Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Varela Street

Cat sleeping. I saw the cat and so I pulled out my camera and there I was taking pictures of the street. Blame the sleeping cat for this essay.Varela Street runs from Truman south, a part of Old Town away from Duval Street and the main tourist attractions. You too could have a cottage in Old Town. See? Poinciana tree, modest homes, a regular residential street in Key West. Labrador in poinciana blossoms.Varela at Truman dead ends into the former Sunlion Jewelry. The former owner went to jail for 12 years after he was convicted of breaking his probation terms. He had struck three scooter riders while driving stoned.he was stopped while on probation and found to be driving...while stoned. Some people in the community were offended he got 12 years. Drunk drivers freak me, the motorcyclist,out. I see this closed store and rue the power of drugs over us. It's hard not to think of some otherwise decent guy, a businessman in jail when he could be out living an ordinary, everyday life, riding a bicycle, say, or walking his dog and taking pictures.I used to see "notions" stores in the Bahamas, and I love this old sign in the window. I'm not exactly sure what notions are.
This corner of Varela and Truman is a hive of busy business.Padre Felix Varela y Morales was born in Cuba in 1788 and was ordained a priest at age 23. At age 30 we was elected to the Spanish parliament where he spoke out against slavery and was ultimately sent into exile to the United States where he took care of his fellow Cuban refugees. I doubt one in a hundred residents of Varela Street in Key West spare him a thought today. Sic transit gloria mundi. From the sublime to the ridiculous: I am not eligible to park here, obviously.
I wanted to knock on someone's door and point out these bougainvillea and poinciana blossoms clash. I'm surprised the Historic Architecture Review commission allows it. Highway drama! Horns sounding! Swearing, backing up, gears clashing. Island time?Never heard of such a thing! Some people leave food out for stray cats, Cheyenne approves. I should point out she stole nothing from deserving strays.The bowl was quite empty, but she enjoyed sniffing around.
Off street parking. Don't do as locals do if you are in doubt.I saw this fenced over square of dirt and couldn't quite figure out what it was for, if anything.His and hers?
More off street parking. Note the hood of the truck tied down with a bungee cord. In Key West status is rarely conferred my material possessions. that's what makes it so interesting to live here. Freedom is possible, if you can afford it.How cool is that a city where land costs far too much has many old homes not restored, not on display but simply used?And then there are the restored homes with the ugly signs. A front porch is private property, obviously.Every corner is a view. Varela is just one more street in a town filled with photogenic homes and little quirks.
Blocking the driveway is a doubly bad idea here.Take a walk away from Duval and you never know what you'll see.