Friday, August 10, 2018

Meat And Art

I have been seeing some spectacular sunrises this week, portents of rain to come later. I had a dog walking friend say she wanted to accompany Rusty and I to see this scene and of course when the time came (6:30 am) she was a no show. I realize I am an unusual character inasmuch as I work all night, I walk far and wide after my shift and I love doing it, even though I am working too much and I am 60 years old. It's hard to describe as a friend someone who isn't motivated to get out of bed for this sunrise. Luckily I prefer being alone with Rusty when the shared activity is exploring the mangroves during a walk. People tend  to get in the way.
I posted this picture on Instagram and expected to get all kinds of earache about safety and so forth but perhaps my curmudgeonly attitude toward interfering in other people's lives kept the critics quiet. Or perhaps it is the notion gaining traction that if have nothing nice to say, say nothing. The man with two children on the Honda Metropolitan scooter reminded me of my Italian youth when children, myself included routinely rode with their families by standing at the front holding onto the handlebars as can barely be seen below:  
There are places in life that catch up to you an change you. It's been three years now and i still go to Sean's broga studio a minimum of three times a week, often more. Strength based yoga has nothing to do with eastern mysticism and everything to do with lifting and pushing and stretching using your body weight. An hour of that and I am reduced to a pile of sweat and my legs tremble and my heart pounds. 150  squats and 60 push ups in between downward dogs and planks and assorted postures is  quite usual. I wobble toward the end of each hour, losing form along with the will to live. But the effect has been dramatic. I am amazed at my consistency and I find myself holding poses longer and doing harder and harder tests of strength and managing to carry them out. I decided if I was going to live past sixty I'd better do something to delay the onset of creaking old age. Broga is my answer, much to my own surprise.
But there again every Wednesday they sell food at the Sugarloaf Lodge at Mile Marker 18 on the Highway. I confess it was an impulse purchase but Tennessee Steve's ribs are worth the price of admission, $25 for a full rack and half for half, and I enjoyed them with his peculiarly peppery acidic sauce. I got to thinking about how food is an expression of culture and  how meat is such an ambivalent product in a  world where animals aren't raised with a sense of gratitude and respect for their lives. It is odd that we are glutted with calories and yet the producers of food are constantly seeking unhealthful ways to produce more at lower cost. 
At the same time I value the diversity of food we get in the United States where so many people bring the food they knew in their countries of origin. I enjoy the ribs but I also remember Nepalese dumplings in Columbus Ohio and  actual Belgian waffles by a Belgian immigrant in Cincinnati...we are so lucky to be able to taste the cuisine of the world right here at home.
My wife is ready to visit the dentist but the dentist is not yet ready  to see her. She asked me to stop by and see if there was any progress on restoring the office.
"None that I can see" was my report. The tourist literature stresses the return to normal of life in the Keys since Hurricane Irma last September. However there are significant gaps in the restoration of services. One of two gas stations on Summerland is closed and restoration is moving glacially so Dion's Fried Chicken won't be available for months to come no doubt. The other gas station has a frayed tarp for a roof and no shelter over the pumps which only dispense regular gasoline.
You get used to these gaps in daily life and I find that disturbing. It's been 11 months since we got creamed.
I guess I have been spending a lot of time thinking about how to enjoy these last three years in the Keys. Daily life is circumscribed by too much work, slow commutes and daily routines but at the same time Key West made one list of top arts centers in the US, according to the National Center for Arts Research. I should be enjoying this town more.

"In this report, we highlight and celebrate communities of every size and in every region that have cultivated higher levels of arts activity per person living in the community.  We use the term “vibrancy” in keeping with Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word to mean “pulsating with life, vigor, or activity."
Top 10 Arts-Vibrant Small Communities
(Micropolitan Areas)
Rank

Region
2016 Population
1
Edwards, CO
West
53,989
2
Jackson, WY-ID
West
34,151
3
Summit Park, UT
West
40,307
4
Hood River, OR
West
23,232
5
Durango, CO
West
55,623
6
Key West, FL
South
79,077
7
Bennington, VT
Northeast
36,191
8
Oneonta, NY
Northeast
60,097
9
Juneau, AK
West
32,468
10
Fredericksburg, TX
South
26,521

In case there was any doubt Rusty gave the ribs his seal of approval, or at last he seemed to by inhaling his share of meat. I don't think the art displays museums and live theater will do much for him. But I'm pretty sure he's glad I'm not a vegetarian. The question is: is it worth leaving him at home to see a play or should I stay home and entertain him? I guess we'll find out this winter.