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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Seeing the Lower Keys on My Hands and Knees...

It goes without saying that there is indeed a certain amount of risk involved in sailing and that one's safety is always on one's mind while underway... or at least some of the time as it is in my case.

All kinds of bad things can happen while on a boat whether it be weather related or otherwise.

Incessant lightning strikes can make a non-believer into a believer in but an instant...

Slipping and impaling one's heal onto a rusted keel bolt can leave one hobbling about for a week or more...

An errant boom crashing onto the side of one's head can leave permanent visions of Mike Tyson relentlessly pursuing after you...

... and so on.

So it was a bit of a surprise to me when I genuinely feared meeting an untimely demise the other day while off my boat no less.

For while seated at a local sports bar and while sipping on a few cold ones, I placed an order for some tortilla chips and salsa.

Well of course I ain'ts in Texas no more and that bland salsa needed a tad bit of heat and flavor so I reached over for a brand of hot sauce that I hadn't tasted before and then proceeded to stir some in.

I then sprinkled a few drops of that 357 Hot Sauce along with some salt upon my chips as well. Soon enough I'm chomping down on those chips and salsa when I'm suddenly feeling a bit of discomfort.

My mouth is suddenly aflame and my taste buds are screaming in pain. I'm now doing my best to neutralize that gawd-awful pain by chewing on a few dry chips.

Unfortunately my attempt to remove the hot sauce off of the remaining chips was not completely successful for some of that sauce had already soaked on through.

The result was even more intense pain only this time I'm feeling that pain all throughout my stomach.

I then call out to the ding-a-ling bartender and request some water and tell her that I'm in some serious pain while also emphatically telling her that serving that hot sauce at the bar was a reckless and stupid prank.

The water only exacerbates the intense stomach pain. Drinking that water has the effect of spreading that hot sauce all throughout my stomach and I'm now writhing in pain as I make my way to the men's room.

I see the manager while on my way to the men's room and utter to him that I'm not feeling well hoping that he takes a hint and follows me on in. He does not.

I feel no relief while in the stall. I'm now writhing in pain feeling as if my stomach is going to burst at any moment and no one would know otherwise. I'm wanting to collapse upon the floor and pass-out but instead laborously gather myself and stagger on back to the bar.

I feebly call out to the ding-a-ling bartender and mouth the words, "Call an ambulance" while leaning and supporting myself on a counter with a cash register.

The manager is upon me in but an instant. "Sir! I can not have you leaning up next to the cash register! ... You need to take a chair"! ...

He emphatically repeats himself. I peel myself away from the cash register and immediately collapse to my knees. I start crawling away from that register.

"Sir! Grab my arm! I cannot have you crawling around the bar!

"I can't I desperately reply".

I do somehow later manage after a few minutes to help myself to my feet and stagger to the bar.

I've got the manager in my face now and he's cutting loose with a barrage of questions...

"Where is the pain"? ... In my stomach I reply.

"Do you have any pre-existing medical conditions"? ... No I answer while writhing.

"Have you eaten any breakfast this morning"? ... Yes! I respond.

"Have you been drinking today?" ... Yes!, it's all on my bar tab... (All three draft beers with the third almost completely full.)

"When did you last have a bowel-movement"? (only that he used the S-word) ... This morning I reply.

"Have you ingested any illicit drugs today" ... No! I don't do drugs, I'm too old for that crap. It was the hot sauce I'm telling you!

"Do you have any pre-existing medical conditions"? ... I already told you no! It's the hot sauce that did me in!

I'm now being informed that an ambulance will soon be on its way but that I'd be incurring a $500 charge for the service. I'm asked but yet again whether or not I still wanted the ambulance service.

Thirty minutes or so have now transpired since eating those chips and the intense writhing pain has started to subside. I inform the manager to go ahead and cancel the requested service... and it wasn't because of the prospect of incurring a $500 ambulance charge either.

Soon thereafter while still seated on that barstool, I'm perspiring like never before. My face feels flushed and I'm constantly wiping off huge droplets of perspiration with paper napkins.

The bar owner now sets upon me and he too starts asking the same questions I'd already previously responded to. Once again I'm having to respond no as to whether or not I had any pre-existing medical conditions.

For the umpteenth time you little prick, I think to myself... "No. It was the fricking hot sauce that did me in. That crap doesn't belong on a bar counter."

I finally tell him... "I'm a solid citizen and I don't do drugs" and with that he turned and strode away without so much as uttering a kind word of sympathy for my discomfort.

Hey Ass-h*le... I was on the floor and writhing in pain for a compelling reason. Perhaps I ought to sue your scrawny-happy-ass.

So that dear readers is how I spent an hour or so of my time "Seeing the Lower Keys on My Hands and Knees".

I suppose that it could have been worse had I'd "Seen the Lower Keys while on my hands and knees" after consuming too much alcohol. But over-indulging simply isn't my thing since for one, it's too expensive, two- I'm too old for that crap and three- it's just not any fun to get stupid and then sick.

So I'll just leave it up to all the young, senseless tourists to over-indulge in any shot-drinking while I sip on a few cold beers.

Those tourists are free to do the Duval-Crawl as often as they like and "See the Lower Keys on their hands and knees" while puking their guts out for all I care.

Yep, The Sports Page... this be the place where I almost met my untimely demise.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Fortuitous Encounter the Other Morning...

I can't remember it ever happening before but I had a most fortuitous encounter while pedaling my bike on through the marina parking lot the other morning.

For you see, lying face down on that parking lot pavement was none other than a U.S. twenty dollar-bill with an unsmiling Andrew Jackson peering on the front.

So after screeching my bike to an abrupt halt and after inconspicuously looking over both shoulders, I discretely leaned over and retrieved that bill.

I then proceeded to insert that twenty dollar-bill securely into my wallet alongside that of my other folding money.

That twenty clearly showed signs of a few tread marks on it and it certainly would have been most unfortunate for that bill to have been subjected to even more tire abuse out in that parking lot.

So yeah, I did the right thing to lend that distressed bill a "sticky finger" and give that poor soul safe haven inside of my wallet.

And after rescuing Ol' Hickory, I reconnoitered that parking lot for other bills that might possibly have been lying about in distress as well.

Heck... for all I know a Brinks truck might have passed on through that lot earlier in the day with its rear door wildly swinging about and while scattering a few bills along the way.

And while speaking of twenty dollar bills and of "sticky fingers" always be sure to resolutely tell the bartender when paying for that $4 draft beer, that you're forking over a twenty.

For if you don't, you run the risk of getting change for but a ten and then it becomes but your word against hers and you're certain to lose that battle every time.

So don't risk becoming a "Yuma" while tendering over that twenty to that cute and loquacious bartender behind the bar without first making it clear that you've got change for a twenty coming back.

Lastly beware of the bar-stool cruiser claiming to be embedded in the local Cuban community for it's all bullsh*t. It's but a ploy to embed himself into your wallet while claiming to have Cuban friends that can fix whatever boat or car problem you might have at a substantial discount.

Remember... you get what you pay for so bite the proverbial bullet and pay a reputable mechanic to replace those brake pads and service that outboard motor.

And it occurs to me that I too happen to have a lot of Cuban friends... only that they all happen to be securely nestled inside of my wallet. Funny how they all seem to have pale faces and have Gringo sounding names...

Give me a moment while I say hi to my Cuban friends... Good morning George, hello Abraham, whut-up Adams?, and lastly a man-hug for my newly found friend Andrew Jackson.

(Yuma defined: Cuban slang for a dumbass gringo who is readily swindled out of his money.)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

An Uneasy Moment in The Green Parrot Bar... Key West, Florida.

The Green Parrot Bar is described as a popular dive bar on various websites and also as a favorite among the locals. Its what's called a neighborhood bar with the same usual suspects frequenting the place on a regular basis.

Beverages are reasonably priced... at least by Key West standards, but even better yet is that the place lies off the beaten path and away from all the Duval Street tourist chaos.

In any event I happened to be unobtrusively sipping on a cold beverage and minding my own business while seated at the bar one recent Sunday afternoon only to later have an uneasy moment.

Occasionally I'd glance up at the screen to view a football game in progress but since that game held little interest for me, I'd discretely look out across the bar and at a rather attractive female patron who happened to be chatting it up with a few of her friends.

And after the third or so occasion of us making eye contact, she called out to me with a smile on her face, and a song in her voice, "Whaaatt.. what do you want"? as if asking why do you persist in looking at me.

It was obviously an awkward moment for me and I couldn't help but sheepishly smile and look away.

Next time she confronts me I'm going to request in no uncertain terms that she kindly tell her boobs to quit staring at my eyeballs...

Yeah, that ought to settle that little matter before it gets out of hand.

Well heck... it wasn't my fault that she was stacked up top and that her "girls" kept looking out over across the bar at me.