Friday, June 4, 2010

Circling Elizabeth Street

It may look easy, walking your dog and taking pictures but it can be trying, for Cheyenne as much as it is for me. At the beginning of the walk Cheyenne is all piss and vinegar and eager to get going, so stopping to observe some small thing that catches my eye leaves her straining on the end of the extend-a-leash and my camera hand wobbling. I like that home renovations continue apace, it seems like an act of faith in the future of the Keys.There are nights at work when I take a 9-1-1 call from a witness to a wreck or some other incident and I hang up the phone with a little silent prayer, something like this: "Dear God, if you exist please make sure this half wit isn't the only person on scene who sees me go down on my motorcycle." Please note wannabe 9-1-1 callers: if you don't know where you are don't call! Spending 45 seconds establishing that you are a tourist and don't know what the name of the street is, makes for 45 seconds robbed from the victim's time on Earth. Waive this rule if there is no one else around and I will work with you, I promise. (Note: Not every street in a Key West emergency is Duval Street). This is Elizabeth Street and Rescue Four was trundling up from Truman (the other Duval in every out-of-town caller's mind).My computer at work has every single business listed by location so if you say: "A green motorcycle is on the ground in front of Cypress House. The rider is unconscious and bleeding from the mouth." my colleagues will get rescue and a fire engine rolling immediately. If you say "I don't live in Key West and someone is on the ground and I don't know what happened." They won't. Sometimes Rescue gets held up by the narrow streets. Luckily this propane truck driver knew exactly what to do and did it. Please note that Elizabeth, for some impenetrable reason, is sometimes treated as a real two way street. A quick three point turn done by an expert in a hurry and Rescue Four barely had to slow down to get by.But I was not at work so I let Rescue rush by and Cheyenne and I had better things to do than worry about response times. More renovation underneath this tin roof. The debate continues as to whether roofs in Old Town should be allowed to be painted white as an energy saving tool. Some people argue that there is plenty of wasted electricity all over town and changing the nature of preservation in Old Town is a bad idea. I have some sympathy for this point of view, but somehow even if they allow white roofs I doubt many people will do it. My electricity bills have dropped by a lot (I'm still measuring them but perhaps 30%) since I tinted my windows and added insulation under the floor of my stilt home.This side yard, not much than a walk way really caught my eye. Some people know how to do a lot with not very much.
I like Seven Fish, a place with not much ceiling insulation. It is extra cosy during a summer thunderstorm. The food is excellent and I am trying to remember why I haven't been back in a long while.Two Honda Helix scooters, brilliant machines in production for decades, which epitomize sensible riding. However 70 mph is as fast as they will ever go so for me, perhaps they are not ideal. I don't ride at 70mph much at all but a motorcycle's top sensible cruising speed is measured (or used to be when I was a youngster) at 80% of top speed, which means a Helix is good for traveling at 55mph which is a bit slow for me if you imagine trying to pass a car doing 50mph. I love their rugged, sensible good looks though.Dade County Pine, Florida's answer to indestructible teak for exterior construction. So oily and effective is Dade Pine that it is no longer available in Dade County but can I am told, be purchased at the cost of an arm and a leg from places in the panhandle. It is impervious to tropical weather and insects and looks quite lovely without a lick of paint.My colleague saw this home for sale and is thinking the market is low enough he might be able to secure a property for his old age in the city. The home is on Simonton Street at Olivia and is a hollow shell.It has three bedrooms and a bath in 1200 square feet (110 meters) and needs a lot of interior work. In Key West this would be almost move in condition with a cot and a toilet. Keith's Dad the handyman might have to plan some extended vacations in Key West if the bank which owns the house ever bothers to return Keith's calls of inquiry.Keith is hoping the asking price might be south of $250,000 based on some quick market analysis he has done. He's be across the street from Bobby's Monkey Bar, one of the few gay establishments that doesn't specialize in loud music, so Keith figures he will still be able to get some sleep.Further up Simonton Street I spotted this fully finished house apparently for sale, according to this well posted sign. I guess if they really wanted to sell it they might be a tad bit more... energetic?I got some odd looks from these people striding up the street. Either it was because Cheyenne was circling some interesting smell and failing to walk in a straight line, or perhaps my clothing (the pink things) seemed disturbing to them.Their dog walked in a straight line however anyone walking around with a lily pad on their head has no business wondering about my pink footwear. It is said that pineapples are a symbol of welcome in Key West so everyone wants to join the move to appear sociable (why?) thus we get pineapple art everywhere. Me? I'd stick the pineapple on your chair after you'd worn out your welcome, and dare you to sit on it. I actually have two rather nice pineapples growing this year but my strawberries haven't done shit. So I am more grumpy than usual about my fruit.
I forgot my newspaper in the car and I wanted to snatch his but that seemed churlish so I took his picture instead, envying his enjoyment. I love reading the paper.Mind you, he's wearing black socks and no shirt so perhaps I should have called the fashion police instead. "9-1-1? I'm somewhere in Key West..."