Monday, April 26, 2010

Vignettes XXXIV

So you're walking down the street, your dog on a leash, minding your own business and a guy carrying a bucket walks by. Huh? Which ship did he step off? Queen Anne's Revenge?
I am not a great fan of the pirates in Key West fictional history, but wearing a tricorn on the street is one up on wearing pink crocs, and he's doing it so naturally, not as part of a pirate dress up. So here it is, Monday morning in Key West and I'm loose with my camera.My wife spent Friday night at the Relay for Life where people ran round the school track banishing cancer forever. We loaned our tent to the team from Monroe County School District as people ran all night to raise money to banish cancer. I was sitting up working, earning money for myself. The REI Base Camp 4 is a personal survival shelter for the Great Depression. It also works really well at the Dry Tortugas camp ground.

Key West PD just got accredited again for another three years. It was a stressful time for the officers as they got ready for the inspectors to show up and put everyone under the microscope. We passed with flying colors apparently, and I didn't bog down dispatch. I have always been fond of Harley's Road King but the ones with the blue lights are, well, you know, hard to spot. The Sheriff's office uses BMWs on Highway One but Key West PD is a little old fashioned. On an island this small you'd think Vespas would work better but I don't think they are ready to be that radical in the motor unit. Command presence they call it and scooters don't have it. "Cute" is not the image officers are looking to project.I wasn't sure if Cheyenne was eying the motorcycle or George's helmet. Either way we moved on.
My uniform shirt came from Ramona's on Southard Street. I love the name of the store, I've never heard of embroidery called "put-on" before. They do good work if my badge is anything to judge them by; it's years old and looks like new.
This passer by wasn't wearing a hat but she was carrying her world on her back. I wanted to know what the story was, was she new in town? Relocating apartments? Returning an ex's clothing?
Most likely none of the above but...I did wonder. Change is good and recycling represents change around here. Duval Street bars resolutely refuse to change and heap their empties in the trash. I recycle my ten bottles a week though, as do most of my neighbors. That restores the balance. They say that a true Floridian recognizes a parking spot in the shade as a "good" spot.
Summer is closing in so finding a shady spot is critical these days if Cheyenne has to wait in the car. I was riding into town for coffee with my wife and I saw a motorcycle pulled over on the median of the four lane highway at Mile Marker 6 just south of the Boca Chica bridge.With everyone carrying cell phones and modern machinery run by computers and electrons roadside repairs seem silly, but I pulled over in the spirit of all the stupid waving that goes on between motorcyclists. None of the wavers had stopped to help, I notice. However it turned out that the couple of wrenches I carry in a saddlebag fixed everything.
His shifter came loose and fell off, but miraculously he found it in the gutter and lacked a couple of wrenches to reattach it. All done!
It was dusk and Cheyenne and I had finished an hour-long street walk and we were sitting on a park bench at Bayview Park. Jose Marti was standing there with his permanent thousand yard stare.
The funny thing about Marti is that he is hailed as a hero of revolution and Cuban independence on both sides of the Straits of Florida. The government in Havana praises his memory as a fighter against Spain and by extension against landowner oppression. On this side he represents the fight against Communist dictatorship. A hero for all reasons and he spent time in Key West too.
So he gets an old fashioned marble monument where the bums doze during the day in the park. Perhaps he represents liberation for them too, if they even notice him. Sailing was my liberation when I was a youngster. Me on Monterey Bay in 1986.
Mountain biking was in it's infancy and we rode all over the Santa Cruz mountains Tim and I. He photographed me fording the San Lorenzo river and nearly not getting my bicycle across.
We went camping in the Los Padres National Forest too and slept under the redwoods. It was cold but I was young and tough and loved the mountains and the outdoors. Nowadays I like the outdoors but I like it hot.

Tim sent me the pictures, presumably because he was cleaning out his computer or something. Now he's cluttering my mind with memories. Could it have been a quarter century ago?