Friday, February 26, 2021

Duval Street Normal

I took the van into town and even though it is high season in winter there was plenty of parking downtown. I was surprised to find a space easily one block from Duval. I had had chores to do followed by an evening shift at work so I figured I'd do better to take the van to town and spend the afternoon in relative comfort without trekking home to Cudjoe Key. It was a good plan.
Van Life
I spent some time at Truman Waterfront on an uncharacteristically sunny day off but before I went to work for my four hour evening shift I decided to take a photo walk on Lower Duval to see how the pandemic winter is working out. Duval Street isn't really very appealing as a destination and in this Covid year it has been even less so, which I do find rather annoying.
Properly masked I set off. I am fully vaccinated at this point, a week after my second shot so the mask is more  away to reduce the spread than to protect myself  but having lived through all those months of mask controversy I think it is more important than ever to keep following the rules. And in Key West the rule is wear a mask. These chickens were ignoring the rules and thus setting a terrible example to their numerous offspring:
It was a pleasant afternoon to wander and perhaps to wonder, a warm day and as it turned out not too crowded. I have to say that being protected by the vaccine makes me feel a lot less stressed being even close to other people outdoors, even though I have not yet got any interest in sitting indoors around strangers. We buy restaurant food to go and will for a while I dare say.
The mask ordinance is a tough rule to enforce if people aren't much interested in compliance. Officers are posted up and down Duval Street gently reminding passersby of the rule to cover up but how do you get everyone everywhere to do what they don't want to do? My solution is to stay away.
I thought it was a warm afternoon but not everyone agreed apparently. I came across a study in plaid outside Wendy's at the corner of Eaton Street, properly masked to boot:
Key West

Florida Winter
Social distancing, a term I keep hoping will disappear from our vocabularies before too long. I find it weird to imagine a future without all these precautions, so used I have become to them. I was reading in the paper today that we may be back to normal this summer and indeed my wife, also vaccinated, has bought airline tickets to California this September. It's her first vacation during the school year in 20 years as she will hit retirement this June.  September is a good month to be out of the Keys to avoid heat and hurricanes and a good month to be in Central California to avoid fog and damp.
I have been toying with making a  trip back to Europe to see my relatives one last time before we hit the road in retirement next year but Italy is having a hard time organizing vaccinations and I'm not sure how easy overseas travel will be this summer. I'm not going to have time to take extended quarantines should they be imposed.  I find it energizing that once again such plans can even be remotely considered. That feels a bit like normal.
Florida Bars
Outdoor dining, watching the world go by from the balcony at the Whistle bar...
Key West Bars
...riding a  motorcycle, helmetless for those that dare, Florida winter looking superficially back to normal. I took the great lumpen van back home and enjoyed the drive.
Florida Winter