Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Surviving 65 Degrees

The fact is cool weather feels cold in the Keys. Perhaps it's the proximity of the salt water or the lack of geographical, impediments for the wind but even outsiders feel cold here when the temperatures seem absurdly high. Most people from temperate climates would say 65 Fahrenheit or 17 Centigrade would be quite reasonable when I fact it just feels downright cold. Heavy gray clouds don't help and didn't help yesterday morning.
Cheyenne relishes the cold and, unfortunately for me gains youthful vigor from the chill in the air. This time of year she loves the urban paradise that is the avenues of Big Pine Key which is where I took her yesterday morning, four miles by car from my house to a grid of semi-urban streets.
The streets are long and straight, lined with homes of snowbirds who winter here but have not yet arrived for this cold season. Locals like this place as it puts them conveniently far from the lure of Key West, the big city, at least an hour away, yet close to the supermarket and small stores and basic services at Big Pine Plaza all within cycling distance.
Yesterday was a two hour extravaganza that failed somehow to satisfy Cheyenne who strode off briskly searching out smells and leaving me far behind as I chased her big yellow tail. It had been trash day and there was enough spilled garbage and abandoned food that she was in literally in hog heaven. She didn't even avail herself of the fork she found in this abandoned lunch.
She loves the hunt past trailer parks filled with garbage cans and dogs and barking and Key deer grazing and all of it is background only to her silent hunt for whatever it is that tens her on. We met a number of dogs yesterday and it always makes me laugh to see how other dog owners struggle to contain their yapping hounds.
There was the young woman dressed to kill at that early hour holding a spaniel tight as the dog swayed at the end of its leash like a loudly barking pendulum as it tried to attract Cheyenne's attention. The dour Hispanic dog owner who strode by, eyes down, his dog eyeing Cheyenne from behind the mans striding legs as he walked rapidly by, no eye contact. One old guy smacked down his cute portly corgi who wanted tI greet Cheyenne. That was my turn to hurry by in order to save the dog more slaps which it seemed to ignore with equanimity. The packs of nasty littler at dogs are the worst, eternally trapped behind fencing yapping at any slight thing that passes and breaks the boredom for a moment.
That lot in the photo above was a pack of five so frenzied I couldn't capture them all in one frame. What a nightmare! Eventually I managed to persuade Cheyenne to stump back to the car and we rode home by 8:40, me tired and quite ready for bed, she panting and happy and ready for a proper nutritious meal.
In the afternoon when I crawled out of bed onto a cold hard wooden floor I was quick to spot that cold gray cloud layer pressing down on the islands. It looked like rain that never materialized. Washing the cars with cold water was a chore, even though I accomplished it wearing shorts and and a t-shirt. Cheyenne was stillperky, as though she had never been walked and all I wanted was tea and exercise to warm my blood.
The rest of the day, until I went to work just after dark, I stayed close to home laying out my uniform ad adding a warm vest as protection agains the night vapors. Perhaps my excuse that I was tired was the reason I took the care and not my wife's Vespa, perhaps I just miss the Bonneville still in Jiri's shop waiting for him to order the shims needed to adjust the valves. I enjoyed the empty highway, watching the headlights coming at me in a stream as te late commuters rushed home. It's cold enough Christ,as lights won't look out of pace this week. Summer is long gone even here in the sub tropics.