Friday, April 9, 2010

Good News, Bad News

I was not looking forward to my evaluation yesterday. My wife, who had plans for the evening asked me to bring to dog into town as I had to meet the Lieutenant at three for my review. It was as well I was driving the car as it was a hot sticky afternoon and had I been on the Bonneville I'd have been a sticky mess when I walked into the briefing room. I know I have been doing a decent job at work but evaluations are a time when they tell you, yes you're doing fine but you need to improve, here, here and here especially. And, let's face it, sometime you end up sounding like a pissed off pratt at four in the morning dealing with your thousandth drunk of the night and the tape recording of the conversation is merciless when reviewed by your supervisors in the cold light of day.

Imagine my surprise when I walked in to find the Chief, both Captains a slew of Lieutenants and Sergeants, Internal Affairs, and all the office managers and assorted brass that I never get to see on night shift. My allergies were in full self defense mode.

"So, Michael, what are you here for?" the Chief asked. The Chief of Police in the US is the most dictatorial job I've ever seen, If he told us to come to work in one white and one black shoe that's what we would do. He can promote, demote and make life hell without explanation or even motive. There are some seriously shitty jobs in police departments and everyone knows which job you hate and which job you crave. A Chief of Police is an August Presence.

"Er," I stammered, "my Evaluation?"

"Well, here it is" he said, presenting me with a certificate in front of God and Everybody.

Everybody happened to include my wife who had been in the know for a week and never got around to breaking the secret to me. "Oh, by the way," she said. "Carol wanted me to tell you congratulations." Everybody knew except me. Besides which the very decent folks at Cypress House presented me with a check for $125 which my wife snagged saying it was reserved for brunch at Little Palm Island. I guess this whole thing was well thought out.

As I stood outside the Police Station in the sunshine having my picture taken with Chief Lee, along with Kevin O'Connell, Officer of the Quarter, I thought how pleasant this all was, and how lucky I am to have a job which I like and where my Evaluation went so swimmingly. The bonhomie did not last long.On the drive home from work the Nissan crapped out around Mile Marker 22 and I managed to nurse the car a few more miles at 20 mph until we reached the foot of the 40-foot Niles Channel Bridge and there, at 6:15 this morning, in the dark, I realized the hill was just too much for the feeble state of my formerly six cylinder missile. I parked the car and started to walk the last three miles home. My wife woke up just in time to pick me up 200 yards from the house and I fell into a coma after greeting Cheyenne and taking her out on a very abbreviated stroll.
John from Alex's Towing, the AAA company around here met me at the car and swiftly loaded the Maxima onto his flatbed. Funnily enough John and I have been talking over the years every time he picks up a tow and he has to call it in. Six years is a long time to hold down jobs in the Keys...John has three kids at home and he is as grateful for his job as I am for mine. It was nice to meet a cheerful friendly voice in the abomination of desolation of a roadside breakdown.
And off she went over the cursed hill that is the Niles Channel Bridge to Big Pine Key and Monroe Tire and Auto...

...where we met up a few minutes later as I parked the Bonneville and John steered the stuttering Maxima into the shop. Triple A extended tow is a beautiful thing. Donnie and Dave have been my trusted mechanics for years in their funky digs behind the Big Line Flea Market. Dave, seen here on the phone, and I have long political chats and on days when I just feel the need to vent he can sometimes be persuaded to listen and put his own sage perspective into the mix. Donnie lost his Sportster to Wilma's flooding in 2005 a set back that has never dimmed his cheerful enthusiasm.
I wait to hear the verdict early next week. Cheyenne doesn't know it but the radius of her walks may be a good deal closer to home than usual. Luckily for her it's getting quite toasty outside and she isn't as keen to walk huge distances and we'll be lucky if the bill isn't too enormous. Fingers crossed for a star crossed week.

Gonzalez Lane

Angela Street in the Meadows dead ends into a row of stand-alone storage lockers (what the English call lock ups).These garages are in fact the west side of Gonzalez Lane, one of those blocks that is frequently used and rarely named.
I have never felt the need to rent one of these storage units if indeed they are even available to rent. I have never seen one open or in use. I just like the way they look and I wonder who had the great good sense to put them there. My favorite reference The Streets of Key West has no mention of Gonzalez and I suppose there is no reason to: there's not much there! And not much room for anything either.
Cheyenne found something to check out, so interesting she stopped short and slipped her collar. In the background you can see the fencing around Peary Court which the Navy has opened to the public Gonzalez always struck me as an excellent lane to call home, with few neighbors and easy access to New Town, all while living in what is undoubtedly my favorite Key West neighborhood.Tall trees throw shadows on the tallest buildings. And even though this isn't technically Old Town (a good thing in my opinion) the housing stock has, much of it been around for a while.
It's a picturesque neighborhood.
And there are no commercial establishments here, though you can find gas and convenience stores a step away on White Street.
Palm fronds and louvered windows, Florida as I like it.
Gonzalez Lane is all greenery and storage lockers and easy not to notice.
Summer is creeping up on us and shade is something Cheyenne is starting to notice.
Newton Street is at the other end of Gonzalez and is a one way heading east from White Street.