worn, pale pink flamingo.
It was my day off so clouds were piled up, making for hazy light and what looked like the distinct chance of rain though none materialized. And, at last the bench.
Further up I found this odd looking house, long past it's sell-by date judging by the dilapidated state of the jungle garden and the real estate sign lying on the ground.
The suburban idyll (picture riepe setting fire to Big Pine Key with a cigar)is not quite so idyllic as the state road prison is just across the street, and no doubt this minimum security prison is enough to worry home buyers. Aside from a very loud, buzzy generator I would imagine the prison to be an ideal neighbor, like a cemetery, only the inmates are still alive:The sign said nothing about pictures, only that introducing contraband is against some obscure state law. So obscure they felt the need to enumerate it on the sign. Prison, for the haute bourgeoisie like us, is a fearsome place, the repository of tales of bugger and shanks and murder in the showers, but the inmates from this place are serving less literary time and can off be seen by the side of the road paying back their debt to society riding lawn mowers and gently propping up shovels as they dram of a return to a life of Budweiser and fishing.
There but for the grace of God goes any one of us, I suppose, though properly bourgeois readers will tut-tut and imagine they are, like the memorable lady once arrested for disorderly conduct at the Bull, who shouted "We're too middle class to be arrested!" The officer was having none of it and off she went to the Stock Island Hilton.
The state of Florida doesn't seem to be spending much money maintaining this place. It looks ratty and run down, and rather depressing, despite the best efforts:
Across the street a homeowner boxed in by a stout wooden fence left no doubt as to whys/he lives in the deep mysterious woods of Big Pine Key. In case there were any doubt a sign, backed up by a dog house large enough for a mastiff on the proportions of the Hound of the Baskervilles:
The sign demanding a banning of the bomb reminds us of the cultural diversity of Big Pine Key. Personally I think the mizzen on the ketch is a little over sized, but I could be accused of just being picky.
Then I found a dirt road heading off through the wilderness so naturally, like Yogi Berra I took the fork in the road and it led me to a piece of string, more signage and a cat, though unlike the Cheshire cat that disappeared intro it's own grin, this one sat impassively in the grass looking at me making a fool of myself with my photographic apparatus:
It may very well be private property, but it wasn't that interesting anyway, I convinced myself as i pedaled back through the public property to the paved road.

When you least expect it, you come across a reminder of Canada, land of drizzle, piney islands and people who collect Corvettes. Where Corvettes cannot go, I breezed through on my bicycle, past the cement barricades into a fresh new neighborhood. This house struck me as the residence of an optimist, if s/he builds it just high enough the view across the mangroves will be exhilarating, even if to see it you have to life flat on your stomach under the eaves in the attic:
And the final picture in the series I took from a bridge on the highway headed home, the sun still annoyingly shrouded by clouds, the waters in Newfound Harbor flat, the hovel craft planted firmly in the quicksilver and all color washed out by leaden sky. It still looked good to me.
It did occur to me that were I one of those "one photo a day" merchants, this essay about nothing much at all could have taken me through the next three weeks.