Thursday, June 24, 2021

Candid Public Photos

It has been hot and sticky in South Florida, balanced by a continuing fresh breeze making the evenings cool and pleasant. All of which does not mean that sudden downpours are not happening. I was on Front Street meandering without Rusty, when a sudden cloud burst sent me for cover on a bench under an awning, I sat on after the rain and watched people go by.
Ever since my wreck when my helmet saved my life if not my pelvis I notice the unguarded heads riding by, some of them apparently worth photographing.  I don't really care if people wear helmets and I don't favor laws requiring them as we don't have a cohesive health care mandate from the government so taking your chances seems to be in the spirit of personal responsibility. Lots of people wreck in Key West and you never hear about them if you don't answer 911.
I got 50 years of helmeted riding in my memory bank and that seems like a good stretch. My wife is much more traumatized by my time time in the hospital than I am so it seems cruel to insist on continuing to ride at this point. The van is a  surprisingly adequate substitute for getting around.
At age 63 having your own toilet and getting hot cups of tea while driving seem like a reasonable exchange for sitting out in the weather while enjoying near misses from ever more distracted drivers.
It occurs to me you could make a pretty expansive home inside a tour bus. I'd cover up the windows as I feel no need to live my life in full view, but I'll bet they are easy enough to drive as they can handle the narrow Key West streets. 
I have to confess I rarely see interesting people on the streets. I don't like to wear hats and I do like a collar on my shirt but I don't dress a part. I call it the Key West uniform:
And there is a thriving rental company renting dream vehicles for use in Paradise: Jeeps. When I first thought about driving South America I thought about using a Jeep but a little research showed four wheel drive is totally unnecessary for my kind of travel. A good thing to know is the Wrangler is sold world wide so if you do want to travel and not live comfortably in your vehicle a Wrangler is iconic and useful. The things you learn. I learned I like having the comforts in a van on the road. 
One of those things I appreciate about Key West is the lack of attention paid to status symbols. It isn't like it was but there still remains forgiveness for those of us not interested in fashion or costly accessories.
Be yourself they say. So one does. Dress up or dress down and do expect to be thanked one way or the other.
Strangely overcast days alternating with sunshine apparently at random.
A feature of winter living in Key West is the arrival of snowbirds of course, people escaping the cold. Weirdly enough the population of homeless people swells as well during the winter months. Some few hardcore locals hang out through the long hot sweaty rainy summers.  
I asked one of them recently, a guy I see around town all the time if he got bored living on the streets after  47  years in the same town and he looked me as though I was insane. "Key West? Boring?" There goes a man with fortitude I thought to myself as Rich shuffled off shaking his head. 
Sometimes you just have to sit and think. Imagine doing that in front of a restaurant that has survived Covid among all the other catastrophes that can beset a town in the hurricane belt. There are visitors to Key West who dream of going back to Joe's Place and here it is, trundling on, durability made real in a town where change is constant. And yes I do photograph the brick building every time I visit Mallory Square. I like it.
Bicycle tours. I like to walk but as usual I am an outlier. Most people love to ride bicycles when they come to Key West. I prefer to amble. Better hope I keep ambling because that's how I get my pictures.
It was hot. I got out of work early so Rusty was at home. It was so hot he didn't leap out to greet me as he usually does when I get home at 6:30 in the cool of the evening.  Why he wasn't indoors enjoying air conditioning I couldn't say but he loves sitting outside, not barking, not running into the street, just watching. In this case in the shade of the van. Weird dog, perfectly adapted to Key West life.