Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Wild Chickens

It is with some embarrassment I read of the End of Summer Up North. In the Keys this is the time of year when everything slows down and takes on a summer-like lassitude. It's odd because the students are back in school and that's when summer becomes really delightful, crowds thin as families get back to their regular schedules and local discounts take full effect  for a few steamy weeks in Key West.
It is true that Key West and the Keys generally are becoming impossibly popular and all the statistics indicate hotels are charging as much as ever and can afford to as they are sold out more often than ever. It used to be that down time in the tourist trade lasted longer but September and October have always been the quietest months. This year that is especially pleasurable as the rest of the year has been hellishly crowded. Rain, schools, threats of hurricanes,heat and humidity that last into November are all reasons for things to go quiet, for businesses to take a vacation and seasonal workers to count their pennies as they wait for Fantasy Fest to give tham another chance at making real money.
I saw this sign and it made me realize that indeed it's possible to make money even if you can't speak English in Key West. "Southernmost House's" on the sign really seems to indicate it intends the plural of "house" even though the sign reads "of the house." Just because you make money doesn't mean you can speak English. There is no apostrophe when you are expressing the plural of a singular noun. If this concept is alien to you please don't parade around demanding that everyone speak English in this country because too many native speakers can't manage the feat.
It doesn't really matter though does it? As long as we get the idea across all will be well, so goes modern thinking. I get annoyed at myself for noticing this stuff but it sticks out like a sore thumb to me. Yet when I edit my own essays it sometimes takes two or three goes to spot howlers on my own page. Spotting bad grammar is like giving advice- so much easier to advise others than ourselves. I wish I were a chicken sometimes. Well, no I don't actually as an inability to spell seems to make their lives critically boring.
I grew up around free range chickens but it seems most visitors to Key West didn't so these free loading bums get lots of positive attention from passers by. Enjoy and forgive me for being a grammar grump.
As I trailed Cheyenne I noticed something that surprised me- there were no sleepers in public places. I usually see a whole tribe of people sleeping on the streets, the usual collection of dismal abandoned humanity coping as they can with their addictions and illnesses mental and physical. In this case there were none. No explanation.
The low wall is one of two downtown panhandling zones, the low wall is where people can sit and exercise their first amendment right to beg for money, the theory being they won't then clutter up the rest of downtown. But on this day there was no one to be seen there or down Wall Street. Odd that, perhaps they are getting into some sort of summer migratory pattern.
Lovely cool Key West on a summer morning.