Monday, May 24, 2010

Vignettes XXXVI

I called Giovanni in Italy to confirm we aren't traveling there this year, and he lamented that not only is the economy in Terni rather depressed, it hasn't stopped raining since October. "I bet it's sunny and 30 degrees there, isn't it?" he mumbled into the phone, sighing. Cheyenne might like it a little cooler.Me? I don't wear a fur coat so I like the heat and humidity of a 90 degree afternoon on the Key West waterfront.
As hot as it may be some good people don't give up on pedaling. They are a varied lot:How many anxious parents on the mainland would let their precious offspring ride around town on their own?Some people prefer engines and they will go a long way to keep their machines operational. You won't get points among Vespisti in fashionable circles for riding a Chinese "piece of crap" but these are scooters used as a daily riders, as transport, not as status symbols:Another way to get around is on the water, though you might be surprised how few residents of the city of key West get out on the water regularly. It's not cheap to rent a slip for a boat, and running something like this will make the Saudis happy: I wonder sometimes why I never got a pilot's license. I figured it was a lot of money...... and you can't live on a plane (not one that I could afford at any rate) so I got into sailing instead. And not like this:Most people can't actually afford to own and live on a wooden schooner, a complex piece of machinery that justifies the landlubber's fears about the high level of maintenance required of a boat. But you can't put a price on beauty.The trick is to get people to pay you to take them out on the water. It's hard life, I used to hold a Coastguard Master's Certificate (50 tonnes if you care to know), but it can be rewarding. Especially if you pay to go out on a breezy warm afternoon like this. Landlubbers call them Tall Ships, sailors call them schooners or square riggers, depending on the set of the sails. They used to say a boat had "a bone in her teeth" when sailing at speed. That was because the bow wave looked, fancifully, like a dog holding a bone, like this:You just never know where this "motorcycle" blog will take you. Which is why it is my diary, as varied and crowded as the space between my ears. I took formal sailing lessons in Santa Cruz California in the summer of 1984 and then I bought a boat, moved out of my room and paid rent to the harbor master for the next dozen years. This is more my speed. Almost all sailboats have engines which is why they are known formally as "sailing Auxiliaries" to the US Coastguard and all too often the sails are the auxiliaries as seen here. The dinghy towed behind the boat leads me to think he has been anchored out somewhere.
It's not a bad way to get around if you aren't in a hurry and I am let to suspect this guy had been using those sails earlier thanks to the hurriedly bundled...bundle on the boom (the horizontal spar):
Getting out on the water is the best part of summer. The best way to spend summer is in good company. I have had my eye on Ari since he was orphaned last July. Since then this happy guy has been living at the SPCA on College Road:
Ari's owner got sick and died last July and he has been left behind. My wife has fought tooth and nail pointing out one dog is a lot easier than two (we had two dogs for years) but I have been feeling bad about this guy stuck at the pound. So I took Cheyenne by for a visit. I wondered if she might take a shine to Ari and make it impossible for my wife to say NO.
Cheyenne did not like being in the cage waiting for him to appear. She laid down by the gate and looked at me. I sat in the chair and waited for Ari. It didn't work. Cheyenne made it clear she is a one dog household. I left Ari a gift and we trailed off leaving our good intentions in the donation box in the office.
Kathy told me of two new Labradors brought in, siblings, and the owners returned and took ONE and left the other behind. I hate people. I like dogs.
I can't stand that people don't want happy proper sized, middle aged dogs. He's 8 years old and has been there eleven months and he's still smiling. Ari deserves a home.
Key West has passed the required ordinance to allow dogs in open air restaurants if the operators agree to allow dogs. There was a kerfuffle when Florida passed a law banning dogs in eateries unless local governments opted out. The Key West City Commission ignored state law until a health inspector announced dogs were banned and then the commission got off it's duff and opted out. The Tropic Cinema is a local business that welcomes well behaved dogs. That would include Cheyenne.
We went to see a two-and-a-half hour Swedish thriller but Cheyenne didn't mind the gunshots, the car chases, or the Swedish swearing. She did give up early on the subtitles and pretty much passed out for the entire film.
Snowbirds have gone home and the Tropic is no longer crowded but there were a couple of dozen of us to see "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and it was a great movie. Cheyenne was glad to get out nevertheless.
I have to admit that having two dogs would make such visits rather more difficult to pull off, but I couldn't help thinking about Ari in his cage. As we walked Cheyenne after the movie I saw this opportunity to remind you that an alternative to the noise and bustle of Mallory Square at Sunset is to drink a civilized glass of alcohol at The Top:
I am quite fond of visiting The Top which opens to the public at three pm and the full service bar up there opens at five pm. Take the elevator from the ground floor of La Concha Hotel on Duval.Of course it's better if you ignore my advice as I don't much like crowds. This next one is for Jack riepe who is going to be coming down to sit out the Depression by grilling local chickens for his dinner.That I would like to see. I have plucked chickens and I much prefer buying them at the supermarket, thanks. Finally:
The end of the road for the end of this essay.