Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Keeping Key West Weird- A Meditation

Picking up from my essay earlier this week on Cuba I saw that rather startling piece of art work. I think it was at the Gallery on Greene. It set the tone for my wanderings early in the morning. A man sleeping in the bus shelter on Caroline Street across from the Bull:
The Blue Paper keeps stirring it up, even in the quieter season called Summer. They use oddly innovative bill board type news stands to promote their online paper:
"Give the Gift of Fun" -  what a weird tagline for a product. What an odd place for an empty display box. 
I don't think much of cities that promote themselves with the tag "Keep So-and-So Weird/" I think by the time Portland or Taos or Boulder or Santa Cruz  has to invoke the activists to keep working to keep the place weird, the weird factor has already fled. 
I'm not sure how weird Key West really is. The stores aren't even that unique  and far too many are chains. The gay community, a bastion of weirdness in decades past is not only properly amalgamated in Key West, its also a shrinking community thanks to the silly cost of housing and besides being gay in America is hardly of itself, weird any more. High time of course, but still the mainstreaming of homosexuality has left a weirdness gap in the popular culture.
I think Key West is pretty, especially when the sun is barely over the horizon. I think Key West and the Lower Keys still manage to offer a certain amount of what matters most to me, being allowed to live on my own terms. I can wear pink Crocs, I can ride a scooter and not raise any questions about my sanity even if I choose to commute 25 miles by said scooter. The fact that I am boringly mainstream in Key West pleases me. This past weekend when outsiders flooded the road I had to take to my motorcycle to avoid being run off the road. Idiots from Up North could not stand the idea of being followed by a faggoty scooter on the highway, an attitude I don;'t have to deal with normally and I found myself offended by the attempts to run me off the road. So I defended myself by riding my motorcycle and the harassment stopped. I had to modify my behavior to accommodate the youn g bucks from Miami. What a drag.
Keep Key West weird, sure. When I grumble that I'd like it cleaner too, they grumble at me sating shabbiness is home to the off kilter. If that is the case I suppose I shall have to submit to the tyranny of filth.
The 100 block of Duval, abandoned, graffitti'ed, scrofulous paint peeling, chickens shitting, palms fading. Weird or not it sure is ugly and the city doesn't care. Now that's weird.


Cody Goldman said...

we just got back last Wednesday from 10 days in key west. we usually go twice a year but didn't make it in November so it had been one year. The place has changed; we could definitely see it and feel it. I've read about it and now saw it first hand. You have mentioned it numerous times. It's definitely not weird, some weird people remain but it has lost its weird edge. we had a great time and love it but its not weird.
One of the biggest things that struck me is how BO's now sticks out like a sore thumb, to the point that it doesn't belong. That is telling. Like the food or not, the place was/is a quirky joint that became a must do type thing on the must try when in Key West list. It sat on the outskirts and fit in with the Schooner Wharf bar, and the outer parts of the bight. Now it truly looks like it doesn't belong and it was sad that everything around it is so commercial and higher end.
I enjoy your perspective on what is happening, good read.

Conchscooter said...

Thanks. All true what you said.