Sunday, October 20, 2013

Working Duval Street

I feel privileged to have one job the pays well enough that I need no second employment to live in Key West, rated by some as the most expensive city in Florida. I doubt that considering Royal Palm Beach and Bal Harbor but in any event Key West is pricey.
Traditionally this is a tough tIme of year for the workers in the hospitality trades. It's the time of year hurricane season peaks and tourism hits it slowest point. That's the reason they invented Fantasy Fest, an excuse for people to show up in town and fill the visitor void.
Cheyenne is in retirement after a life producing pedigree puppies and living caged and hidebound. She likes watching people work.
I think it's hard work selling stuff but people tell me being a 911 operator is too stressful. Not for me but I cringe at the idea of trying to persuade strangers I have something worth their while in exchange for their money. It might be a tour ticket:
So would you rather be up the ladder painting the wooden building and living here year round, or would you rather be drifting by on your bicycle one last time before you take a plane back home to a snow drift somewhere Up North?
I remember Russians living in outfits like the red one on this young Slavic shopkeeper, back in 1981 when I took the Great Siberian Railway for a week across that enormous country. He doesn't look like he approves of retired Labradors:
If you find a craftsman that turns up sober and on time and more or less able, clasp him to your bosom, and pay him or her promptly.
If you live here but three or four months in the year don't claim you live here, you visit and pay taxes without the benefit of homestead claims. But you can hire people to protect your second (or third) home while you are away residing elsewhere. We will keep an eye on it for you..
So I ask myself how the hell can you make a living selling dust catchers? But people do apparently and good livings at that. I know of a performer at Mallory Square who performed enough that he bought a house and put two kids through college. Go figure.
Some of us have jobs you'll recognize where you live, like driving a fork lift, making deliveries or building buildings. It's not easy to find workers in Key West as too many people of working age come here not to work but to enjoy life at the end of the road under a palm tree or two.
It's hard to come to terms with the fact that I live in a place whe people come on vacation and idly imagine themselves staying and giving up their careers and their ambitions to sell coconut drinks or palm branch carvings. Because if you come to Key West to live and you want advice, all I can say is that you need to give up being ambitious as the way to propitiate the gods of residence. I never thought I'd find my best career in Key West where I wanted to be like everyone else and play at work, as a boat captain in my case. I did it for a while but I like the serenity of routine and the commitment of scheduled work. All that in a town dedicated to play. I have a job working for the Old Bill, helping maintain the thin blue line between order and chaos.

No comments: