Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Night In Key West

WARNING: This essay got away from me and devolved into a curmudgeon rant. Those of delicate sensibilities who have trouble with a dry sense of humor are advised to skip this page and check out one of the 3100 essays devoted to the Lower Keys available on this website. Normal photographic commentary will resume at midnight Eastern Time.





Living as we do in a culture obsessed with youth a curmudgeon like myself might be forgiven for taking the contrarian line that experience- free fresh young things like these are of less than passing interest. But if you are debonair and charming and find the quality of your day is improved by the sight of children posing as adults, the boardwalk at Key West Bight is a good place to choose for dinner. Well it was in my case.

For a lot of people last week sitting inside was the preferred choice. My wife always asks where I'd like to sit, but in deference to her preference for sharing her food with any passing insect I loyally suggest outdoor seating is my preference too, as it happens. In this instance sitting outdoors at Alonzo's seemed like decidedly the better choice as indoors was crowded and very noisy.
And sitting outdoors means you can people watch, and watch people watching the tarpon swimming in circles waiting for breadcrumbs, while you wait for your own breadcrumbs to arrive.

Sean was dressed in the Alonzo's uniform of dark blue shirt and tan shorts similar in many respects to what I wear at my job though I wouldn't mind being allowed to sit In shorts all night. My wife likes Alonzo's and she is happy to send people who seek decent fish to eat here; that appetizers are half price during happy hour increases the appeal for my frugal wife.

We were celebrating her assignment for the next school year where she transferring to teach adults in the jail and is also setting up a new vocational type program (I think, her job descriptions are all a bit vague to me) for adult education across the Keys. It was her dream job and she was so excited to get the news from her boss. Only half priced shellfish would do, to celebrate her dream assignment.

Mussels, calamari (not pork bungs I trust!) oysters and fish fingers, oh my. That and a Yuengling set me steady for the second half of the program.

The idea was to catch the new Robert Redford vehicle The Company You Keep at the Tropic Cinema. It wasn't our first choice but the timing was right. I took this picture of the theater after the movie when darkness gives Key West's arts house a particular glow.
Every time I take a leak I regret not being swift enough to buy a plaque here. Mind you the mysterious Roger Westerlund gets around as you will find his name above your weenie in the theater as well. It took a bit of furtive lurking to get this picture as you might imagine.

The theater was quite empty when we sat down near the back. Then Eraserhead sat in front of my wife so we moved for a clear view of the screen, which worked until the credits came up and two last minus arrivals plunked themselves down right in front of us. Hmm, I started to wonder to myself, how soon will this movie be available on Netflix streaming?

The film is the story of a group of former Weathermen living modern lives out of sight of law enforcement, so when Susan Sarandon's character decides to give herself up the FBI, frustrated by thirty years on the run, moves in and arrests her using her surrender to nail the other killer members of the radical group. Parallel to this manufactured drama a cub reporter at the Albany, NY, newspaper is also hot on the trail of his first big story and in one of many yawning plot holes beats the FBI at their own game(!). The writing was awful the characters' motivations were mysterious and the outcome predictable. It was a group play period on screen for a bunch of elderly actor-friends to work together one more time. Definitely Netflix material, unless you are celebrating a promotion.

Had I been watching at home I would not have been obliged to listen to the couple nearby explaining the plot twists to each other in loud undertones. Sigh. At least no one answered a phone call which might have interrupted Eraserhead's loud guffaws as the predictable punch lines hovering view on screen.

The Tropic is a worthy institution but the downside is you have to share it with people who haven't been brought up properly. My advice is avoid big name movies, preferably choose flicks with subtitles which should keep most of the talkers and fidgetters at bay. And don't go in winter because the blue hairs love to explain the movie to each other like they are at home on the couch. I don't say anything, I know its too late to teach my neighbors any manners by the time they are old enough to buy their own movie tickets, and I'm just grateful I get to walk away and try to keep the movie in mind and not the distractions. God give me patience, but I love movies, sitting in the dark and getting absorbed into the story. I came to realize years ago the emotion and drama and fear and excitement I felt sitting in the dark was supposed to be what I felt at Mass on Sundays. That I never did, just increased my appreciation for the power of the movies. Which is why talkers annoy me. Imagine them doing that in your church services...

On the subject of daily annoyances check out this parking job designed to preserve paintwork. Newcomers love to attach the Conch flag to their cars, but it takes more than a sticker to learn to fit in on a small overcrowded, tight parking island where every space counts and bad parking drives neighbors crazy. Another reason to ride a motorcycle.