I spent a thousand dollars to repair the car after 80,000 miles of use, fifty thousand of them under my lead foot. While we waited for the car to be returned to a state of perfect running order Rusty and I went for a walk. I was concerned that the water pump or the stater motor or both were failing and a dog walk always calms the nerves, especially as I'd rather put the overtime into next year's van delivery.
Stock Island is hanging under a cloud of imminent redistribution of land. To walk and look is to see nothing changing but developers own most of the residential lots south of Highway One and the future of inexpensive falling down housing is in doubt.
I walked Rusty past the Avenues, a dozen streets laid out east to west across the southwest side of the island, an area I have photographed previously, notably in 2016. These lots are individually owned and are thus unlikely to transformed very easily into profitable apartment complexes or affordable housing groups but the tumble down trailer parks are soon to disappear to be replaced by "affordable housing."
So for now Rusty and I were walking through an unchanging landscape until we got to my destination, a dead end street closed to vehicles where we could walk at ease. The signs say No Dumping in no uncertain terms, unless that is you have floating docks to dispose of!
And at the end of the road the less edifying spectacle of trash. This stuff costs a fortune to clear up and it never goes away. I have no idea why people imagine dumping will end in the Keys. There is a strong, if irrational sense of unfairness about the cost of living here so if there is a way to get one over on the Man, and its totally free then so be it.
Of course dumping (known in England I discovered on my last trip there as "fly tipping") has a severe cost even if it's not immediately visible to the dumping parties.There used to be homeless squatters down here but they got moved along and the gate is the property owner's attempt to maintain the restored order. I have to say the squatters were a wild bunch and I did not feel like they were a happy bunch, rather they were edgy and gave of a barely contained rage vibe. Perhaps the fault lay in me but I am glad the encampments are gone as generally I find the residentially challenged harmless and not at all threatening around Key West. Drunk yes, and irrational certainly sometimes but not violent.
A cyclist was less impressed by the dismal surroundings than my dog so he passed us on the way in and out and such was my lethargy at this point that I forget to get a picture until it was far too late:
Not a place I would seek out again but useful in a mechanical moment to keep Rusty entertained.
A view to the west through the mangroves across Cow Key Channel to South Roosevelt Boulevard at the Old Houseboat Row in Key West.
And so back to reality. The land where we are promised "affordable housing" to replace the wrecks in the trailer parks. The trouble is, affordable isn't defined in some fixed orbit that makes sense to the working classes. It is supposedly a multiplication of the legal definition of the statistics gathered to show how much the median income is and whatever that is becomes the defining baseline. Yes it is that complicated but more problematically the resulting numbers put affordability out of reach. So would rather a ratty trailer you can pay the rent on or a four bedroom stilt house that costs say $2800 a month? The dichotomy is stark.
And the car? The water pump had a defective pulley only that caused the squealing. The battery astonishingly was the cause of difficult starting and no surprise as it was fully nine years old, and was original equipment in the Fusion! I was quite impressed. And the original complaint, clunking ion the front end was solved with new brakes. It could have been worse and now I can slam on the brakes with confidence when a distracted winter resident cuts me off or tools down the road at half the speed limit because it is that time of year again.