I took these pictures last week but they are emblematic of a Key West closed for business.
I spoke with the van builders last week and they said they were working through this weekend to finish it so they can test it next week. There is no certainty but my wife and I may be driving up next week to pick it up. That is a journey fraught with complications but my wife has decided we can rent a car, spend one night at the Hilton in DeLand and once they hand over the van to us we have our own self contained space for the return trip.
It's decisions like these that make post Covid life so complicated. I was going to go on my own but neither of us felt good about only me being on hand to check out the result of two years of scheming and planning, a van that holds the keys to our futures.
Custom Coach assured us they will wear masks for the walk through and the explanation of systems and we felt it necessary to pint out that masks are required for my wife because we live in a world where mask wearing is a political statement as absurd as that sounds. The Hilton has got the highest marks according to my wife for sanitary rooms and I have noticed new guidelines form the CDC discussing viral contamination where objects are unlikely to transmit the coronavirus. It always struck me as odd how the worst outbreaks centered on crowded cities to the exclusion almost of rural backwaters. Apparently now they think the best way to catch the disease is to sit indoors with someone for fifteen minutes or more preferably unmasked to enjoy the easiest transmission of the virus.
It feels ridiculous to plan a 350 mile trip across Florida like a military campaign but we have no choice. Once we get the van home our horizons will expand even in a world dominated by virus talk. Riot talk is another subject which hasn't touched the Keys.
Repairs repaving and a gradual reopening. Now we are told hurricane season will be "active" with two storms already logged. However what they don't point out this early is where all these putative extra active hurricanes may appear from and go to. I am a lot more knowledgeable about hurricane preparedness than I am about virus awareness. There is plenty of time to test the van out before it has to stand by as a self contained evacuation vehicle. By September, peak month for hurricane season, storm shutters in use here, below, to protect windows from maintenance chores, could be up to keep out flying debris.
It has been odd to see the gradual littering by Nature in corners of the city where people aren't walking.
There are quite a few empty storefronts and how soon they get filled will be a measure of the confidence people have in Key West's ability to draw vacationers.This is a resilient town nearly wiped out by the Great Depression and saved ironically by government intervention.
It seems as though we must save ourselves this time and I have no doubt Key West will be up to the challenge. I hope visitors will get in the spirit of the thing and recognize that being different deamnds different behavior.
I wonder what I will see here next week, I wonder if traffic crashes and drunk driving will come back on the books like before?
Key West has had a dreadful reputation for bicycle accidents, the worst per capita in the State of Florida. Since the lock down car crashes and drunk driving reports have vanished. As much as people like to say the side effects of the lock down have been bad, some of them have actually been good. Obviously this situation can't go on but a return to a more mindful normal would be nice.
Rusty found clean cigarette butt free water in the bowl at the entrance to Casa 325, the first time in memory he has been able to drink from that spot on Duval Street.
"Online" is the default now showing experience of our lives. I enjoyed the radio broadcast of the 39 Steps on US 1 Radio, a substitute for a proper playhouse version of the play but I do look forward to sitting in a theater once more I have to admit.
Fingers crossed, its all we can do.