Friday, November 29, 2013

Let It Snow In Key West

Winter has beset Key West, the first real cold front of winter is upon us. Nighttime temperatures almost hit sixty degrees and daytime highs yesterday barely reached seventy. Quite a few people were wearing long pants and jackets around town during my afternoon lunch break from work.

Thanksgiving had its own neutralizing effect on the city. Sandy's 24 hour Cuban cafe was closed though Andrea snuck down there before the three pm closing time and brought reviving con leches to the communications center. The rolled down white door is a sight rarely seen on White Street.

It was generally a gray day yesterday, reminiscent of California's summer time marine inversion when cold sea air mixes with warm desert air and the day disappears behind a gray wooly blanket. Colors were muted, an unnatural condition in Key West. It wasn't actually snowing but it felt like it should have been.

People from Up North take great pleasure in mocking us for our inability to cope with temperatures below seventy degrees. All I can tell you is anyone who has felt cool temperatures in Key West will tell you they have never before felt so cold and damp at that temperature, whatever it may be.

The lowest temperature recorded in Key West was 41 degrees and I have seen 42 official degrees in town and it seemed frigid. Snow has been seen, feeble enough and momentary in Miami. But frost has never been seen in Key West. Winter temperatures in Northern Florida can dip to freezing, but down here never.

And just as well as the city is poorly equipped to cope with cold. Few homes have heat, fewer residents have much in the way of warm clothing, as I shall show when a strong cold front hits and weird pathetic scarecrows take to the outdoors in whatever woolen scraps they may have. Life on a boat can be frigid lacking proper equipment.

I take pleasure in the first drops in temperature that break the cloying heat of summer. Yet I soon tire of the cold.

I was astonished by the large crowds lined up for a "sunset" cruise on such an overcast blusterous day as was yesterday. On the water, the chill is even colder. I wonder if the tourists were aware of that?

Waterfront dining at Conch Republic Seafood is usually an open air affair, but when needed they can close off diners from the cold.

I expect the sunset cruisers were having fun out there. They probably saw an iceberg or two.

You might be forgiven for thinking that Kermit's Key Lime place on Elizabeth Street had snow shutters, but it was just styrofoam ably camouflaged.

What an odd sentiment to use for advertising I thought as I strolled by. I expect it works as I know nothing of business.

Every time I walk downtown and I see cruise ships towering over our little town I wonder how our leaders could imagine that vessels even larger admitted to our docks could benefit this modest island.

And now Thanksgiving is past and so it is on to the next holiday, Hanukkah for my wife and her people, Kwanzaa for African Americans, Christmas for Christians, and shopping wildly for everyone else.

For me, lacking as I do any belief in anything I cannot see or touch, I now face the long dark winter lived Up North, thrusting people down here to find sunshine, a fact that needs no belief, and I am not even a shopper. Soon I shall start to look forward to summer's heat and peace and quiet, even though tomorrow it should be close to 80 degrees, sunny and properly pleasant once again. Cold and gray is all very well, but the sooner the sun returns the better. Enjoy your seasons Up North.




RichardM said...

"...take great pleasure in mocking us"

You have that wrong. It isn't "us", it's just you. ;-)
Hope you had a quiet holiday.

Conchscooter said...

Quiet as the grave. Too much to eat, and when I got home I did not quite feel the need to reverse cycle the air conditioning to ward off the night chill. I braved 72 interior degrees without heat because I am tough.

Martha said...

I agree with Richard. I know that heat is hard for some people to endure (a LOT Of people up here hate hot weather) and I know many people can not tolerate the cold. Let's not do one of those North v South. That's already been done...

KeywestDreamer said...

My husband and I have been coming to Key West for years and love it, not the tourist side, but the real Key West and all it has to offer, its peace, calmness, spirituality, and beauty. There is nothing better than sitting in The Basilica of Saint Mary Star of the Sea, with all the side doors open and the wind just blowing by you as you sit in this beautiful church. I have read every Jimmy Buffet novel and know all the secret places and streets he disguises : )
We have tried to find ways to get down there several times over the years, but have been unsuccessful at finding good paying jobs to be able to live comfortably, we seem to not be hitting the right places, or have the right connections or the real way in... we must be doing something wrong. We would like to be there as soon as possible, but we just keep hitting brick walls.. We know this is the place for us and we haven't given up, and wont give up. We need your help and advice how to get in with the locals and find a decent paying job, find a home, and be happy. Any suggestions would be helpful : )

KeywestDreamer said...

is anyone out there? Feedback suggestions please?

Trobairitz said...

When you are used to 80, I can see how 40 would seem downright frosty.

I enjoyed the pictures. I am so used to the brilliant blue sky it was nice to see some muted colors too.

Conchscooter said...

The difference between north and south is this is the only place on the mainland where you can live frost free. It's a small area that is truly subtropical and inhabitable. If you want temperate weather or arctic weather there are thousands of miles of open land cities and forests. It's a blessing and a curse, and daily I feel lucky to be happy here, trials and tribulations and all.
The curse is obvious.
To live in Key West requires one to lose ambition and redimension ones life. If you require large living spaces, expensive accessories nd the just right job how do you manage that in an economy that supports less than 50,000 people?
Can you quit owning and start renting? Can you be seen on a bicycle or a beater car? Does Obamacare work for you? Or do you need business supplied health insurance?
To find a life in key west you need to be here and live here. One of the hardest features of daily life on this sliver of land is the constant departure of people who were fixtures in your life. Why would we believe you when you say you are living in key west? If we invest in a friendship with you and you disappear you take with you a small sliver of that bond that now is not available to connect with the next person claiming to be committed to living here... And so it goes.

I advise people who want to live here to lose all ambition, to not burn bridges and not to expect instant results. Time creates bonds, offers opportunities and lends support. If you need certainty and security stay where you are.

KeywestDreamer said...

Thanks for the thoughtful feedback, it is and was very appreciated. Yes we are currently renting, and yes we drive low end brand cars, and we have already discussed trading them in for scooters : ) Yes it has been my recent thinking that the only way to find the opportunities and succeed there is to actually live there and take the plunge and form the bonds you mentioned .... It seems it is not something you can do from afar and plan ahead... it just doesn't work there in Key West, for many reasons, as you said it takes time and bonding to gain trust. We have been coming down there for many years and over the years we have had many long weekends, summers etc.. and I guess we just needed guidance on how to do the next step. In reality though, with us not having a nest egg for initial expenses until we can find a job and get an apartment we would need to try to find some kind of employment ahead of time..... but again that seems to be a impossible task. I understand many people come and go and say they want the Key West dream... who could blame them. I understand the trust of the locals is probably non-existent for most newcomers and as you have mentioned for good reason. I guess I was just looking for a chance, a break, to have my dream.... I am sure there were people that helped you or gave you that one chance or break along the way, that helped change your life. I am just looking for my one chance.. : )

Keith - Circle Blue said...

Wow, and I was just thinking how warm it was out today. Here it is almost 50F. Things like warm and cold weather definitely have a large degree of relativity.

I continue to be delighted you have found a sense of being at home.

Happy What-ever days.

Conchscooter said...

Festivus, Keith. Clearly I need to write something about how I got here. Not exactly a typical story I fear, but it will set your mind at rest.mi stumble into stuff by accident, not planning.

KeywestDreamer said...

We would love to hear your story how you got there.... the more info the better.


Anonymous said...

While visiting about 25 years ago someone said to me, while sitting on the beach, that if I wanted to move here to "do it with resolve" and I did. Good insight on previous posts on this subject and nice article...