Sunday, August 7, 2011

night lights

Being out and about around Key West on my once weekly overnight gig for the Blue Paper offers me an alternative perspective on our fair city.

The first thing that can grab you is the quiet.
Even on Duval after 4am, the island is at peace. It's like the rock's daytime energy buzz stretched itself out in a hammock and took a nap.
But Key West, it turns out, is yet another city that never sleeps; at least not completely.

While most of the store fronts and small business offices are dark, the mini-mart gas stations are open 24 hours and so is Sandy's Cuban Coffee on White. The hotel front desk folks are on the job, the cab drivers and cops are always on the prowl and even after the bars close, there are the guys who hose down the sidewalks in front of the bars, the street sweepers and the working girls at the adult entertainment dives.

It's a different brand of people who work the overnight.
A little friendlier, more easy going. Definitely different from the folks in the hustle of the daytime world where I spent the other 6 days of my week. There's not as much going on and all will make the time to stop and chat. The security guard at the Federal building, the front desk dude at Ocean Key, my buddies Donnie and Michael at either of the Chevron mini-marts, the working girls and even the cops.

I've been pulled over at least a half dozen times for nothing in particular and of course they'll do their "official" garbled transmission thing on their shoulder radios with my license in hand but I always get away clean with the impression that all they were really wanting was a few minutes of contact conversation. (they are, after all, alone in the squad car for 8 - 10 hours every night - and, it turns out, cops are people too.)

So as much as the overnight in Key West is nicely lighted in all it's luminous neon glory from dusk to dawn, to my mind, it's really the overnight people who are the real night lights
on our island.

1 comment:

RumShopRyan said...

Great post here. I love your night time perspective and it your right, it does take a different type of person to work that shift.