Thursday, September 1, 2011
This Isn't The Real World
Well, Labor Day Weekend is upon us. I recall up in the United States the common belief is Summer starts on Memorial day and finishes up on Labor Day. Perhaps the biggest reason I live here is my way of flipping my nose at that philosophy. My late cousin Joe Connolly used to say "There's no reason whatsoever to live in a clod climate!" and I believe he was right! So, here I am in the American Tropics, Key West.
Walking the dogs today I stopped by The Bottle Cap Lounge liquor store, outside the bar. They're great lovers of dogs there and always have treats for the dogs at the walk up window. Chuck was there and we shot the breeze while Tooloulou and Cajun enjoyed a biscuit. While chatting, Chuck used a phrase that a very sage and respected friend, Richard Van Der Mude has used from time to time when describing Key West and the Conch Republic as a whole. When talking about why we live here, he explained "This is not the real world".
A more true statement couldn't have been made. This is a main reason that when visitors come, after they leave, they have to come back. This is why those of us who live here, likewise feel the invisible magnetic draw to return as soon as possible.
I wouldn't dream of arguing that places such as The Grand Canyon, or NYC, or Cape Cod, The Great Lakes, Texas, California.. I could go on, but I wouldn't argue that any of these places are just wonderful places. However, they are The Real World and that's perhaps the most rudimentary difference between Key West and everywhere else. Living in the Conch Republic is almost akin to living in some sort of cartoon world. Yes, the laws of physics still apply here. If someone visiting gets so drunk that they fall down face first on the concrete, they're going to get hurt. The hospital here actually opens up an entire wing for tourist season. Likewise, if a group of visiting tourists rent a fleet of scooters and ride down the street all grinning like Alfred E. Newman honking their horns, guess what? They are still a bunch of jackasses.
However, down here is still a completely different mentality than anywhere else, not only in the U.S., but in the world. People realize it as well. Everyone's mindset changes when they get to the Keys. More time than not, they subconsciously realize that they are no longer in the real world. This is why everyone wants to come back, because this is not the Real World.
A great surprise this month over at The Key West Bait Shop's Live Bait Lounge this month. Every month they have their Beer of The Month and this month they featured "Casa Beer" from Casablanca, Morocco. As the sporting sort, I gave it a try, expecting it to fall on the 3, maybe 4 range of the 1- 10 scale. Surprise! Easily a 7+ and a perfect beer for a hot, summer day. Absolutely stunning label as well. Bottle and label rating is a solid 10. It's absolutely stunning, emitting style and design that captures it's origin perfectly. The Key West Bait and Tackle is located right at Land's End, which also hosts Turtle Kraals and The Raw Bar. Proprietors Chris or Joe are always there and Beccy is usually behind the bar. Stop by for a beer! ... Oh, they have all of your fishing requirements too! :-)