Cheyenne wanted a longer walk but I was glad to get her home before the heavens opened, and I listened to the rain as I got into bed after a rather dreary quiet night at work. Often Thursday nights, for some reason not known to me, can be incredibly busy in police dispatch in Key West, but last week we were spared the frantic rush of calls and the endless triage of trying to figure out which might be in need of the quickest attention. Those sorts of nights leave me drained, spending hours treating the city as a chess board and trying to move officers around the city attending to the most urgent calls frost. It gets incredibly wearing knowing calls are holding and lacking the resources to deal with the right away. I don,t know how big city dispatchers do it, holding dozens of calls, many of them invoking violence. It would give me ulcers. As it is I have to hold back the low intensity calls on busy nights, which annoys people but at least callers aren't getting hurt.
It rained all day yesterday on and off and I had high hopes Friday night revelry in the city would be tamped down by the appalling storms with wind and slashing horizontal rain, the sort of conditions that often persuade even hard core drinkers to stay home for the evening and raid the fridge. It was the end of ,y long week of work, six nights out of the past seven and I was ready for the weekend off, at last.
I set off from home just after five o'clock and got nice and damp just going downstairs to get into the car. My wife as supportive as she is, was relieved I agreed to not take the Bonneville I to work. What the hell I thought, I ride enough in the rain to feel any compaction about not starting a twelve hour shift damp. The satellite radio worked nicely in the car throughout the storm, thank you. I took this picture below, from the top of the Niles Channel Bridge, not terribly accurately but it shows what there was to see across the water: not much. It was a study in shades of gray, and I was glad not to be at anchor in that mess of rain and fog and damp and cold (relatively cold, that is).
Coming down the hill into Summerland Key I could see a long line of white lights piercing the gloom, as much of the rest of the world packed up their Key West offices and went home to get a start on their regular weekends. I enjoy working my odd hours, two nights on and two nights off alternating my three day weekends, and I wonder how I would cope with the regular dreary schedule of five on two off in regular sequence. I also like driving in the opposite direction to the bulk of the commuting traffic...
Summerland Key looked dull and dark under the rain clouds, the usual lack of urban planning looking worse than normal in these wintery conditions. Often I find a ray of sunshine and some shiny green palm fronds work wonders, positive effects that dissipate under the weight of gray everywhere.
I am astonished how many vehicles on the roads don't turn their lights on. It is a phenomenon that boggles my mind, especially. Considering how distracted others are when driving. It's as though these numbnuts expect everyone else to notice their dark vehicles in these marginal conditions and I started counting how many of them there were on the Overseas Highway. About one in ten failed to turn on their lights, which gives me poor survival odds I the event I choose to pass only motorcycle at dawn or at dusk. Nice way to end a as radiator ornament on the front of a car with no lights!
I have noticed snowbirds are starting to leave, Easter is come and gone and with it the hope of Spring is I the air, making it safe for winter residential head back North. Apparently some late snow has been falling and cold weather has't quite dissipated but these are creatures of habit and the migration mode is upon them. This is about time that cold frogs wrap up for the winter and though this one was wet and windy it is not expected to produce temperatures even into the mid sixties so it will blow over in a hurry. By Monday we should be back to eighties by day and seventies by night. Perhaps even by tomorrow.
I noticed when I was in Ocracoke that the cold weather did not improve my disposition. I was on vacation which made it easier to bear, and briefly I enjoyed the change, but I do prefer sunshine and dry conditions. Sitting in the house watching everything drop yesterday afternoon did very little to cheer me up. Cheyenne slept next to the open door, and she was happy as she prefers fresh to canned cool air. She isn't fond of the rain but she likes the cool weather. I just don't.
The rebuilding of North Roosevelt Boulevard is about halfway done and the storm was a timely reminder of why the work is so necessary. I am not looking forward to extra traffic lights (they are so painfully slow to change in this town! Green never comes!) bit it would be nice if the engineers got it right and flooding went away. It sure hasn't gone away yet on the south side of the street!
In the end last night was intensely busy at work and it seems the rain, which passed over the city of Key West earlier in the afternoon was not enough to keep people home. And so now to sleep with the hope that when I wake the sun will be back, palm fronds will be glinting and white clouds will replace the black monsters of the past hours.