Tuesday, January 5, 2021

After Hours

Years ago - dare I say decades ago? - I used to spend a lot of time noticing the left overs on the streets of Key West, abandoned by people with other things on their minds if indeed they had a mind left after meeting lots of lovely new friends in bars scattered along Duval Street, the only thoroughfare of any note to hardened Key West visitors.  I can say with some confidence they are back. I have tracked their spoor.
The Waterfront Brewery is a relatively new arrival on the drinking scene, but there again Turtle Kraals is gone along with so many businesses. In the first half of 2020 I wandered around not sure if I was missing the crowds or enjoying the solitude, and now they are back and ready to buy. I suppose I should miss the solitude but...I  don't because I make my own and I'm glad the crowds are here when I'm not and spending their money.
Key West Bight Night

If I walk early enough I can pretend there's no one around because they are all asleep, but I get the dubious benefit of the traces they have left behind.  When I saw the beer bottles feeding the fish I started laughing as all sorts of puns and images came to mind; possibly Ralph fed the fish?
I don't think much is going to change for a quite a while in 2021 and my earlier hopes have been put back behind bars for the time being. I got grumpy for a while when I realized the vaccine isn't coming any time soon for us little people. The people at the top who denied the virulence of the virus are lining up to "set a good example" and protect themselves. Meanwhile their followers spread across Duval Street protesting masks and curfews and, much to our amusement in dispatch, we got lots of angry calls to end a hellish year, accusing us of being "Communists," which gave me some idea of how weird the world outside the Keys really is. The Communist Manifesto, 2020 Edition. I did not contribute one word to it, just for the record.
My wife's doctor told her she can't get a vaccine even were one available for several months as she has to wait since her latest round of medication depressed her already feeble immune system so we have no plans to change our isolation. I wonder what will come of all the end of the year crowds in the next weeks and months and the scientists are telling us nothing good.  Requiring masks means nothing if compliance only comes with coercion.  Compliance in Key West is solid among locals and sketchy among visitors.We have to keep hoping they'll take the virus home with them because better their hospitals are overwhelmed than ours.
I can tell you that nagging about masks gets you nowhere in the long run. Rusty strides past all the signs and refuses to follow my example. He has never put on a mask since the beginning of the pandemic. Non compliant rebel. I still love him.
Key West
On the other hand. there are still those mysterious signs of the passage of hitherto unknown customs across Key West. I cannot figure out how a gallon jug of detergent ended up in a trash can in the middle of Mallory Square. I have never seen that before where one usually finds bottles coconuts and food wrappers.
I confess I am tired of seeing people say good bye to 2020. The calendar is just a convenient marker to regulate our lives. I need something rather more coherent than a calendar date to show me that the awfulness of 2020 is behind us.  20 million infected Americans, 350,000 dead and masks are still a struggle. We have learned nothing. Except perhaps that coronavirus does kill more people than the 'flu. Anyone out there pushing that tired old story? Anyone?