Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Slower Traffic

I got pulled over the other evening on my way in to work on my wife's 150cc Vespa. I was following a very erratic van on Highway One and when at last the was a long open stretch of highway with no oncoming traffic and a dotted yellow line. I went for it. The van driver realized to his horror a moped was passing him. He sped up. I slowed to slip back in behind him. He slowed down to keep me in the oncoming lane. I sped up. he sped up. I said "fuck it" and kept going by now running out of passing room. As I entered the nom passing been an oncoming car convinced the van I was serious, but unfortunately the oncoming car was a sheriff's deputy. He was very kind when I explained my predicament and I got a verbal warning and arrived at work with four minutes to spare.

Two days ago I was following this silver excrescence into Key West and he was doing a magnificent job of sitting in the passing lane at 50 in a 55 and plowed imperturbably into Stock Island blocking the left lane as he went. "Slower Traffic Keep Right" the signs instruct but he wasn't reading signs. He ducked into the right lane at the last minute to turn right into Key West and as I came alongside I saw a gray haired man my age, who should know better - texting.

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Summer In Key West

Most people who live year round in Key West enjoy summer and I dare say, empirically, that most of them might very well prefer summer to winter.

Essentially there are two seasons in Key West, cool and dry and hot and and humid. I'm speaking in broad terms and winter is what the Keys are renowned for, when snow drifts are making life miserable Up North and the sun is shining down here.

However the bit I find odd is how people run "home" to furnaces in Iowa and Kansas in the summer as though escaping summer temperatures in the nineties moderated by sea breezes is a smart idea when you end up on a blasted heath with temperatures well above 100. I have been in Kansas in summer and it's no picnic, I can tell you.

Key West by comparison is refreshed periodically by downpours which bring all the excitement of crashing thunder and cracks of wild lightning strong winds and cool temperatures at least for a while.

It's true that winter is the season of culture in town with plays, visiting literary figures (also escaping the vicissitudes of winter) and all sorts of performances that enliven the town. However for those that seek the serenity of summer winter is a time when the town pullulates with people.

Once upon a time Key West died a tourist death each summer and the town suffered scarcity. These days we get visitors in summer and it's a different kind of tourist that fills the coffers in the "slow season." This is the time of year families come to Key West when school's out and foreigners populate the sidewalks of Duval Street.

However you can still fire a cannon down some streets and not hit anybody which, I have to admit, is really nice. No lines in restaurants, easy car parking and lots of peace and quiet for my headless dog to snuffle the sidewalks.

The city looks nicer too. Check out this off street parking spot: no car! Of course it may not be in Kansas, it might just be at work across town.

The date palms are flowering and looking good.

Later in the year the dates will go red but they won't mature properly I am told that's because the Keys aren't hot enough and dry enough to replicate a proper desert environment.

Some heavy handed irony will close out this essay on the best season of the year in Key West.

If we got two inches of snow in summer that would be interesting. Even though snow flurries have been recorded in the Keys the idea of frost ice or settled snowflakes is absurd enough to merit the sign. One inch would have been enough.

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