Monday, April 27, 2020

Rebuilding

Roadwork scheduled for the Triangle is moving forward helped by the absence of normal traffic. Residents of the Lower keys, more than people in Key West itself, have been somewhat concerned (panicked) at the thought of the only bridge into the city being closed, even partially for construction. Is it permissible to be glad that the coronavirus has reduced traffic to a trickle? As you might imagine the beautifully marked lane shifts are simple to negotiate not only because they are well done but also because there is no traffic! 
I think everyone is hoping the bridge reconstruction at the Triangle goes at quadruple speed while we are locked down but the city isn't holding back. Downtown is getting it's own facelift while Duval Street is shut down. I love the new cut outs on the sidewalk. When I was in a. wheelchair I tried to negotiate three blocks of Duval by myself and I got stuck in those cut outs that were crumbling. Thats not going to happen to anyone else now. Brilliant. Plus the street itself gets a new layer of smoothness. Very good.
Naturally when people in Key West see the city spending infrastructure funds at a time when the economy is tanking leads to criticism. We do not live in a time when making. reasoned argument changes perception so for those who don't understand how and wy. government apportions money I shall say no more but the fact remains that capital funds have to spent on capital improvements. And this is the perfect time for the city to get ready for a new future.
My favorite neighbor, a chef who is the most stand up guy I know is leaving town taking his wife and child with him. By this time next week they will be living with his father in Central Florida and he will be completely out of work. He saw no future in the Keys. I dread the next hurricane season without Brian nearby. The city and the county are putting employees on furlough, suspending their pay while sustaining their health insurance and seniority with a promise to rehire when things change.  I am exempt not only as I have massive seniority but also because we are already short handed in 911. However our overtime is cut and we will find ourselves working two in the room a lot of the time as the three person minimum is suspended for now.  It will be tiring but we can handle it. And we still get paid and have work which makes us incredibly lucky. No complaints.
My wife gets to teach from home for the rest of the year and she too gets paid - yay!- even though she loves classroom teaching and being in a real relationship with her students. No chance of that for a while. The county has said the Keys will be closed into June at least.  From what I can see the checkpoints on the two roads into the keys are our lifesaver. Sheriff Rick Ramsay set them up with Keys wide support and stood up to the state when they told him to take them down. He has undoubtedly saved us from big city infection from Miami.  Planes still fly into Key West but they are mostly empty and bring back city residents who are all required to quarantine on arrival. Somehow we have been saved serious levels of infection even though only a thousand people have been tested. Our hospitals so far are in good shape and were it not for the economic hardship we would be doing fine.
People are putting together food donations and food banks, restaurants are donating and one hopes the people with money are supporting those efforts. I am more animal oriented and I look to the SPCA for a place where I can help. I look at Rusty and worry about people on the edge with animals. Anyway enough of that we all do our bit.
That's it really. Stories of fear and  mental anguish are out there and I hear some at work. But we could be a lot worse off than we are. And now a couple of gratuitous Rusty pictures.
Dog walking is the activity in solitude and there we were in the dark at Simonton Beach where he found some sand this side of the barricades. So he did his usual. Another successful stroll.