Friday, October 22, 2021

City Hall

I enjoy being a non person in retirement, but I did get word from a friend at city hall of a talk being given on Social Security and how to manage that part of retirement. 
I like the city hall as converted from the Glynn Archer School (named for a school administrator of some renown) even though the $18 million spent on the conversion caused a ruckus in a city where criticism is a fine art. 
City Hall used to be in various locations downtown but this site on White Street strikes me as a perfect balance for a building designed to serve all city residents. It's on a main street on the edge of Old Town with lots of parking and easy access from all four corners of the city (when they aren't tearing up and repairing First and Bertha Streets, long overdue for repaving). 
A welding class at the school built the tiger and they stuck it in front of the school. A few years ago it was repaired and repainted and now it sits in front of city hall, the place where all flags cover all members of the famed and run down human family. Across the street conveniently lies the Weather Service, the people who monitor hurricane arrivals for the use of city emergency managers at city hall, now across the street.
Since my brief time in a wheelchair I tend to notice the ease and availability of handicapped ramps and facilities. Inspected and approved by the least among us and most photographed: the city's wild chickens, another protected group.
We live in a time when public spending is viewed as a thing of waste and ugliness in public spaces gets approved as a saving of money. Key West's public art program, copious use of bike racks, they are a start in a city struggling with its future looks. Urban planning is a minefield of expectations and public scorn. I admire the bravery of cyclists in Key West a city where narrow streets thick with parked cars push them into impatient traffic. I see bicycle riders, scooter riders and car drivers all texting and driving and wonder why there are aren't more wrecks. 
To create safer cycling with proper lanes in key West you'd have to make more one way streets. I can only imagine what a fiasco that would create were it even suggested. Just recently a cruise ship received special permission to dock in Key West to offload a dangerously ill passenger whose oxygen needs were complicated enough he could not be evacuated by helicopter.
It put me in mind of the fact that despite the absence of cruise ships the city moves forward apparently with a solid budget. The whole rationale that Key West would founder without cruise ship money seems not to be entirely true. We might even speculate the reef is doing a lot better with clear waters. Perhaps one day tourists will get to see a living reef full of color in sparkling waters. Maybe not.
There was another giant kerfuffle when neighbors objected to the solar array at the city hall parking lot. The usual doughnuts went into total societal meltdown but here the panels are, silently doing their job and the neighbors are about as affected as the construction of a tall schooling new town destroyed that scruffy neighborhood. Ah well, if you stay put you manufacture your drama where you can.
I prefer to find my drama on the road, unexpectedly, annoying as it may be, as humble as it may be, but mine own. 

Rusty Walk

I'm waiting for the snowbirds to come back, the real birds that live in the Keys in winter, but they aren't here and I shall be gone.

The mangroves, humidity, blue skies, nothing changes and everything changes. 

I heard from Up North where the first real cold front has petered out in Central Florida.

They get 58 degrees and we get 88. It doesn't seem fair somehow!

Even Rusty's tongue hangs low.

The sun and moon are aligned this time of year and produce extra high tides. The net result is some street flooding in Key Largo and I...

...I get to make some pictures with reflections in them.

Bright colors and silence, the back woods that I shall miss.