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Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Theory of People Weirdness in the Keys...

My dear lady-friend from up on Marco Island has a theory about the Keys. It's a simple theory which makes a lot of sense and one that I may have previously heard from other sources as well. In any event I've been here long enough to attest to the fact that the theory does indeed have some validity to it.

The theory simply states that the further south one ventures down the Keys, the weirder people seem to get with the weirdest of all to be found in Key West... the last of the Keys with no more Keys to venture further on south to.

The Keys can thought of in a manner of speaking, as little magnets not unlike the ones stuck on your refrigerator door with lots of clutter pinned underneath. The Keys for whatever reason, seem to attract folks with "unconventional" lifestyles from all over the country.

I'm not just talking about the "fruits, nuts and yogurt" kind of folks either and it does seem as if most everybody down here has an independent streak of sorts about themselves. It's not uncommon to see folks practicing yoga outdoors in the early sunlight or even meditating out in a public setting.

Both young and old folk can be seen wearing wild hair along with tattoos adorning every part of their body. Other folks are into herbs and stuff, some of which are used for making tea while others are to be lit up and inhaled... not unlike the scene in small town middle America when I come think about it.

Even boaters tend to be weird and I'll even include myself in this group of folks. Collectively we all somehow seem to purport having circumnavigated and conquered the world when all we've done for the most part is dinghy to and from shore and blow off another day.

The local Cuban community in my judgement is an exception to the Keys weirdness theory. These folks tend to fly under the radar screen, are family oriented and depend on one another to get ahead in whatever endeavor it might be.

Retired military veterans on the other hand are unpleasantly weird more often than not. For whatever reason they all seem to sport an unkempt grey beard to go along with a perpetual scowl on their face.

They're quick to remind everyone that they've "served" and come across as having a sense of entitlement all the while expecting someone to pin yet another medal to their chest and to thank them yet once again for not having subjected themselves to a career of corporate downsizing.

Even tourist tend to get weirded out when they arrive here in the Keys... especially if they are here if only but for a few days. A case in point is when I happened to be in Key West a number of weeks ago sipping on a cold beverage one afternoon.

While watching tourists stroll along Duval Street, I observed a mature couple walking side by side. What made this couple standout was that the guy had strapped on a two-foot long anatomically correct male apparatus which could be seen dangling out of his pants zipper. To complete the look, he had a cigar in one hand and a beer in another as he hid behind his dark sunshades.

I seriously doubt we'll ever see a picture of him wearing that thing on his Facebook page. For all I know he probably held some big-shot corporate job back "up north" wherever that might be.

Retired snowbirds on the other hand are another exception to Keys weirdness... they are not weird in the least but predictably disgruntled and quick to complain about anything and everything. They are quite an unpleasant lot.

It also goes without saying that there are quite a few folks throughout the Keys missing a mouthful of teeth and we all know that Crystal-Meth is both highly addictive and destructive. Destructive in the sense that it can and will eat away the bone that holds one's teeth in place. These folks aren't weird... they're just simply delaminated in the complete sense of the word.

And lastly, there is a saying here in the Keys that in effect states, "If you want a girlfriend here in the Keys, then you better bring her here with you". It's a "live and let live" scene here in the Keys and if you happen to see two attractive young ladies in a bar chatting it up amongst themselves, then it's best that you don't get presumptuous and assume that they might have an interest in you.

So there you have it... The Theory of People Weirdness in the Keys.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Purchasing a Kayak...

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I finally broke down and purchased a kayak some three weeks ago or so after perusing Craigslist for days on end. In all likelihood I might have overpaid for the thing and may have perhaps even made what is known as an impulse buy.

Yes... an impulse buy... defined as the kind of purchase that women indulge in while shopping at a mall and the kind that guys splurge on while wandering up and down the aisles of Home Depot. It's like getting sucked into buying something that one only thinks they desperately need only to have a bit of buyer's remorse set in later on.

It's not like I absolutely had to have a kayak but I had seen other boaters effortlessly kayaking to and from the marina dinghy docks and felt as if I needed a reliable backup plan for my inflatable dinghy for which I had yet to find a reasonably priced outboard motor for.

Besides, I had gotten a tad bit annoyed about a partially deflated pontoon on the dinghy and of always having to pump more air into the damned thing which I suppose is how an overweight, balding, FOX News TV viewer must feel after having to re-inflate his blowup doll every other evening...

So I drove some twenty miles or so on up the Keys and purchased the kayak with delivery scheduled for the following day which turns out wasn't a sure thing. For you see, I had purchased the thing from a young man who had agreed to make delivery the next day while he'd be enroute to a college class in Key West.

While waiting for the young man at the appointed time I get a phone call from him asking me whether I was still wanting delivery that same day. After a brief WTF moment on my part, I proceeded to explain that I was waiting for him to show up and that not only did I want delivery that same day but that I had wanted delivery some twenty minutes ago.

He then grudgingly states that he'd be on his way soon enough to deliver the kayak after explaining that he was still nursing a massive hangover from the previous night and that he was still a little slow getting around.

What I didn't tell him was that I'd break his neck in two pieces if he didn't show up with the fricking kayak. Why I had expected any different after forking over my payment is beyond any reasonable comprehension because after all, these are the Keys and that's just how it is down here.

The kayak did finally get delivered within the hour and since I no longer had a compelling reason to break the kid's neck in two pieces, he drove off in his truck with his neck still intact.

It occurs to me that this same exact scenario was previously played out when I purchased my inflatable dinghy a number of months ago back up in St. Petersburg... an event that I previously blogged about in some detail.

On another note for all those inquiring minds out there wanting to know whether I've tired of sipping on cranberry juice while seated at a bar, I'll have you know that indeed I have... but I'll also have you know that I've been successful in beating off any urges to drink with a big stick that I found laying around the marina parking lot.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

An Already Forgotten Harbor Statistic...

It was a bright, early, sunny morning some six or seven weeks ago when a motor vessel could suddenly be heard rumbling slowly on past my boat and thereby causing me to instinctively poke my head out of the companionway to see what might be going on.

And I suppose that I must have resembled a prairie-dog impetuously poking his head out of his burrowed hole for that's how quickly I reacted upon hearing that boat as it approached mine.

Aboard that motor vessel were two uniformed personnel. I'd tell you of what government agency they belonged to but I simply wasn't paying too close of attention at that hour of the morning for I'd yet to have my first cup of coffee.

But what made the whole situation somewhat unique was that a mastless sailing vessel was being towed not to a mooring mind you, but rather to a pylon at the edge of a nearby mangrove which seemed rather odd to me.

All I could surmise at the time was that somebody had either had a mishap while out at sea or had gotten busted for drug trafficking thereby resulting in their boat being confiscated.

Shortly thereafter the uniformed officials could then be seen slowly motoring on back out of the harbor after unceremoniously tie-ing off that mastless sailboat to a pylon.

I didn't give that sailboat another thought until weeks later when it casually came up in conversation while seated at the marina Tiki-Hut one evening.

Well it turns out that boat did not incur a mishap while out at sea nor had the boat been confiscated for drug trafficking. Its owner, a single sailor said to be in his mid-fifties, with nobody other than three cats to keep him company, had simply died while aboard his boat.

Word has it that the fellow simply drank himself to death and that it wasn't until a week or so later that anybody thought that perhaps they ought to go check in on him.

It later was noted that the fellow's corpse had evidence of having been gnawed on in several places by his hungry cats which were later put up for adoption. And I of course certainly won't be holding it against the cats that their survival instincts kicked in after not having had a meal for a good while.

I suppose that there isn't much to say about the preceding other than that cruising aboard a sailboat isn't always glamorous or even adventurous.

I can also well remember the comment of a this one elderly female single sailor who was attempting to sell a boat on behalf of another sailor... "Living aboard a sailboat can either bring out the best in a person or it can bring out the worst." That comment has since stuck in my mind for whatever reason.

It occurs to me that there is a distinct possibility that this fellow has already been long forgotten... which I suppose is another compelling reason not to suspend my personal moratorium on drinking.

That fellow's fate certainly wasn't one that I would want to share. The fellow's boat also shared a somewhat similar fate for it was subsequently transported elsewhere and crushed as mandated by city policy.