I feel stuck in a rut at the moment and I don't know quite how to get out of it. A fellow I met on the road many years ago remarked that he expected me to run out of words sooner or later. Bob Leong was one of the nicest people you could hop[e to meet on the Internet and made friends all over the place. I thought he was wrong and I told him so at the time.
Aside from riding motorcycles Bob was an avid Corvette owner in his corner of far Western Canada and on a trip to the heart of Corvette-land in Kentucky, you might call it a pilgrimage, he died in his sleep in distant 2014. As sudden and as unexpected as it was, his death caused all of us that knew and liked him to sit back a second and think. I remembered his words and even after he was no longer around to debate with, I continued to disagree. Now I wish he were here to help me unravel this conundrum that he had predicted: some day you will use up all your words.
I'm not sure if I've squeezed Key West dry and thus am ready to see something new, or if, as I believe more likely I am ready to see something new and thus am failing to see Key West in a fresh new light each day. It is a conundrum. Thinking about it put me in mind of the wisdom of the late Bob Cheong.
The every day beauty is here, but my ability to capture the essence of daily life here is slipping through my fingers. I cannot believe reading about the tightening noose of lack of economic sense in this community makes for interesting reading. I am constrained from writing about my difficulties at work where we have 15 budgeted positions and only eight of them are filled. Going to work constantly short staffed is wearing me down, I admit it.
Normally the rush of people this time of year slows down and for a couple of months before family summer vacations we see a period of quiet, of refreshment after the winter crowds. This year as usual Covid has changed all that and the pent up desire to travel and be away means Key West hotels are full and some of the money lost during the height of the pandemic is being made up.
I am told the city itself has done okay during this time of stress, with cautious budgeting and planning for the worst, so the city according to our union negotiators is not in bad financial shape. Good news I suppose for people looking at a long term job situation. But Key West as I frequently point out has an astonishing capacity for reinventing itself and surviving.
I keep walking Rusty, taking pictures, seeking new angles or shapes or perspectives, different light, sticking with an awkward lense to force myself to see and not take things I've seen for twenty years for granted. I want new horizons and different challenges and ther thought of learning to see on the fly, as we drive by makes me nervous. I know what to expect in the Keys, rainy season or dry, morning noon or evening or night.
Places I love, the origami tree shadows against the colors of the setting sun, the clouds of summer, the shadows of noon with the sun overhead, the irritating sweat of summer walks fogging the camera and my glasses and my mind. It's what I know. It's safe.
Time for a change, time to risk making a mistake, time to see new things and new places and put my view of them on this same page. My wife is wrapping up her last school year, her last class is taught, she has some papers to shuffle and graduations to attend but he career as a teacher is over. Next week she starts her new and important job of Chief Planning Officer for the Alaska to Argentina expedition of 2022. Rusty the Chief Security Officer has been practicing sleeping in the van under the air conditioner these hot summer days so he is transitioning nicely. I am still showing up at my desk holding to the routine. It seems unfair but my wife says she started working before me all those years ago.
This time next year I hope to be in Alberta, or the Yukon perhaps, depending on the snowline. Bob Leong country, as it were. I wonder what I shall be seeing. This page will still be here, I've added a url to it already, thegoldenvan.com but it simply forwards along with Key West Diary to this same page: conchscooter.blogspot. A different photograph, a new tag, the more things change the more they will stay the same. I hope new words will come with new environments and I hope my camera will reveal them to my eye.