Friday, November 11, 2011

Cheyenne Uphill

We were wandering the Hawk Missile base in Little Hamaca Park, when I got an unusual perspective on my yellow Labrador who was to be seen downhill from my spot at the top of an old gravel berm built to protect missile batteries during the face off with Cuba in 1962.

In Flatistan hills are where you find them. From these giddy heights we could look across the swamps to the Key West almost-international airport. Soon charter flights to Cuba will be leaving from here for the godless communist island.

Climb every mountain, Cheyenne.

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Night Watch

We wandered back and forth Cheyenne and I, creeping through the shadows of Old Town

When I see old Key West filtered in sepia tones by the magic of electrons I am put in mind of old movies The Rose Tattoo is a fine cliché, for example.

I saw no voluble Italians on our stroll, just clumps of quiet tourists, as captivated as I by the architecture of a small corner of America left largely untouched through the years.

The fish shop on Eaton never looked less like the gas station it once used to be. A waif in an apron staggered out under the weight of a large trash can and deposited her load with barely a glance for me or my usually enticing furry companion.

I unleashed Cheyenne to stand around with my camera while my tripod sat at home thirty miles away snug in a saddlebag.

Tennessee Williams lived on Duncan Street but he might as well have set his gothic horrors here.

A travelers palm and an eyebrow home, two Key West icons on Stump Lane.

And back to James Street, under that glowing moon. Two power boat racers were lost on Margaret Street.
"Honey, we're miles from Duval," he whined into the phone. "Hey it's okay, we've found a local," he put the phone away.
"Say, do you know where Finnigan's Wake is?" I pointed them round the the corner onto James Street with the admonition to taste the draught Boddington's which I find delicious. They were from Up North and barely acknowledged me as they trotted away desperate not to be late for whatever important gathering was assembled in the bar.

I doubt they even noticed the moon.

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Sitting On The Porch

When Fred shows up for work and we're pulling our headsets from our lockers and I ask the standard question his reply comes pat: "Living the dream, man, living the dream," and he grins as we settle into our twenty four hour chairs for another night of keeping the city safe in police dispatch.

I hear lots of crap about how the unemployed are to blame for their situation but as we sink deeper into the mire of debt and self destruction some small slivers of awareness seem to be shining through the cracks of the story we are being fed day after business day of imminent redemption if we "just work hard." I've worked all my life and with my wife of eighteen years we lived a plan and saved and organized defined benefit pensions and all that stuff. Pensions dependent on eight percent growth across the First World.

Pensions? Investments? Retirement? Huh? It all looks to be further away and less achievable than any generation since World War Two. Yet we are told that the economy is improving but the numbers looked at without a tint of politically induced hope explain the lie. I know where to place the blame just as I know the history that led us here, but that's not the point. The point is: here we are and whatever comes next in our First World Fourth Turning I am as powerless to influence events as ever I was. I can hope for the best and expect the worst as only humans know how.

Yet by a series of curious chances like the Lord High Executioner in The Mikado here I find myself and if it's not Paradise, an impossible concept for an atheist, it's close enough. And, call it fortune or planning, we have our jobs even with reduced pay as millions don't and may never again, and we have friends and I have the time to sit on the porch and enjoy the view, with my dog and with nothing to do and nowhere to be. After a life spent chasing my tail, "running away" in the words of my disgusted family decades ago, my own contentment at sitting still comes at a time when the rest of the planet has made the same decision for me. Sitting still as we wait for Fate or our Leaders to press the economic re-set button is nerve wracking especially as history tells us what comes next is likely to be awful for at least a while.

Yet whatever comes next, hyper-inflation, endless deflation, War, Plague or catastrophic climate change and peak oil or even endless hordes of frogs and locusts I know there will be moments of serenity in the chaos and I hope I will have the awareness to steal a glance and take a breath and watch the setting sun illuminate the leaves under a cloudless blue sky. Winter everywhere should be this serene and fresh and vital.

Unlike my vociferous and angry middle class fellow citizens I was not raised to take joy at my good fortune at the expense of my less fortunate, less able, less aware, less well read, less intelligent neighbors. The concept of noblesse oblige has been lost in the rush to securitize and swap and refinance and sell and defraud. I wake up and look out the window and see the sun and the green leaves and the sky and listen to my dog snore and it's another day "living the dream," and not so much in jest.

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William And Fleming In Pajamas

I was awake at two in the morning and feeling energetic so off I went. God hasn't said a word to me in decades but churches always speak to me. History, tradition, oppression and lovely pictures. Who could ask for more?

This next picture is for the nutter who called me from somewhere east of Eden at two in the morning a couple of weeks ago asking where he could stay in Key West and not see any faggots. Er...I replied. Er. I'm going to come down to Key West and kick your faggot ass with my marine boot he screeched before hanging up abruptly. Had he waited I'd have told him he could come out of the closet right here and find acceptance around their pool. No need for self hatred, dude.

There are nights when answering the police phones is more amusing than standing in a darkened street taking pictures. Other nights it's a lot worse, but never mind, sometimes we actually do some good. Those are the really good nights.

If you ride around like this when solid citizens are sleeping factory mufflers are a good idea.

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Colorful Lower Keys

So why doesn't it get claustrophobic, running into tidal water every way one turns? The red diamonds warn drivers not to plop off the end of the road.

Because which ever way you look there is something to catch your attention. I thought plastic flamingos were for yards Up North, but I was wrong. They provide a splash of color Down Here too.

I've got lots of these but mine aren't nearly as yellow. I hope they will be soon.

An orange house manages somehow to blend in around here, as far as we are from the desert southwest.

Colors found in nature tend to be more subdued.

Yet we see hints of yellows and oranges and at the right time we can find pinks and reds.

Fortunately gray is limited to brief pauses between the colors.

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